New York Yankees News/Rumors: Rays do more for the Yankees than they have done for themselves

New York Yankees, Charlie Morton

The New York Yankees have done little for themselves this offseason to improve a team with too many early exits from the postseason. Following a sub-par 2020 shortened season, the Yankees even lost the division to the surprising low payroll Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees have made nearly no moves to solve any of their many problems and holes in the starting rotation and the bullpen. They haven’t even in two months been able to accomplish their main priority, the re-signing of DJ LeMahieu.

The 2020 baseball season was surely a bizarre one, with the coronavirus shortening its season down to just 60 games. Many teams and players alike have had strange seasons as well, not performing as expected. For the most part, that didn’t stop the Tampa Bay Rays from an exciting if not stunning season that saw them beat out the Yankees for the division title and go deep into the postseason.  Two reasons for that beyond the poor play of the Yankees was Blake Snell and Charlie Morgan.

The New York Yankees fared terribly against Rays pitching. The Rays won eight of the ten games when they faced each other. Four of those losses came against Snell and Morton. Both pitchers won all their games against the Yankees during the regular season, and Morton killed the Yankees in the postseason. The Rays have been the opposite compared to the Yankees so far in the offseason.

The Rays have traded Blake Snell to the San Diego Padres over the weekend, and earlier, they let Charlie Morton sign a deal with the Atlanta Braves. This is wonderful news for the Yankees as they will no longer have to face these Yankee killers in the regular season. The Rays did pick up two catchers and two pitching prospects in the deal. It is very doubtful that those pitching prospects will haunt the Yankees as Snell and Morton did.

The loss of those two Ray pitchers will be significant in the 2021 season, no matter how long the season will be. 2021 will be a season like we haven’t seen in years. The competition will be much greater and closer at the end than one could imagine. With their outstanding breakout pitcher, the Ray’s, Tyler Glasnow, Anderson, Yarbrough, and Fairbanks, will surely be at the top or near the top of the division. The Toronto Blue Jays have been adding pieces to their young, energetic team and will surely be in contention in 2021. Further, the Boston Red Sox, with Alex Cora once again the manager and the continuing build of the Orioles, might surprise.

Meanwhile, back at Yankee Stadium, nothing is happening as the front office seems to be putting everything on hold to see if they can re-sign DJ LeMahieu. But for the Yankees, time is running out on two fronts. If the New York Yankees have to worry about the Toronto Blue Jays in 2021, it will be even more troublesome if they snatch LeMahieu away from the Yankees. On the other front, viable starting pitching help is being signed away to other teams that seem to be more aggressive at improving their teams.

The Yankees need to stop fooling around and sign DJ LeMahieu to the contract he wants. Without DJ LeMahieu last year, the Yankees would not only have lost the division but wouldn’t have even reached the postseason. The Yankees appear to be “satisfied” with Cole and an experimental and inexperienced rotation behind him. They need LeMahieu even more than last year that saw him a Silver Slugger and batting title winner.

 

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

New York Yankees, Blake Snell

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.

 

 

Could the Yankees make a blockbuster trade for Blake Snell?

New York Yankees, Blake Snell

The New York Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman always manage to surprise fans with big moves, but this off-season could be different for a team that often leads the MLB in salary expenditures. With Giancarlo Stanton, Gerrit Cole, and potentially DJ LeMahieu on massive contracts, the Yankees won’t have as much financial flexibility as they have in the past. These long-term deals have severely limited their ability to spend on other positions, notably starting pitching.

However, acquiring a player who won’t cost much in a trade would be a good move for the Bombers, who are looking to win a World Series now and not wait until Aaron Judge hits free agency. A trade for a productive player with a low-cost per-year would be a perfect scenario, but the Yankees don’t wanna give away some of their more promising young talents.

Nonetheless, rising players are sometimes utilized as sacrifices to bolster a team that has World Series aspirations, and the Yankees can afford to do that right now if they want to compete in 2021.

Who would be a good fit for the New York Yankees?

One fantastic player is Blake Snell, who had a dominant 2020 season with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays have already indicated they are willing to trade Snell for the right price, and the Yankees have plenty of talent to spare if they want to go that route. Snell isn’t just a premium starter, but he is one of the best in the MLB, posting a 3.24 ERA this past season in over 50 innings pitched. He earned a career-high 49.2% ground ball rate (perfect for Yankee Stadium) and 11.34 strikeouts per nine. As for his pitches (he’s a lefty, another BONUS!), he utilized his slider more than ever before, seeing a decrease in his curveball and consistency with his changeup and fastball.

It seems as if Snell has found more success utilizing his slider, about 10% more in 2020 compared to 2019. This translated to better numbers across-the-board, and his pitch velocity has hovered at a consistent range.

The Yankees would have to give up some quality players and exchange for Blake, though. If I were Cashman, I would gauge interest in potentially including Deivi Garcia, Miguel Andujar, and another prospect for Snell, who would immediately make the Yankees’ starting rotation one of the best in baseball. García showed some solid stuff in 2020, but he is still a few years away from being considered a top-flight pitcher if he ever reaches that level. The Yankees can acquire an ace right now, who is only earning $10 million per season, fitting perfectly into their cash flow situation.

The Rays might be unwilling to deal with the Yankees based on their competitive nature in the AL East, but if they are willing to part ways with Snell for some quality prospects and starting level talent, the Yankees shouldn’t hesitate to make an offer.

Yankees news/rumors: Blake Snell would be perfect fit with Gerrit Cole, trade incoming?

New York Yankees, Blake Snell

The New York Yankees are preparing to make an aggressive push to find a number two starting pitcher behind Gerrit Cole, and while reports have indicated they could bring back Masahiro Tanaka or James Paxton, they might be better off finding a more refined player with upside.

A report indicated that Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell could be on the trade block, and the Yankees should 100% be asking Tampa what they need to give up to acquire him. This past season, Snell earned a 3.24 ERA, a 49.2% ground ball rate, and 11.34 strikeouts per nine innings. In other words, he was fantastic and would be the perfect fit behind coal in the rotation.

Here’s what MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand is reporting:

“According to multiple sources, the Rays have told other clubs that they’re open to the idea of trading Blake Snell, presenting a realistic possibility that a deal could be consummated this offseason.

“A source noted that Tampa Bay is not actively shopping Snell, who has three years and $39 million remaining on his five-year, $50 million extension, but given the financial losses the Rays endured during the pandemic-impacted 2020 season, trading the 27-year-old represents the club’s best chance to create some much-needed flexibility.

“Snell will earn $10.5 million in 2021, $12.5 million in 2022, and $16 million in 2023.”

COVID-19 hurt teams in many different ways, as the Yankees were also impacted significantly, losing the most money of any team in the MLB. However, Tampa Bay was also affected and could have to part ways with some of their better players because of it. Snell is expected to earn $11.1 million in payroll salary, which is a low number compared to how much the Yankees paid Tanaka in 2020.

Tanaka earned $23 million, and Snell earned less than half of that, with three years left on his deal.

What would the Yankees have to give up to acquire snow?

Since Tampa isn’t looking to acquire players that count a ton against them, the Yankees could offer up Miguel Andujar and some younger pitching prospects.

Snell is an immediate upgrade in the rotation and actually would be an ace on most teams. That is the 1-2 punch the Yankees desperately need, so giving up two assets for him could be a great deal, considering they have three years more control.

Andujar and Clarke Schmidt might get the job done, but they could be unwilling to give away a starting level pitcher with untapped potential.

MLB News: The World Series may be decided tonight, Rays could be eliminated

New York Yankees, Blake Snell

Tonight in Arlington, Texas, the MLB World Series could be over. The Tampa Bay Rays may be eliminated and sent home to Florida after going to the World Series for the first time since 2008. The Los Angeles Dodgers could end the series with a win and garner their first World Series win since 1988.

The game tonight will be at 8:08 pm at Globe Life Field home of the Texas Rangers during the regular season. The series will continue in the “bubble,” which has been successful with no player testing positive for the coronavirus. The game will be played under the retractable roof, protecting the limited fans in the stands from the chilly Texas weather. Game-time temperatue will be near 40 degrees. The game will be televised on the Fox Network.

The Rays pitcher Blake Snell will first take the mound in an attempt to force a game seven on Wednesday night. Snell in the postseason is 2-2 with an ERA of 3.33. In the Wild Card round, he won his game against the Toronto Blue Jays, in the ALCS, he split two games with the Houston Astros, and in the second game of this World Series, he won against the Los Angeles Dodgers, giving up two runs in 4.2 innings. With Snell on the mound, the Rays bullpen will come into play. Snell seldom goes beyond five innings.  He struck out nine in the game, but he allowed four straight runners to reach in the fifth inning. The Rays have a strong bullpen.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will send Tony Gonsolin to the mound to win it all for the Dodgers. Gonsolin who was excellent in the regular season, going 2-2 with an ERA of just 2.31. However, he has been ineffective in the postseason and is 0-2 with an inflated 9.38 ERA.  In his three games, two starts, he pitched 7 2/3 inning giving up eight runs.  Most of this is due to an October 15 game against the Atlanta Braves; he gave up 5 earned runs in 4.2 innings. In his one game in the World Series, he gave up one home run in the top of the second inning and was replaced. Gonsolin will have to locate his pitches very carefully against a team that is not going to go out of the strike zone.

If the Tampa Bay Rays can win the MLB World Series game six and force a game seven, it will be tomorrow night just after 8 pm; the result of that game will decide who wins the Fall Classic and become the World Series Champions. If that game seven is forced, the pitchers for the game will be a last-minute decision.

New York Yankees: Gerrit Cole and Blake Snell’s thoughts heading into Game One

After sweeping the Cleveland Indians during the Wild Card Series, the New York Yankees are ready for Game One of the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night. Sitting on top of the standings at the one seed, the Rays dominated the Yankees during the regular season, beating them eight out of the ten times the teams met.

Tonight, Gerrit Cole and Blake Snell are matched up against each other. Cole held a 2.84 ERA through 12 games started this season and Snell was credited to a 3.24 ERA through 11 games started.

“They’re just a really good ball club all around,” Cole said during a pregame interview. “They take care of the baseball on defense, play good offense, having many different styles on how they play offense. They have a good rotation and a good bullpen.”

Cole commented on because of how the Rays have played this year and the tension between the two teams, he expects there to be high intensity tonight and during the series. “Yeah certainly,” Cole responded when asked about the intensity. “Especially in the postseason. There’s already kind of a baseline of tension and with the history of tension, there’s going to be some people playing on edge.”

Snell had a similar approach to tonight’s game. “I think playing them is just like playing any other team,” Snell said. “It’s a talented team and some people look at it differently, but I just focus on what I can control and what I’m going to be ready for, and that’s their lineup. I’m more excited about that than the ‘he said, she said.’ That doesn’t really bother me.”

The Rays finished first in the AL East during the regular season with a 40-20 record. After starting the season incredibly hot, the New York Yankees faltered for a stretch and fell in the standings, eventually finishing in second place with a 33-27 record. Both teams swept their opponents during the Wild Card round.

Tonight’s game will 8:07 PM in Petco Park, San Diego.

MLB: Time is ticking on a deal

It’s now been over a week since the MLB players union began negotiations with the league, and things seem to be at a standstill. We haven’t learned much new information since the first day of talks. With an early July start in mind, time is ticking to get a deal done.

For the season to start in early July, you would need a second spring training to begin in early to mid-June. That feels like a long ways away, but here we are now almost at Memorial Day. If a deal isn’t done soon, the proposed start dates of the season could be pushed back, and the league could be back to the drawing boards.

From what we have heard from players like Trevor Bauer and Blake Snell, the holdup is the money agreement. Owners want to pay the players little to no money when players already agreed on prorated salaries. The owners don’t want to lose money, even if it’s just one season.

Will they lose some money? Absolutely. Will they make it back within a few years? Absolutely. The goal is to have fans in the stands by 2021, and maybe late 2020 if a rapid treatment or vaccine is approved.

Also, you have to have a deal done in enough time to allow for players to report to camp, especially foreign players. With travel restrictions still in place, it will be harder for players to re-enter the country if they left the country to go home.

If everyone wants the MLB to start in July, time is ticking to get a deal done and get the season underway.

MLB News: Manfred confident there will be a season, Snell says No I won’t play

New York Yankees, Blake Snell

Players let the MLB know that they are not happy

New York Yankees players have been unusually silent on the ongoing negotiations between the MLB and the Players Association.  Some other players and ex-players haven’t been so quiet.  First, ex-Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira said the players need to accept the MLB plan for the good of baseball and the fans.

YES Network’s Michael Kay said that this week will be ugly and that fans will be up in arms with millionaires fighting billionaires as the country has 80,000 dead from the coronavirus and all the people unemployed.  It’s the last thing fans want to hear and it’s bad for the sport.  He also indicated that the sides have to come together so that baseball can begin.

Cleveland Indian Trevor Bauer hasn’t remained silent either, on Tuesday he let it all out saying:

My reaction to the @Mlb return to play proposal. It’s laughable. @AgentRachelLuba makes some very good points here regarding the proposed revenue split and the problems with it.”

On Wednesday the first MLB player came out and said I won’t play with pays cuts and in doing so cited the risk involved.  In the video below Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell made his case as to why he won’t play.

The bottom line in all of this is as I said earlier these negotiations are going to be ugly, and what your seeing is all posturing.  Players are trying to get owners to budge and relent on the revenue sharing demand in the plan.  In this writer’s opinion after a bunch of back and forth, the sides will come together and there will be a baseball season.  Right now my concern is that they can get this behind them quick enough to have a season that is valid.

Manfred addresses health concerns

On Thursday’s CNN Global Town Hall with Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Gupta asked Manfred about the possibility of the players union not agreeing to come back because of a potential pay cut and that the health risks might not be worth it.

“Whenever there’s a discussion about economics, publicly people tend to characterize it as a fight,” said Manfred. “Me, personally, I have great confidence that we’ll reach an agreement with the players association both that it’s safe to come back to work and work out the economic issues that need to be resolved.” If there’s no season, losses would be “devastating” for the teams, Manfred said.
In an effort to downplay the ongoing financial battle, MLB’s Manfred spent most of this time explaining the complicated plan to safeguard the players while playing as the coronavirus continues to be an issue.  He detailed what steps will be taken to protect players.  Players would be tested several times a week for the virus and daily temperature and health checks would take place.  Antibody testing would also take place.
He addressed what would happen if a player tested positive for the virus. He indicated that if a player tested positive that player would be removed from the team and an individual quarantine arranged that would be lifted when he tested negative twice.  He also said that a 14-day quarantine may not be necessary after discussing it with health officials. He added that any player not feeling well would receive an instant test.
“Nothing is risk-free in this undertaking,” Manfred said. “We’re trying to mitigate that risk with the repeated point-of-care testing to make sure that people who have had contact have not been exposed, and by obviously removing those individuals that have a positive test, they will be quarantined until they have two negative tests over a 24-hour period.”
Commissioner Manfred also mentioned that he is not going to force any player to play ball.  If they are uncomfortable playing they can stay away until they are comfortable.  On the subject, ESPN’s Jeff Passan said that he felt that less than 100 players would not play if an agreement is reached.  Those that would not play would be because of either they felt unsafe playing or would refuse to play because of revenue sharing.
Two things to think about in all of this include the young players that are making MLB’s minimum and will have their salaries cut in half.  Considering the situation around the country with nearly twenty percent of workers out of a job and an economy that’s as bad as the great depression, making a couple hundred thousand to play 82 games, shouldn’t look all that bad.  It’s less of an issue for those big contract players. The other thing we tend to forget is that as these negotiations drag on, teams will need players to play a three to four-week spring training before the season can begin. Tick tock my friends.

 

New York Yankees: Looking Forward to the Final Road Trip of the Regular Season

New York Yankees, Yankees, Luke voit

The New York Yankees, already clinching the division and home-field advantage in the ALDS, travel to Tampa and Texas for the final six games of the season. This when the team has to bear down and take it one win at a time.

The first order of business, the Tampa Bay Rays. They are going to do everything in their power to win both games of the two-game set. With Glasnow and Snell coming back off injury, expect to see them at a point during this series. The one-hitter Yankees’ pitchers must be careful with is Austin Meadows. He is hitting .289, with 32 home runs, and 88 RBIs (MLB.com). The Rays have a balanced lineup, mixed with some underrated power and line-drive hitters. This could be a trap series for the team from the Bronx.

Next on the list, the Texas Rangers. The weekend series will set the tone for the Yankees heading into the postseason. Hitters will most likely face Lance Lynn and Mike Minor near the end of the series.  Lynn had a career-best ERA to start the year but fell off in the second half.  Minor helped shutout the Yankees, at home, for the first time in over a year. Beating both of these pitchers should boost the lineup’s confidence heading into the postseason.

Why is this final road trip so important?

The Yankees are currently two games behind the Astros in the loss column, for home-field advantage. They have the tiebreaker which would make it three games. This implies the Yankees must go at least four out of five to stay in the competition for home field. They will have to hope the Mariners and Angels can win at least three of the six games.

As of now, the Yankees will host the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS. This series would be a rematch of the epic 2017 AL Wild Card game. The Twins rotation will most likely consist of Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, and Kyle Gibson. All of them have double-digit wins on the year. The Yankees play much better at home in the playoffs but will have to prove themselves at Target Field, to ultimately get a chance to play in the World Series.

The New York Yankees will get a chance to redeem themselves for losing to the Astros in seven games in the 2017 ALCS. As of late, the Yankees have proven they have a good enough rotation and very intimidating lineup to make it there. Let’s see how they do the second time around.