New York Yankees News/Rumors: Former Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel apologizes, and Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks honored!

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

A Daily look at a summary of News and Rumors of interest for New York Yankees fans!

Dallas Keuchel apologizes: Baseball fans from all over the country, particularly the New York Yankees and the Los Angels Dodgers, have been waiting for the Astros team and players to apologize for there part in the Astros sign-stealing scheme.  Back on January 13, the MLB and Commission Rob Manfred detailed the illegal electronic assisted cheating that went on during the Astros 2017 World Championship season.

Manfred issued punishments including the  5MM monetary fine, the suspension of the General Manager and Field Manager A.J. Hinch.  The suspensions were for one year, and the team would also lose their first and second draft picks for 2020 and 2021.  Since then, fans have been waiting for some penance.  Yesterday afternoon in an interview, Dallas Keuchel, who pitched for the Astros during that season, issued what some would consider an apology.  “It’s just what the state of baseball was at that point in time. Was it against the rules? Yes, it was. And I personally am sorry for what’s come about the whole situation,” Keuchel said. Keuchel, who now pitches for the White Sox.

Even though he is the first current or former Astros player to apologize, he spent as much time making excuses for it and blaming Mike Fiers for being a whistleblower.  “I can only speak for myself but just knowing some of those guys over there and knowing how they are as people, we’re all people to an extent, I mean, some guys are robots, I’ll tell you that,” Keuchel said. “But for most of us, the human element is real. And a lot of guys are not happy with the fact that Mike came out and said something or the fact that this even happened.”  “It sucks to the extent of that the clubhouse rule was broken,” he said. “I mean and that’s where I’ll go with that. I don’t have much else to say about Mike.”  To this writer, that sounds more like I’m sorry that we got caught rather than a real apology.

Following Manfred’s nine-page report and the issuing of punishments, both General Manager Luhnow and Field Manager Hinch were fired by Astros owner Jim Crane.  Last week at Astros fan fest, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman spoke of the scheme but in no way apologized for their part in it.  Unless and even if the players apologize, this is going to be a rough season for the Astros as they visit baseball parks around the country.  The Astros and Yankees will not meet at Yankee Stadium until September, but you can be sure the Yankee faithful will give them an ear-full.

Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks:   Yankee centerfielders Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks were named in the top 10 of baseball centerfielders by the MLB Network.  This is not new news, but the list did not make much of a splash at the time as it was released at the same time as the Manfred report.  In the updated assessment by the Network Los Angeles Angel, Mike Trout was listed as the best centerfielder in baseball, followed by Dodger Cody Bellinger.

Aaron Hicks came in at number 8 and Brett Gardner as number 10. Brett Gardner has spent the majority of his career in centerfield at Yankee Stadium.  For the past few years, the position has belonged to Aaron Hicks; however, Gardner had to step in again for Hicks in the outfield during the 2019 season when Hicks was again injured.  Gardner, at the ripe old age of 36, still has excellent range and speed.  Also, in the 2019 season, he hit a career-high 28 home runs.

MLB: Dallas Keuchel apologies, other players should follow

Dallas Keuchel spoke to the media Friday about the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal from the 2017 season and was apologetic about what happened during that year.

“I think first and foremost, apologies should be in order … for everyone on the team,” said Keuchel. “When the stuff was going on, it was never intended to be what it’s made to be right now.”

Keuchel is the first player from that team that was apologetic publicly and also said that his teammates from that season should do the same thing.

I think that everyone on the Astros team that year that was apart of the cheating should publicly apologize to their fans and the rest of Major League Baseball. I don’t think that people realize how bad this makes the MLB look and in the time of trying to raise fan numbers, this scandal was the opposite of what the league needed.

Not only should the position players be apologizing, but the pitchers should as well. Anyone who was apart of the cheating and/or knew about it had the opportunity to stop it and play the game correctly, but it continued and the players are responsible.

Dallas Keuchel obviously wasn’t gaining any advantage during the cheating because he’s a pitcher, but he’s setting a great example for his teammates from that year.

This will always look bad for the players on the Astros and definitely won’t be forgotten anytime soon, but a public apology from all of them will definitely help a ton.

Why the New York Yankees don’t need Dallas Keuchel

Should the New York Yankees consider looking into starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel.

While most are wondering if the New York Yankees will need starting pitching help in the next few weeks, it’s important to recognize the success enjoyed by the team thus far. Sitting at 34-18 on the season, the Yanks have been breezing by with tons of injuries plaguing the team.

Losing Luis Severino before the starting of the regular season and now without James Paxton, CC Sabathia, and Jonathan Loaisiga, the rotation is in a bit of trouble. However, I don’t believe that supplementing the losses with former Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel makes much sense.

The reality is, Keuchel wants a long-term contract in conjunction with a boat-load of cash. The Yankees don’t need to spend that time of money when the team is surviving and has one of the best records in baseball.

As long as they can survive until after the All-Star Break, the Bombers will be ‘okay’. Eventually, Severino will return and bring his talented arm with him, and Paxton is about half a week away from rejoining the starting rotation. The expectation is that he will feature on Wednesday against the San Diego Padres.

But reports have indicated that Paxton still isn’t entirely healthy, as he will wear a brace to mitigate the flaring of inflammation in his knee.

“Hoping that he’s in line now to join the rotation,” Boone said. “He’ll fly back to New York (Sunday) but we’ll all get together to make sure he’s ready to join us and make that call.”

Sabathia recently joined the injured list with inflammation in his right knee and will be out for a few weeks. Losing quality starters certainly advocates for the signing of Keuchel, but as long as the Yanks are surviving and winning games, bringing him in on an unnecessary contract isn’t justified.

How can the New York Yankees counter poor pitching?

Alternatively, the offense can make up for the lack of pitching talent. With Didi Gregorius nearing a return, the Yanks will have plenty of firepower to increase their run support to help the pitchers.  Gaining back Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton eventually will further bolster the lineup and make the signing of Keuchel redundant.

Signing Dallas Keuchel Could Be What The New York Yankees Need

Should the New York Yankees consider looking into starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel.

The New York Yankees have fallen victim to injury all year especially when ace Luis Severino was placed on the 60-day IL. Then, James Paxton went down with a knee injury. At this point, injuries seem inescapable to the Yankee’s roster.

In an attempt to aid these problems, the Yankees should look to sign one more pitcher to utilize a six-man rotation throughout the season. Dallas Keuchel, previously with the Houston Astros for seven years, is currently without a job. Following the 2018 season, Keuchel did not sign with any team; currently making him a free agent.

Amidst all the current injuries, Keuchel could be exactly what the Yankees need. The Bronx Bombers cannot afford another injury in the rotation. With injury histories of Mashiro Tanaka (Elbow), CC Sabathia (Knee), and James Paxton (Knee), the Yankees’ rotation is filled with health question marks. Inclusion of another arm to the rotation would allow each player an extra day of rest, and safeguard the health of the pitchers.

Keuchel’s history

Winning the World Series in 2017 with the Astros, Keuchel is regarded as one of the league’s premier pitchers. Two-time All-Star and one-time Cy Young Award winner, Keuchel is credited with a 3.66 career ERA in 192 games played. He holds a respectable 3.31 ERA in the postseason.

CC’s retirement

Following the 2019 season, CC Sabathia has announced that he will be hanging up his pinstripes. Once CC is gone, Keuchel could potentially fill that void. This could allow the Yankees to reinstate the five-man rotation again unless they decide to keep Domingo German in the rotation once Severino returns.

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What kind of contract?

According to MLB Network‘s Jon Heyman, “Dallas Keuchel seems to be flexible in terms of the years. He seems to be OK with a one-year deal if it’s at the right number. I think he was looking to replicate that qualifying offer which was $17.9 million.” At 31 years of age, a two to four-year contract seems perfect for both parties.

 

The Yankees have expressed that if Keuchel is still interested by the time of the draft, he could be finding himself in pinstripes this summer. Any way you look at it, the addition of Dallas Keuchel to the New York Yankees will contribute to the Yankees World Series hopes.

New York Yankees: How Concerned Should We Be About Luis Severino’s Injury?

On Monday, the New York Yankees presumed ace Luis Severino was scratched from his first spring start due to what the team called “rotator cuff inflammation” and will be shut down for two weeks. Yankees skipper Aaron Boone said that it is “highly unlikely” that Severino will start the season with the team, forcing the Yankees to look for a new opening day starter. Severino was warming up in the bullpen and felt pain in his shoulder at about 1PM, 10 minutes prior to first pitch.

With Severino likely not on the 25 man roster to start the season, this leaves the fifth starting pitcher position wide open. Plus, how severe is Severino’s injury anyway? We’ll look into all of it right now.

Yankees: Severino’s concern level

From what we hear, the Yankees are not particularly concerned about Severino…. yet. When he had his MRI Tuesday, the results came back quite clean. With that being said, he should be cleared after two weeks if his shoulder isn’t hurting. No Tommy John surgery has been recommended, but if he continues to have pain after the two weeks, the team will grow more concerned.

The plan is to begin a throwing program after the two weeks, then get him some in-game action before camp breaks and the team heads to Washington for an exhibition. My guess is that he would spend a week or two in extended spring training before going to Trenton and/or Scranton for a few rehab stints. Remember, CC Sabathia is also a few weeks behind due to his offseason heart surgery and will also likely not be on the opening day roster.

Options from free agency

When talking about free-agents, two names come into the minds of Yankees fans: Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez.

In 2018, Dallas Keuchel had a rather down season, his ERA at 3.74 in just over 200 innings. A lot of people thought that the Yankees might push towards him more than signing JA Happ or acquiring James Paxton. But the team didn’t and now heading towards the middle part of March and spring training, he remains a free-agent.

Gio Gonzalez had an ERA last season of 4.21, but remained effective with a 10-11 record in just over 170 innings. Gonzalez, now 33, was a former first round draft pick in 2004. He could still be a fit for any team, and his stats show those of an average fifth starter.

But which one is the better option? In my opinion, Gonzalez is. Gonzalez is older than Keuchel and is now fit to be a five starter, and will not want a whole lot of money. Keuchel was the Astros number one starter just a few years ago, but is now settling as more of a two or three starter.

If Keuchel was available after the 2019 season, the Yankees would jump right on board with him, but they have a solid rotation when healthy. Signing Keuchel would be expensive, and would force the Yankees to really rearrange their pitching staff once everyone is healthy. With Gonzalez, you can DFA or release him and not lose much of anything for your team or salary.

In-house options

The Yankees have a few guys who could replace both Severino and CC in the first few weeks of the season.

Luis Cessa is the first name Yankee fans jump to. Cessa hasn’t had it that great so far in the big leagues, an ERA a bit under five and a 5-11 record. He is slowly improving, but the problem is that he’s out of options. If he starts in the MLB this season, to send him to Scranton they must DFA him and hope he clears waivers.

Domingo German struggled last year for the Yankees, making some starts for injured pitchers in the springtime. His ERA was over 5.50 and won just two games in 14 starts. But his start this spring has been promising, giving up no runs thus far in 4 2/3 innings.

Jonathan Loaisiga, or “Jonny Lasagna” also made a few starts last season, but had an ERA over five despite going 2-0. He definitely needs some more work, and got hammered on Tuesday against the Cardinals, giving up four runs in 2 1/3 innings.

It remains unknown how the Yankees will fill Severino’s hole to start the season, but either way the team goes, there are options.