Yankees: Corey Kluber is not worried about loud contact allowed early on in batting practice

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

The New York Yankees’ top five in the rotation are set, with Gerrit Cole, Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon, Jordan Montgomery, and Domingo German. However, the last four haven’t pitched much in the last couple of years because of injuries.

Kluber has been allowing loud contact early on in spring training’s live batting practice against his Yankees’ teammates, but according to the pitcher, there is nothing to worry: he is exactly where he needs to be.

Kluber tested his stuff for two innings of batting practice, and pitched to talented Yankees hitters such as Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres and Luke Voit.

“My goal is to hit the ground running on Opening Day,” Kluber said to MLB.com. “It’s no secret that I probably haven’t been at my best early on in the season previously in my career; not that I want to be OK with that. I’m always trying to tweak what I need to feel like it will have been better prepared from the get-go. Every game is important.”

The Yankees are giving him a pass

Voit homered off Kluber, and LeMahieu hit the ball really hard. But it’s still very early in the spring, and those are extremely talented hitters. Manager Aaron Boone is also willing to give Kluber a pass, and rightly so.

“I feel really good about his progress,” Boone said. “I thought he finished better than he started, and I think the stuff is overall pretty crisp. I’m encouraged where he’s at. We’re sitting here in February, and we’ve got essentially a stud pitcher ramping up for a season.”

Kluber was particularly impressed with Judge. “There’s not many people in the game as big or as strong,” the pitcher said. “It’s definitely a different look for a pitcher.”

The Yankees signed Kluber to a one-year, $11 million deal on January 27, as the right-hander, who has been brilliant when healthy, tries to re-establish his value and test the market after the 2021 World Series.

New York Yankees: Torres wants to forget last season, Kluber is where he needs to be and more

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankee’s shortstop Gleyber Torres is looking to have as many home runs as in 2019 or more. Torres led the Yankees with 38 home runs in 2019, but 2020 was disappointing for the young shortstop. He hit only three long balls and had an average of just .243, down more than 30 points from the previous season. During this offseason manager, Aaron Boone said Torres was not in shape he should be at the beginning of the season. His performance was lacking in the first part of the season, but he showed improvement when he came back from the IL in his last 18 games.

Now with spring training in full swing, Torres is healthy, strong, and ready to go.

“I still feel [I have] power,’’ Torres said. “I don’t know why I didn’t hit too many homers last year. I’m trying to get stronger and [have more] agility. We’ll see this year if I have the same or more homers than ’19.”

In 2020 Torres struggled mightily both as a shortstop and behind the plate, but he has worked extensively with bench coach Carlos Mendoza on his play at short.

“Look, everybody knows how difficult last year was, especially when we got shut down,’’ said Mendoza, who has worked extensively with Torres at short. “It was so hard to get ready and we didn’t know when we were coming back. Brian made his comments and [Torres] kept saying he felt fine. … This year, he looks really good.”

When he was asked about Fernando Tatis Jr.’s $340 million contract with the San Diego Padres, and if it was a motivation for him, he said, of course, everyone wants to make a lot of money.

Corey Kluber is feeling fine and is in a good place

Corey Kluber is healthy and has taken to the mound a few times in the 2021 spring training. Kluber had some bad luck being hit by a comebacker in 2019 and suffering a shoulder injury in the first inning he pitched for the Texas Rangers. But that is all behind him now that he is with the New York Yankees, and he is performing well in spring training.

Kluber is a two-time Cy Young Award winner and, when healthy, is an ace capable starter for any team. Friday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, the right-hander pitched two innings to Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, and Luke Voit. Manager Boone, who observed the pitcher tossing, said:

“I feel really good about his progress,” Boone said. “I thought he finished better than he started, and I think the stuff is overall pretty crisp. I’m encouraged where he’s at. We’re sitting here in February, and we’ve got essentially a stud pitcher ramping up for a season.”

Kluber said there is no reason to worry; I am right where I want to be for this time of the season.

“My goal is to hit the ground running on Opening Day,” Kluber said. “It’s no secret that I probably haven’t been at my best early on in the season previously in my career; not that I want to be OK with that. I’m always trying to tweak what I need to feel like it will have been better prepared from the get-go. Every game is important.”

Jameson Taillon will be innings vigilant

The newly added pitcher for the New York Yankees is Jameson Taillon, who was traded for from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is coming back from his second Tommy John surgery and is feeling fine, but he talked about pitching 120 to 150 innings as a goal this season. He said that as spring training progresses, he is open to talking about that.

“We haven’t talked about any given number, but we have talked about communicating and staying vigilant,” Taillon said. “I’m ready to be honest and open about that. I’m sure as Spring Training gets on, we’ll communicate about some sort of rough idea that we have. Right now, I’m feeling really good.”

What to expect this Sunday

This Sunday will be the first exhibition game of spring training. It will be against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Yankees training camp in St. Petersburg, Florida, this Sunday at 1:05 pm. Michael King will be projected to start for the Yankees. Manager Aaron Boone has said it will be a seven-inning affair and indicated the first few games would also be limited to seven innings.

The New York Yankees game will be televised on the YES Network, as will most of the Yankees’ home games in spring training. It’s a shorter Spring Training with modified rules. Specifically, the Yanks will only play the Blue Jays, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, and Tigers. This is for COVID-19 travel-related reasons excluding Florida east coast games. 14 games will be at home and 14 away. The YES Network will carry 14 of those games. MLB Network will carry the opening game on Sunday as well as 13 others. Fox and NBC will carry a few of the games.

 

 

 

Yankees’ Corey Kluber takes huge step forward in recovery process

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

The last two seasons for New York Yankees pitcher Corey Kluber haven’t gone as anticipated. He’s only pitched 36.2 innings since 2019, lasting just 1.0 innings before picking up a serious shoulder injury last season.

The issue was so serious it shut him down for the rest of the year, and the 2-time Cy Young award-winning pitcher took his talents to free agency after the Texas Rangers rejected his $18 million contract option.

Nonetheless, general manager Brian Cashman saw that as an opportunity, inking him to a one-year, $11 million deal this past off-season. If all goes well, Kluber will end up being an absolute steal on the free-agent market, but they are betting on him to be his 2018 self, which is two years removed and several injuries in the hole.

Kluber enjoyed his first throwing session with catcher Gary Sanchez on Sunday, and everything seems to be progressing well up to this point.

“He’s come in here having thrown live and even been more strenuous than [Sunday] was,” skipper Aaron Boone said. “It was good to get Gary with him in a live setting. Another good step forward in the process for him.”

Boone also stated the session was “good” for Kluber, who’s working his way back from a serious shoulder injury he suffered in his first start last year.

Just two years ago, Kluber threw 215 innings and earned a 2.89 ERA. He struck out 222 batters, allowing 69 earned runs. With Gerrit Cole slotted just ahead of him, the Yankees have the potential to be an extremely efficient starting rotation, barring any injuries. Considering Cashman was forced to be extremely frugal with his spending this off-season, he was forced to take necessary risks on injured players with high upside.

The Yankees also acquired Jameson Taillon in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates, considering all the great things Cole had to say about his former teammate, the expectation is that he could end up being a dominant starter for the Bombers as well.

I have to say, I was a bit skeptical entering the off-season after these moves, but things seem to be progressing nicely, and both starters are healthy and ready to go. That is the best-case scenario up to this point.

Yankees News: Corey Kluber provides fantastic injury update

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman took significant risks this off-season trying to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold. With the Yankees trying to be financially responsible after the COVID-19 pandemic cut the season short, Cashman went after players coming off injuries.

Starting pitcher Corey Kluber was one of the players he targeted. Considering Eric Cressey was rehabilitating him following injuries in 2020, the Yankees had an inside scoop on how far along he was in the process.

Kluber signed a one-year deal worth $11 million this offseason, and the Yankees now have a two-time Cy Young award-winning pitcher on the roster. However, he’s only pitched 36.2 innings of the last two years, meaning he has barely featured on the mound since 2018.

Nonetheless, Kluber says he’s feeling great and should be ready for the start of the regular season in a few months.

“I feel really good right now. No issues with [my shoulder] now or anywhere along the rehab process. That’s encouraging,” he said. “I feel like I’m in a normal spot for spring training. I don’t feel like I’m still working on improving the shoulder or anything like that. I think it’s in a spot where, obviously, any part of your body, it takes maintenance throughout the year, but I’m not putting any more emphasis on that than anything else on this point.”

“Everything in the last few months has checked a lot of boxes as far as the things, first from Eric’s eyes, and then we got scouts’ eyes on him, now we’re getting our coaching staff and strength and conditioning and training staff on him. It’s February, but I would say we’re encouraged certainly and yesterday was another step in that regard.”

Manager Aaron Boone was optimistic that the starting rotation will come together nicely, but he expects Kluber and new acquisition Jameson Taillon to ease their way into shape this spring training.

As far as Kluber, he was extremely bullish on Kluber’s recovery:

“We have a lot of first-hand knowledge about where he was in his recovery and his training, kind of the measurables coming back from different injuries,” Boone said.

If Corey can return to form, he will likely slide into the second starting pitcher spot right behind Gerrit Cole. If all goes well, the Yankees could have one of the more intimidating rotations in baseball, but that would require a lot of things to go right, and historically over the past few seasons, the opposite has occurred.

New York Yankees News/Rumor: Do the New York Yankees have the best AL pitching rotation? Yes they do

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

The New York Yankees have undergone one of the biggest changes in the club in years. After the season, they let three pitchers walk into free agency and made little or no attempt to retain them. Mashiro Tanaka provided seven years of mostly good pitching for the Yankees, but they let him walk with declining stats. He is now back with his Eagles of Japan, where he is a national hero. James Paxton is now with the Seattle Mariners, his old team, and J. A. Happ is with the Minnesota Twins.

Meanwhile, in an agonizing wait, the New York Yankees waited to see if they could resign batting champ DJ LeMahieu. Once they found out they could re-sign him with a creative deal that would cost them less than thought annually; they immediately got to work on deals they had been investigating. On the same day that they worked out a deal with Lemahieu, they hired two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. In a matter of days, they added another arm trading with the Pittsburg Pirates for starter Jameson Taillon.

The Yankees took a certain amount of risk getting either of these pitchers due to neither pitching in the 2020 season. Kluber got hit by a ball in 2019, then was traded to the Texas Rangers. That didn’t go well as he suffered a shoulder injury and only pitch in one game. With the short season in 2020, he never got to pitch again. Taillon, on the other hand, is coming off his second Tommy John surgery. Both pitchers are healthy now and ready to go at the start of the season.

The New York Yankees already has one of the best starters in the game in their employ, Gerrit Cole. They also have Jordan Montgomery, who is now two years from his Tommy John surgery. Add to that; they have the returning Domingo German that also didn’t pitch last year but was 18-4 in 2019. Add to that; the Yankees have plenty of depth to rely on. Bright young stars like Deivi Gracia, Charke Schmidt sitting in the wings should any of these players get injured.

Mid-season, they have Luis Severino coming back. Severino in 2017 was 14-6 and in 2018 was 19-8. Severino underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019 and did not pitch in 2020. If any of these pitchers come back to form, the Yankees will have the most awesome starting rotation in the American League East, if not all of baseball. If they don’t, they still have plenty of budding options to look to.

Looking at the other American League teams, it’s hard to believe that any of them stack up to the Yankees. The Houston Astros, who probably have the next best rotation, are without their best pitcher services in Justin Verlander. He will not be a factor in 2020. Last year’s division-leading Tampa Bay Rays did themselves no favors by letting Charlie Morton walk to the National League Atlanta Braves. Then in one of the most mystifying moves of the offseason, they traded away their ace Blake Snell to the San Diego Padres. The Rays still have Tyler Glasnow, but with Blake and Morton gone, the Rays don’t have the pitching to pull off another upset of the Yankees.

The Red Sox are a joke, so no sense in talking about them. Add the Baltimore Orioles, and you have the two teams that will not make the postseason. The New York Yankees’ main contender in the East is the Toronto Blue Jays. They have a bonified ace in Hyun-Jin Ryu, but beyond that, it falls off sharply. They have a great young lineup, but their pitching will fail them.

Outside of the division, the next best rotation belongs to the Chicago White Sox. They have Lucas Giolito and obtained co-ace Lance Lynn. Dallas Keuchel is pretty well washed up, Carlos Rodón and Michael Kopech, and you don’t want to rely on either of them starting games. The White Sox, however, will most likely lead the AL Central. The Cleveland Indians have one of the best pitchers in baseball, leading off Shane Bieber, but they traded away Carlos Carrasco in their Lindor trade with the New York Mets. Not sure they will contend this season.

The Oakland Athletics will be an interesting team to follow this season. The A’s rotation is actually very stable. It has Luzardo’s sky-high upside, a guy with a very high floor in Chris Bassit (2.29 ERA in 63 frames in the 2020 season), and Montás’ bounceback potential. After that, Manaea and Fiers offer league-average innings at the back. The key for the A’s will be if A.J. Puk comes back healthy, he could be a difference-maker. The Minnesota twin has a good one-two punch with stable anchors. Two questions for the Twins are what will J.A. Happ do and can their lineup can carry them.

For all teams going from a 60 game season to a 162 game season will be a challenge. It will certainly be interesting to watch. Play ball!

New York Yankees: Pitchers and catchers set up house, Aaron Boone and more

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

For the New York Yankees, today is the day that pitchers and catchers are supposed to arrive at the George M. Steinbrenner Training facility in Tampa, Florida. Some have already arrived and set up house in the area around the Stadium. It marks the first day of baseball in a still infected coronavirus environment. This will be a season like no other, but far from the bizarre season that fans saw last year. Many normal baseball rules will return to 2019 while still dealing with health protocols.

Forget all the rules and that stuff, the major change this season is its length. Last season fans saw only 60 games, this year is planned to be different. Fans and players will see 162 games, almost three times as many games. Although fans and players alike will be happy to see and play that many games, it presents bigger challenges than most realize. The fact is you don’t go from 60 to 162 games seamlessly.

Last year you had spring training that was cut off early, then a two-month gap before the second spring training (summer camp). That was followed by a regular-season of just 60 games. Forget the pitchers that only pitched one inning or even no innings, even pitchers who got ten starts last season are going to be expected to start 30 games. Folks it just isn’t going to happen for most. This will be a season of being careful with everyone, rest, days off, in order to keep players someone fresh for a postseason run. It will be a challenge.

Aaron Boone to address fans today

Team manager Aaron Boone just a day before the pitchers and catchers have their first workout, and five days before all the players report, will address fans and the media today. It’s difficult to know exactly what he will have to say. You can be sure it will be positive about the upcoming season, but he will also address some of the challenges ahead.

He will undoubtedly speak to the challenges ahead for the pitching rotation and how to keep pitchers fresh by limited innings while adjusting to the strain of a 162 games season. It will be a bigger challenge for the Yankees because only Gerrit Cole pitched only 91 innings last season, that’s about a third of what he will be expected to pitch this season. Boone hopes he can hold up as he is one of the most durable pitchers in the game. As far as Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon, and Domingo German are concerned between the three of them they only pitched in a single inning last year. Boone will have to be really careful with them while getting games pitched. Luckily for Boone, the Yankees do have many arms to fill in including a return of Luis Severino mid-season.

He will likely spend some time discussing the bullpen that will also have a far different look than last season. He also isn’t going to want to burn them out before the postseason. With Tommy Kahnle and Adam Ottavino gone from the group. Fans will likely see Adam Warren and Nestor Cortes jr. in the mix with Luis Cessa and Johnathan Loaisiga in relief early. That will be followed by Chad Green, Daren O’Day, and Justin Wilson setting up for Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman. Also, different this season is don’t expect Boone to automatically go to Chapman to close games.

He most certainly will talk about the lineup and the hopes for bounce-back seasons from Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, and others. He will probably address the hope of fewer injuries this season. He may speak about the powerhouse of Aaron Judge, Luke Voit, and Giancarlo Stanton who came on strong in the postseason for the New York Yankees. He might also address how Robinson Chirinos will augment the catching staff. EmpireSportsMedia.com will fully cover the address.

Will Boone be the 2022 Yankee manager?

The quick answer is yes! However, there are questions to his leadership that will undoubtedly be discussed before signing him on for another contract. This is the last season of his four-year contract with the New York Yankees. Boone has stood up to the challenges of unprecedented injures bringing the Yankees into the postseason every year of his tenure. The problem is that his management has failed each year to get into the World Series.

In 2018, his first year as management he beat the Oakland Athletics in the Wild Card but then only won one game against the Boston Red Sox losing in the ALDS. In 2019 he did a bit better taking the team to the ALCS but again lost, this time to the Houston Astros. In 2020 he lost the AL East but advanced to the Wild Card with the Cleveland Indians who he made quick work of, sweeping them two games. Then in the ALDS he again fell short losing to the AL East winners, Tampa Bay Rays.

The question for the Yankees will be are they satisfied with the New York Yankees reaching the postseason, but exiting early without a long-awaited 28th World Championship. They will debate if the reason for their losses were because of the pitchers and hitters, the injuries, or was it his lack of leadership that led up to those losses.

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees: Issues remain going into spring training for the Yankees

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

Spring training is just days away. Pitchers and catchers show up no later than February 17, only two days out for the New York Yankees, yet there are still issues to face as the season opener approaches on April first. After a long wait to resign batting champ DJ LeMahieu, the Yankees have been super busy improving the team since then. Yet issues still exist.

After losing three pitchers to free agency after the season, the Yankees finally addressed the issue by signing Corey Kluber, a two-time Cy Young award winner, and trading for starter Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates. With the pitching rotation pretty well patched together, there are still areas of concern. Who will follow ace Gerrit Cole, Corey Kluber, and Jameson Taillon? Right now, it appears to be Jordan Montgomery, leaving the fifth spot open to whoever pitches the best in spring training. Domingo German, Deivi Garcia, and Clarke Schmidt seem to be the leading candidates for that job. However, don’t leave Jonathan Loaisiga out of that mix.

There are plenty of players with subpar and even miserable 2020 seasons, but few a bad as catcher Gary Sanchez. Sanchez was near useless behind the plate and at the plate. His batting average for the season was just .147, and his catching skill lacked. He was so bad that as the season progressed, he was often benched in place of backup catcher Kyle Higashioka who both caught and hit better than Sanchez. Higashioka became ace Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher and replaced him in four of the six postseason games. General manager Brian Cashman made it clear that Sanchez will be the starting catcher in 2021 when they tendered him a $6.35 million contract, yet questions remain.

Speaking of poor seasons caused by the entire 2020 shortened season’s strangeness, Gleyber Torres did not escape having a forgettable season as the New York Yankees shortstop. Cashman called into question his conditioning following the restart of summer camp. But the Yankees are still relying on him at shortstop and are counting on the fact he played much better in the latter part of last season (.873 OPS in his final 25 games, compared to a .509 OPS in his first 17) and even better in the playoffs when he went 10-for-23 with a pair of homers in seven games. The Yankees are hoping he can return to his 2019 form when he led the Yankees with 38 home runs.

Although somewhat addressed, the bullpen still needs another quality arm after losing Tommy Kahnle to the Dodgers and trading the declining Adam Ottavino to the Red Sox. In a brilliant move, the New York Yankees did hire one of the best relievers over the past two seasons in Darren O’Day. He pitched masterfully in 2020 with a tiny ERA of just 1.10. They also had a reunion with Adam Warren and Nestor Cortes Jr., yet it seems they still have one hole to fill to get up to steam.

As of this writing, Brett Gardner remains unsigned, and if the outfielder, who made his Yankees debut in 2008, ends up not re-signing with the team, his absence in the clubhouse would be greatly felt. And it would open a giant door for Clint Frazier to finally play a full season in the majors after he emerged as a force when given the opportunity last season and coming in second in the Gold Glove competition. The Yankees .did sign outfielder Jay Bruce for outfield depth, but he is not the veteran presence that Brett Gardner was with the Yankees. The Yankees could still have a reunion with the fan-favorite, but time is running short.

Then there is the case of Miguel Andujar, remember him? Yes, he hasn’t been traded as many thought he would be and is still around. If third baseman Gio Urshela recovers from offseason elbow surgery in time to be ready for Opening Day, it’s hard to see where Andujar would fit on the roster. The Yankees’ attempted to make him somewhat of a utility player last season, moving him from third base to first to left field, but it didn’t go well, and he split time between the Bronx and the alternate site. Andujar turns 26 in March and still has time to prove his 27-homer season when he finished second to Shohei Ohtani (and ahead of Torres) in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, wasn’t a fluke. But where will he play?

Lastly and maybe most importantly is was Giancarlo Stanton’s rebirth as the player he was in 2017 a reality or a fluke. After an injury-plagued season, he came on strong playing like the player every Yankee fan thought he could be at the end of that season. And in the postseason, he was the Yankee’s best player hitting six home runs in just seven postseason games and hitting .302 in the two series. If Stanton and Aaron Judge can have injury-free seasons, the Yankees will be the team to be contended with.

At this point, everything considered, it seems the entire New York Yankees 2020 season will rest on if the team can stay mostly healthy. Kluber and Taillon, after not pitching last season, must show that the low-risk high reward factor depended upon by Cashman can be a reality. And if Judge and Stanton can remain mostly healthy, the Yankees could indeed find their way to another long-awaited championship.

 

 

 

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Yankees team to beat, Benintendi trade and more

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

Are the Yankees the team to beat in 2021?

For the New York Yankees and the other 29 MLB teams, it’s now February, and it seems like there has been no baseball for six months, but it really hasn’t been that long; in fact, spring training is just a week away.  The Yankees will have a somewhat new look on Opening Day. Gone are Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ. As the season opens, the Yankee fans will see Gerrit Cole, Corey Kluber, and Jameson Taillon taking the mound. Everyone wants to know the question: Are the New York Yankees the team to beat in 2021?

CBS Sports analysts chimed in on the question: R.J. Anderson: I’m inclined to say the Yankees.  That’s no offense to the Blue Jays, whose efforts to improve this offseason have been noted and appreciated. I just think the Yankees have the better lineup and bullpen, and both teams have question marks in their rotations. But at the top of the rotation, Gerrit Cole is more certain than the Jay’s Hyun-Jin Ryu. Matt Snyder: It’s the Yankees. Though I have no doubt the Rays will find a way to somehow have an above-average pitching staff, I’m not even remotely buying their rotation behind Tyler Glasnow, and he’s a health concern as it is. Meanwhile, the Yankees just have so much offensive firepower and a better rotation.

Dayn Perry: I lean Yankees at this point. Although I like the Blue Jays’ offseason, I think they’re a regression risk in some key spots. As for the reigning AL Champs, the Rays, I know the roster churn model has worked for them for the last handful of seasons, but I think it has its limits in terms of sustainability. The Yankees’ rotation concerns are duly noted, but I think they have the AL’s best offense and the AL’s top starting pitcher. Mike Axisa: I think it’s the Yankees as well. The Blue Jays have definitely improved this offseason, and when you have that much young talent, it can come together very quickly. I think they are the clear No. 2 team in the division now that the Rays have taken a step back.

Sox trade Benintendi away, Yanks love it

As hard as the Boston Red Sox try to improve their team, all they seem to do is make mysterious moves to degrade the team even further than they have already. Last season they got rid of their best player in Mookie Betts when they traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with pitcher David Price.

Now in another pleasing move for the Yankees, the Boston Red Sox have traded away Andrew Benintendi. Boston seems to intend to ripping down the team’s foundation the won the World Series in 2018; that seems like a decade ago, but no, it’s just taken the Red Sox to demolish the team in only over two short years. If you remember, the 2018 Red Sox featured the “Killer Bees,” Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Jackie Bradley Jr. There is only one “B” left, and don’t be surprised if he is gone too before spring training.

Benintendi is now with the Kansas City Royals. The Royals got the better end of the deal. Benintendi will head to the Royals, with prospect Khalil Lee going to the Mets, and Franchy Cordero, Josh Winchowski, and three players to be named later, joining the Red Sox in the three-team deal.

Ex-Yankee Phelps signs with the Jays

David Phelps right-hand pitcher signed with the New York Yankees and pitched for three seasons, Going 15-4 with a 4.21 ERA across 87 games. Now he will be back at Yankees Stadium, but this time as a Toronto Blue Jay. MLB.com’s broke the news today. ESPN’s Jeff Passan was the first to release the terms of the deal. Phelps will $1.75 million for one year to pitch for the Jays. If he is good he can earn another $750K in performance bonuses.

Since Phelps was with the Yankees, he has made the rounds playing with the Miami Marlins, the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, and last year with Joe Girardi’s Philadelphia Phillies. With the Phillies last season, he was 0-1 in then games with an ERA of 12.91

New York Yankees Analysis: Yankee pitching rotation now and in the postseason

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

For the New York Yankees, this whole offseason has been about re-signing DJ LeMahieu. And to answer the statement, it’s the pitching stupid; the Yankees have also, once they signed LeMahieu, addressed the pitching situation big time. The Yankees have big-time pitching depth, but they want the best possible rotation to win them the division and carry them through the postseason. Last season they did not have that, which is why they cleaned the house.

The Yankees first signed two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. Then shortly after that, they traded with the Pittsburgh Pirates for starter Jameson Taillon. They also added a big arm to the bullpen with Darren O’Day’s hiring, one of the best relievers out there, one that was 4-1 last season with a tiny 1.01 ERA.

Getting back to the depth, they have Domingo German coming back for a year’s suspension. In 2019 before he was forced to leave the team, he was 18-4, being the best New York Yankee starter. Later in the season, they will also have the returning Luis Severino, who is coming back from Tommy John Surgery. Beyond that, they have Jordan Montgomery, and of course, the Yankee ace Gerrit Cole. In the wings are Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Michael King.

As it stands now, the starting rotation on April 1 will be Gerrit Cole, then Corey Kluber, following him will be Jameson Taillon. The fourth and fifth spots on the rotation are less clear. It will probably be Domingo German and Jordan Montgomery or the other way around. What could change this is how each of these pitchers pitches in spring training. If Domingo German is dominating, you will see him move up the latter.

Kluber: Has barely pitched since 2018 due to various injuries. Soft-tissue injuries are concerning, but he’s ready for the season and impressed scouts at his showcase. Taillon: Says he completely changed his mechanics, and his arm feels better after his second Tommy John surgery. He will probably have some workload adjustments, but theoretically would be geared toward having him ready for October. The New York Yankees, in general, will have to be careful with all the starters as they gear up for a 162 game season and still be fresh enough for a postseason run.

Germán: Healthy (as far as we’re aware, and he’s been posting workout videos on Instagram) but hasn’t pitched in an MLB game since September 2019. He pitched well that season, but still somewhat unclear what his overall ceiling is as a starter. Severino: Expected back late summer. That can give him time to settle into the MLB flow again, but I think he might have the most challenging path to the postseason, if for no other reason than having the time to gear up and get his pitching strength back.

As far as a rotation for the postseason, guessing that is a fool’s game. It will all amount to who pitches best during the regular season and who is hot at the end of the season. For instance, if Cole ends September 18-5 and Kluber ends up 20-4 and is more desirable at the end of the season. The Yankees will have some big questions to answer for that game 1 starter. That may seem unthinkable now, but the Yankees will go with their best pitcher in the end.

 

 

New York Yankees: The Yankees have made over 2 dozen moves to improve the team for 2021

New York Yankees, Darren O'Day

During this offseason, the New York Yankees almost stood still waiting to see if they could re-sign DJ LeMahieu and how much it would cost them to keep him in pinstripes. Since then, there has been a flurry of activity both by signings and trades. Today is a good time to look at how the Yankee front office has improved the team; here are some major acquisitions, although there are other dozen minor league signings.

Adam Warren 12/15:

This is a reunion, Warren has pitched for the New York Yankees before. Last year with the San Diego Padres, he was 4-1 with an ERA of 5.36. He played for New York from 2012. He started one game and gave up 2 runs in 2 innings for a 23.14 ERA. From 2013 to 2016, he was 17-17 with an ERA of 3.23. Again with the Yankees from 2017-18, he was 3-3 with an ERA of 2.53. Now he is back with the Yankees on a minor league deal.

Nestor Cortes Jr. 01/04:

Nestor Cortes Jr. is another returning Yankee. Nestor was 0-1 with an ERA of 15.26 last year with Seattle. With the Yankees in 2019, he 5-1 with an ERA of 5.67 across 33 games.

Jhoulys Chacin 01/06:

Chacin has spent most of his ten-year career with the Colorado Rockies. He has a career record of 78-87 ERA 4.04. Last year with the Milwaukee Brewers, he was 1-0 ERA 7.20.

Greg Allen 01/06:

Greg Allen was an outfielder for the Indians for four years, but they played for the San Diego last year. He throws right but is a switch hitter. Greg Allen is 6′ 0″, 185 pounds. He has been invited to spring training. He was obtained via the trade with the Padres.

Tyler Lyons 01/06:

Lyons spent most of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. He pitched in 2019 for the Yankees, and he was again with the Yankees in 2020. He combined for 12 games with an elevated ERA. He pitched in only one game in 2020 with an ERA of 21.60.

Andrew Valazquez 01/06:

Valazquez is a highly rated prospect that has played three years in the Majors. He started with the Tampa Bay Rays. Last year with the Baltimore Orioles, he had a .159 batting average. He is a good defender.

Jameson Taillon 01/24:

The New York Yankees sent four prospects to the Pittsburgh Pirates for starting pitcher Jameson Taillon. The acquisition puts buddies Taillon and Gerrit Cole back together again as they both pitched together with the Pirates. He is returning from his second Tommy John surgery, but if he can return to his 2018 form, the Yankees will have a bonified star.

DJ LeMahieu 01/27:

The Yankee’s priority this offseason was to re-sign DJ LeMahieu, and they put most everything else on hold until they could sign him. They finally agreed to a six-year deal that will keep DJ here until he is 38. The Yankees got him for $15 million a year. He was last year’s batting champ.

Corey Kluber 01/27:

As soon as the Yankees re-signed LeMahieu, they immediately completed a deal that they had been working on with 2 time Cy Young Award winning Corey Kluber. Kluber was hit by a pitch in 2019 that ended his season. He was traded to the Rangers but only pitched one inning in 2020 after injuring his shoulder. The Yankees will have a real deal if he can return to his 2018 form. The Yankees deal was for one year and $11 million.

Darren O’Day 02/01:

The Yankees hired Darren O’Day, one of last year’s best relievers. He went 4-1 with a tiny ERA of 1.10. The addition of O’Day to the bullpen will give the bullpen an entirely different look. He is a submariner, the first the Yankees have had in years. His sidearm delivery will give manager Aaron Boone a lot of flexibility in giving hitters totally different looks.

Asher Wojciechowski 02/02

Acquiring Asher was also a reunion of sorts; it puts him back with his old teammate Zack Britton. They both played for the Baltimore Orioles together. Last year with the Orioles, he was 1-2 with an ERA of 6.81. The deal will pay Wojciechowski a $750,000 salary if he makes it to the big leagues

Kyle Barraclough 02/03:

The Yankees have taken another chance with a pitcher that did not pitch last year. Barraclough pitched in the MLB during the 2019 season, having also played for Washington and Miami. Last year with the Padres, he didn’t make it out of the Padres minor league system. In 2019 he pitched just 33.2 innings and logging a 5.61 ERA.