New York Yankees: Aaron Hicks will be ‘ready to play’ in a 2020 MLB season

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

If a 2020 Major League Baseball season takes place, New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks will be a go.

Hicks told George A. King III of the New York Post that he’d be “ready to play” if an MLB season were to begin in July.

“I would be ready to play,’’ Hicks told The Post by phone from Tampa, where he has been hitting and throwing at George M. Steinbrenner Field for the past few weeks. “The plan was July to see where I am at and ready to play games. For me, I want to be back to the arm strength I had before.’’

Hicks was limited to 59 games last season due to injury and underwent Tommy John surgery in the offseason. The outfielder says his health is improving.

“I am doing really well. I am up to 160 feet throwing, taking BP on the field and doing defensive work. I get better and better [throwing] every day and every week. The throwing gets stronger. It is definitely coming. It comes in its own ways when it wants to. I am not too far off. I will throw to bases coming up here pretty soon, think next week. My arm feels great.’’

Hicks realizes the urgency in being an everyday starter in a shortened season.

“As a starter you have to know that you are going to have to play every single game because there is no time. Anything can happen in a 60-game season.”

Hicks has no regrets about returning to the Yankees late season, prior to having surgery.

“I had a feeling that I was going to have to get surgery so I don’t regret it at all. I felt like the decision I made was for my team. I feel like my team is stronger with me in the outfield.”

Hicks is entering the first year of a seven-year, $70 million contract. Prior to an injury-riddled 2019 campaign, the switch-hitting Hicks totaled 27 home runs and 79 RBIs while posting an .833 OPS and a 127 OPS+ in 2018.

Why The MLB/MLBPA Salary Fight Could Mean No Baseball Until 2022

The coronavirus pandemic has flipped sports on its head. The first sport league in America to return to play won’t be the MLB, NHL, NFL, or the NBA, but the women’s MLS. And while positive plans for hockey and basketball fans out there are becoming more, and more public, the fight between the MLBPA, and MLB owners could mean we go 2 years or longer before we see another opening day. And it has little to do with the virus itself.

The Current CBA Expires Next Year

No one in a million years would have foreseen the second to last season in the current MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement involve such vigorous negotiations that we are seeing now. And as baseball is the only professional sport league without a salary cap out of the 4 major sports leagues, many see that the revisions to the deal that was in place when play was suspended in March as steps to baseball joining the other salary cap sports.

To reiterate, the original deal saw baseball players receiving an advance on their 2020 salaries. If there was no baseball for the remainder of 2020, that was it, they would receive no further pay. So all the talk about how baseball players need to accept less pay is disingenuous because they already agreed to a mere 4% of their 2020 salaries.

If you’re a fan of the National League, and the 2020 universal DH is deemed a “success”, why wouldn’t owners turn to the unusual circumstances surrounding 2020 as proof to ad in the universal DH, period? Many were deriding the proposal to Commissioner Manfred’s expanded playoff format, and now, if the postseason IS NOT suspended due to a second wave of COVID-19, we’ll see an expanded playoff format. And if it works this year, why wouldn’t they push to include it in the new CBA?

And if player’s like Mike Trout and Gerrit Cole agree to make roughly a quarter of what they’d be owed under their current contracts (that’s according to the sliding pay scale proposal from MLB this week), who’s to say that under a new CBA wouldn’t immediately give owners the unilateral authority to bring in these contracts to renegotiate these players salaries? Not to mention, if the pay scale is adopted for 2020 resulting in the payers with the highest salaries get paid the least, why should they bother to show up in 2020 as they are both expecting their firstborn child this year? Rephrase, each separate player is expecting their firstborn child with their respective spouse.

This is an unnecessary and ugly debate. It was already going to be contentious as we saw growing frustration with how free agency had been playing out the last 3 years. It’s also naive to think that we, as the fans, won’t get penalized by rising costs just to go and see our favorite teams play, as they seek to recoup the money they were always going to lose once the pandemic got to where it is today. If nothing can get worked out by June 10th, I don’t see any baseball happening for more than just the 2020 season.

MLB: California Could Be The Most Popular Hope for a 2020 Baseball Season

Today is May 4th, Star Wars Day. One year ago today, I was at Yankee Stadium. JA Happ was starting against the Twins and lost. It was the week where the Yankees tried to bring back Miguel Andujar, before agreeing he needed surgery to fix his torn labrum. As annoyed as I was that the Yankees lost, it was still enjoyable. It was CC Sabathia Jedi Bobblehead Day (mine is proudly displayed in my living room), they had Star Wars cosplayers all over the stadium, there was an R2D2 and a Sith alternate R2D2 behind home plate, a Star Wars character parade, and a nice Jumbotron tribute to then-recently deceased actor, Peter Mayhew (the original Chewbacca the Wookie).

Now, one year later (without Disney+, so no massive Star Wars marathon for me today), I’m anxiously waiting (like the rest of all sports fans) for ANY ANNOUNCEMENT about professional sports coming back in 2020. While the proposal for Arizona was logically sound based on all of the numbers present at the time, baseball fans were against seeing their teams play out a season in the sweltering summer of Arizona.

Logically, the only real popular choice left is California.

For Starters, More Professional Stadiums in California

Realistically, you need 15 stadiums if you’re going to follow the CDC’s guidelines of all games played in one state. California already has 5 MLB teams in state: the San Diego Padres, the Los Angeles Angels AND Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants, and the Oakland Athletics. You’d have 10 of the 30 teams playing in those 5 stadiums, no questions asked. You have colleges with esteemed, and nationally known athletic programs like UCLA, USC, and hundreds of more universities to play in. MLB has shared stadium space with NFL teams before, so playing where the 49ers, Chargers, and Rams play are also an option. And there are a good number of minor league baseball teams that play in California.

So while the league may be more spread out than many people would be comfortable with, California is known to be at least a little more temperate than Phoenix in August. Not to mention, you wouldn’t have the other 28 teams complaining about why only 2 teams get to play in the climate control of Chase Field during the peak summer weather in Phoenix.

Coronavirus Has to be Taken Into Effect, and California is Doing Very Well

According to Worldometers.com, California is performing admirably in the face of rising cases around the rest of the country, and the looming threat of a new wave coming in the fall. As of today, last updated at 12:09 PM EST, California has seen only 134 new cases of COVID 19, and 3 new deaths. These are the kind of numbers South Korea was seeing when they decided to push through with having a baseball season.

Now, using that same site, Arizona has seen no new cases, and no new deaths, making Arizona more logical. But, again, California would still be more popular.

California Is More Financially Viable To Have the Season

There is going to be a wide array of financial factors that go into having an MLB season of any length in this pandemic world we’re living in. Sequestering all the players, trainers, umpires, and essential personnel, tests, transportation, and housing for everyone is a shortlist. Of all the states in the country, California (while financially struggling like the rest of the country) is the strongest state financially to take on this burden.

If California were its own country, it would be the 5th strongest economy in the world! That means the state of California is ahead of India, the UK, France, Italy, Brazil, Canada and Russia in GDP. While it doesn’t justify completely why California should divert its spending from helping its citizens financially, it could give the Trump administration reason to give money to the state to ensure a baseball season can happen. Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has been talking to Commissioner Rob Manfred about starting up baseball soon. And with the trillions already approved to spend by the federal government during this pandemic, I feel like sending California extra cash to ensure a baseball season happens, as well as ensuring COVID-19 doesn’t spread any further, would find widespread bi-partisan approval in DC.

But It Won’t Solve Everything

For starters, everything would still be played on Pacific Time. I’m working for a company that’s been deemed essential. So me staying up every night to watch a 10 PM first pitch isn’t exactly viable for me. You still have the modified divisions to accommodate this crazy situation sports finds itself in. While San Diego to LA isn’t too bad of a commute (2 hours by car), we’re talking at LEAST 4 hours from LA to San Fransisco (we all know Oakland is in the same area so same rules apply). It would be VERY spread out traversing to all of the playing fields for a California 2020 season, leaving more room for infection. And with the projections from the Trump administration that there will be 3,000 deaths per day by June due to the Coronavirus, the need for consolidation, and minimal travel will be essential to pulling off a sports league this year.

I hope we find out something definitive soon. MLB has made it clear that they would want some kind of truncated Spring Training before a 2020 season begins. We’re running out of time for that to happen.

New York Yankees: Why It Makes More Sense for Domingo German to Take 2020 Off

New York Yankees, Domingo German

When the 2020 season was scheduled to start, New York Yankees fans knew not to expect starter Domingo German for at least half of the season. He still has 81 games to serve as part of his suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy.

That was BEFORE the Coronavirus rocked the entire planet.

Now we’re in May, and it’s making less and less sense for German to pitch at all this year should a season starts at all.

He Still Has to Serve 81 Games

The rulings against AJ Hinch, Jeff Lunow, and Alex Cora from Commissioner Manfred’s office all clearly outline that those three men can get jobs in baseball again AFTER the 2020 season. Should the 2020 season get canceled this year, that would mean they can get work again as early as November when the offseason would officially begin.

German, however, still has a defined number of games to serve in suspension.

So let’s all be optimists and assume that a baseball season will happen in one way or another this season. We’re on May 4th right now. The Yankees would have a scheduled off day and have already played 35 games. Baseball is determined to have some shortened Spring Training to get teams ready before starting a season.

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: 2020 is going to be a shortened season. The league isn’t going to play 162 games, then its regular postseason. They’d stand no shot, especially with reports from the CDC that a new wave of COVID-19 will come by the fall. This means that if play were to resume tomorrow for the New York Yankees, they’d have 127 games left on the schedule.

So, if the earliest the shortened Spring Training were to happen is Memorial Day weekend, to have a first game of the 2020 season on June 1st, that’s 25 fewer games, leaving only a 102 game season. With the threat of no minor league season, there’d be little to no chance for German to have warm-up games to get himself ready to pitch this season at all. And what would be the point? 81 out of 102 games leaves just 21 games left in the season.

And with no official start date for this modified Spring Training, it’s impossible to estimate just how many games will be played this season at all. For the sake of the season, just have German sit out to come back strong for Spring Training 2021. You’re not going to expect him to make his first outing of the year during a playoff game, Happ’s contract is up after this year, Tanaka’s contract is up after this year, just bench him all season and see about next year.

New York Yankees News: MLB throws out yet another plan to start baseball in July, details

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

This morning the New York Yankees and the New York Mets are looking at yet another plan being put out there by MLB.  The bottom line in all the plans that are being considered by MLB is that they don’t have control in the situation.  The coronavirus is the main factor in determining which plan will finally be adopted.  Once a season starts, MBL and the player’s union will have to hash out the details and agree on a plan.

The new plan suggests that a baseball season could start as early as before the July 4th holiday.  The plan like all the other plans like the “Arizona” plan is complicated.  This plan, unlike the “Arizona” plan, suggests that spring training would take place in the normal spring training sites and that the regular season could start there as well.  But, as soon as health officials indicated it would be safe to do so, teams would move back to their home parks.

The new plan also has entirely different geographic lineups than the previous geographic realignment.  This would have all the east coast teams playing in one division.  There would be many “Subway Series” as the New York Yankees and the New York Mets would be in the same division.  Other teams in the East Division would be the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, Philidelphia Phillies, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals, Tampa Bay Rays, and the Florida Marlins.

The Central Division would include the 10 teams in the center of the country including the Chicago teams and the Cleveland Indians.  The West Division would include all the west coast teams along with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, both Texas teams.  MLBs aim is to get in as many games as possible.  The number they are presently looking at is at least 100, which would probably extend the season by a week or two.

Although MLB has no idea at this point when the season will start or which format they will use, the longer they wait, the clearer a solid plan becomes more realistic.  As stated before the coronavirus and national and local health officials are really in control.  The new plan is based on the latest virus progression, making it more feasible at some point to have safe air travel.  When the Arizona plan was hatched it did not seem that team would be able to play games in their home stadiums.

The new plan is very similar to a plan I offered a few weeks ago, projecting that games would start out in Florida and Arizona and move to home parks when health officials thought it would be safe to do so for players and fans alike.  My plan started pretty much on July 4th and would include a projected season of 85 games ending pretty much at the normal time.  This new MLB plan suggests at least some regular-season games being played in October.

Here’s what we do know…

  1.  Mini-spring training will take place in normal spring training parks.
  2.  There will be some geographic realignment taking place.
  3.  There will be no cross country travel.
  4.  There will be no All-Star week.
  5.  At the start of the season, there will be no fans in the stands.
  6.  If fans are allowed in parks, there will be social distancing of some type, and masks will most likely be required.
  7. Stadium personnel will be limited as will fans at least at the start.
  8. Media will be kept at a distance and likely will not be allowed in the team’s clubhouses.
  9. It appears more promising now that there will in fact be a baseball season in some format.
  10. With a leveling and declining incidence of the virus, MLB will come closer to the decisions that will have to be made.

The baseball season for the New York Yankees, the New York Mets and the other 28 MLB teams, once in jeopardy now seems as though we will have baseball at least televised by early summer.  Right now time is on the side of MLB in making those decisions, and looking forward they have even more time to decide on what a postseason would look like.  Another surety is that fans all across the country are ready now more than ever before to see those boys of summer playing baseball again.

If this new plan is adopted and works out well, it could signal one of the biggest changes in baseball we have seen in our lives, the end of the National and American Leagues and the birth of the Eastern, Central and Western Leagues.  Food for thought.

MLB: Texas could now be included in restart plan

Multiple sources say that the MLB has now considered Texas as a potential site to play games during the 2020 season.

If games were to be played in Texas, they would be played in the new Globe Life Field and surrounding minor league parks in the Arlington, Texas area. Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros, could also host games in Houston.

Now, this is just a proposal, and nothing is set in stone at all. Nothing was said about how they would divide out the teams into the three locations of Texas, Florida, and Arizona. Theoretically, it would just be easier to play in Arizona and Florida at the spring training sites.

The Texas Governor, Gregg Abbott, has been trying to get sports to return to his state and he would likely be all in on this proposal.

But the question is, will the players be all in? They have shown displeasure on the idea of spending months isolated away from their families, especially those expecting children this summer.

The league keeps coming up with ideas, and that’s great. But, nothing can be put into place until health officials gain a better direction of the situation.

New York Mets News/Rumors: Does MLB have clue? Read, Smile, and Weep

Will there be a baseball season?

For the New York Mets and fans everywhere, emotions have been on a roller-coaster as we have seen spring training cut short, and the season delayed by two weeks.  Then it appeared that the season would start later than that.  As the coronavirus spread and more people died, it suddenly appeared that there might be no baseball season at all. Now with cases reaching their apex and many areas, it seems more likely that there will be games played in some form at some point.  What the season will look like is still an open question.

The Arizona Plan

Over the last weekend, MLB formulated a plan to have baseball start as early as next month.  It is dubbed the Arizona Plan, a plan to have all of baseball for 30 MLB clubs, including the New York Mets held in a bubble. Games to be played at Chase Field domed home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and another ten minor league parks along with some college fields, all within 50 miles of downtown Pheonix, Arizona.  There are multiple obstacles to this idea, including Mets players playing in searing 120-degree temperatures, playing two or three games in the same park each day to get as many games in as possible.

Baseball from coast to coast?  Not quite!

No sooner than the Arizona Plan was introduced, the MLB floated the idea of a Grapefruit League, and Cactus League played in both Arizona and Florida minor league parks.  Add to that; they have also proposed the possibility of realigning the divisions, which would be more or less geographic.  This would have teams from both the American League and National league playing regularly against each other instead of the traditional divisions. To this writer, this is totally messed up.  It will not be a season with a giant asterisk after it, but something that baseball has never seen before, and would have no relationship to any other previous season.

Baseball:  The new experiment, will baseball ever be the same?  The evolution of the game

Necessity is often the catalyst for creative ideas.  Baseball and the New York Mets want to get a baseball season in and may be open to all types of changes to make that happen.  Changes like seven-inning doubleheaders, no more mound visits by the catcher, and electronic strike zone, players in the stands and not the dugout, and the changes go on and on.  Some of these changes are out of social distancing and necessity and may be temporary, but some just may stick and become part of the game going forward. The most likely to hold is how the players interact with the media and the electronic strike zone.

Play Baseball and they will come… probably not!

With the coronavirus, all baseball fans, including the fans of the New York Mets, are starved for some baseball and now realize that many familiar things about baseball won’t look the same and are willing to put up with the changes just so that we can watch some baseball.  One of the first ideas to have some ball games was to play them without fans in the stands.  That may now be a moot point.  Seton Hall University released a poll that indicated 72% of respondents wouldn’t feel comfortable attending large sporting events before a vaccine for the coronavirus was widely available.  So with that vaccine at least a year away, it seems if finally, fans can attend games, they may not come anyway and may remain mostly vacant.

MLB has decisions to make, and they need to do it fast

With each passing day, the major league baseball season becomes shorter and the likelihood of baseball reaching into November becomes more realistic.  With all the different plans proposed by MLB, these plans need to start to come together, so that the most games can be played.  Of course, the progress of the coronavirus will control what the Met baseball season ultimately looks like.  It’s not out of the realm of possibilities that if the downward curve is steep enough that games could actually be played in home parks around the country.  The one thing that is certain is that this season will look like no other.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Does MLB have a clue? Read, Smile, and Weep

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

Will there be a baseball season?

For the New York Yankees and fans everywhere, emotions have been on a roller-coaster as we have seen spring training cut short, and the season delayed by two weeks.  Then it appeared that the season would start later than that.  As the coronavirus spread and more people died, it suddenly appeared that there might be no baseball season at all. Now with cases reaching their apex and many areas, it seems more likely that there will be games played in some form at some point.  What the season will look like is still an open question.

The Arizona Plan

Over the last weekend, MLB formulated a plan to have baseball start as early as next month.  It is dubbed the Arizona Plan, a plan to have all of baseball for 30 MLB clubs, including the New York Yankees held in a bubble. Games to be played at Chase Field domed home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and another ten minor league parks along with some college fields, all within 50 miles of downtown Pheonix, Arizona.  There are multiple obstacles to this idea, including Yankee players playing in searing 120-degree temperatures, playing two or three games in the same park each day to get as many games in as possible.

Baseball from coast to coast?  Not quite!

No sooner than the Arizona Plan was introduced, the MLB floated the idea of a Grapefruit League, and Cactus League played in both Arizona and Florida minor league parks.  Add to that; they have also proposed the possibility of realigning the divisions, which would be more or less geographic.  This would have teams from both the American League and National league playing regularly against each other instead of the traditional divisions. To this writer, this is totally messed up.  It will not be a season with a giant asterisk after it, but something that baseball has never seen before, and would have no relationship to any other previous season.

Baseball:  The new experiment, will baseball ever be the same?  The evolution of the game

Necessity is often the catalyst for creative ideas.  Baseball and the New York Yankees want to get a baseball season in and may be open to all types of changes to make that happen.  Changes like seven-inning doubleheaders, no more mound visits by the catcher, and electronic strike zone, players in the stands and not the dugout, and the changes go on and on.  Some of these changes are out of social distancing and necessity and may be temporary, but some just may stick and become part of the game going forward. The most likely to hold is how the players interact with the media and the electronic strike zone.

Play Baseball and they will come… probably not!

  1. With the coronavirus, all baseball fans, including the fans of the New York Yankees, are starved for some baseball and now realize that many familiar things about baseball won’t look the same and are willing to put up with the changes just so that we can watch some baseball.  One of the first ideas to have some ball games was to play them without fans in the stands.  That may now be a moot point.  Seton Hall University released a poll that indicated 72% of respondents wouldn’t feel comfortable attending large sporting events before a vaccine for the coronavirus was widely available.  So with that vaccine at least a year away, it seems if finally, fans can attend games, they may not come anyway and may remain mostly vacant.

MLB has decisions to make, and they need to do it fast

With each passing day, the major league baseball season becomes shorter and the likelihood of baseball reaching into November becomes more realistic.  With all the different plans proposed by MLB, these plans need to start to come together, so that the most games can be played.  Of course, the progress of the coronavirus will control what the Yankee baseball season ultimately looks like.  It’s not out of the realm of possibilities that if the downward curve is steep enough that games could actually be played in home parks around the country.  The one thing that is certain is that this season will look like no other.

Minor leaguers will be paid $400 per week through May 31

New York Yankees, Anthony Volpe

The appearance and rise of the coronavirus in our everyday lives has caused us to be more careful in our interactions. Public gatherings of more than 50 people aren’t recommended, our hygiene measures have become important, and many of us are quarantined in our houses waiting for the virus to go away. Baseball and other sports were halted for now, and that left dozens of minor leaguers hanging. But no more.

Minor league players got good news on Tuesday, as MLB announced that teams would pay them $400 per week through May 31 or until the MiLB season starts, whichever comes first. And, as COVID-19 doesn’t allow for the game to be played, teams will continue to guarantee medical benefits to Minor League players, as well.

Initially, MLB had dictated that teams would pay minor leaguers until April 8, which is when the minor league season would start in the first place. Now, players in the minors will collect $400 weekly for the next two months, at least.

The number represents a pay cut for Triple-A players, since the league minimum at that level is established at $509 per week. However, for the vast majority of minor league players, the number represents a salary bump. The minimum for Double-A players, for instance, is $305.

According to the New York Daily News, there is an exception for players who are already receiving housing, food or other services from clubs. The New York Yankees, as well as other teams, are offering housing and food to minor leaguers who were unable to return to their homes. It should be pointed out that the government implemented some restrictions when it comes to traveling in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

It should be clarified that the announcement notes that this is not minor league player salary under their contracts. Instead, due to the national emergency, all minor league player contracts are suspended, just as big league contracts.

Mets, Nationals Will Face Off Twice on National TV in Opening Week of 2020

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets will be the team that Major League Baseball has chosen as the featured opponent of the World Champion Washington Nationals on National broadcasts during the opening week of the 2020 season.

From MLB:

ESPN will provide Opening Day coverage that begins with the defending World Champion Washington Nationals visiting the New York Mets (1:10 p.m. ET), followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers welcoming the San Francisco Giants (4:10 p.m. ET/1:10 p.m. PT), and culminating with the 2019 American League Champion Houston Astros hosting the Los Angeles Angels (7:10 p.m. ET/4:10 p.m. PT). ESPN will broadcast an additional seven games during the first week of the season following traditional Opening Day.

 

FOX will begin its 2020 national coverage on Saturday, March 28th when the Mets host the Nationals at Citi Field at 4:05 p.m. (ET) on FS1, followed by the Atlanta Braves visiting the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field at 8:10 p.m. (ET)/5:10 p.m. (PT). MLB on TBS live game coverage will return on Sunday, July 5th and will continue each Sunday through the end of the regular season.

The Mets will be the home team for the March matchups which will likely feature Jacob deGrom versus Max Scherzer and Noah Syndergaard against Stephen Strasburg.

The Nationals (93-69) finished the 2019 season hot in second place in the NL East four games behind the Atlanta Braves. The Mets were third with an 86-76 record.

Washington qualified for the postseason as a wild card and ran the table, first by defeating Milwaukee in the Wild Card play-in game then defeated the Dodgers in five games before sweeping the Cardinals in the NLCS. In the World Series, the Nats stunned the Houston Astros in seven games, winning the final two games in convincing fashion at Minute Maid Park.

The Mets were also one of the game’s hottest teams down the stretch, playing .639 ball (46-26) after the All-Star break.