The New York Yankees are becoming the Phillies’ farm system with Joe Girardi

Joe Girardi was the New York Yankees manager for nine years starting in 2008.  He brought the Yankees to a World Series win in his second year as manager in 2009.

As the team changed in the 2010s to a somewhat younger team, Joe fell out of favor with some of the “baby bombers” as being too hard on them.  In 2017 Girardi would win the Wild Card game and would then win the ALDS from the Indians. They would later play the Houston Astros in the ALCS.  The Yankees would lose games 6 and 7 in Houston and the series, in what is now embroiled in the Houston sign-stealing scandal.

Had the Yankees won that series, Joe’s job might not have been in jeopardy.  After the 2017 season, when his contract would be up, it would not be renewed.  Aaron Boone was hired as the new Yankee manager.  He has taken the team to two 100 win seasons garnering 103 wins last year the most since 1998.

After managing the Marlins and the Yankees, Joe would want to manage again, but not finding any suitable offers would go into broadcasting.  In 2018 he went to work for the MLB Network as a studio commentator.  While continuing his work with the MLB Network, he would join Fox Sports as a broadcaster for regular-season games for the 2019 season.  On October 24, 2019, the Philadelphia Phillies would announce Girardi as their new manager replacing Gabe Kapler.  During this offseason, Joe would find himself reuniting with some former Yankees.

Andrew McCutchen: McCutchen was an outfielder for the Yankees in 2018 after not being signed. He went with the Phillies.  A knee injury let him play in only 82 games.  He would require knee surgery and be out for the rest of the season.  McCutchen did not play for the Yankees when Joe was a manager.

David Robertson:  Girardi and Robertson have a history together.  One of Joe’s attributes was how to use his bullpen.  Joe, at times, used him as a setup man for Mariano Rivera and in other high impact situations.  They worked very well together.  That reuniting might have to wait a while as Roberson has undergone Tommy John surgery and will most likely be out most if not all of the 2020 season.

Didi Gregorius:  Joe also knows Didi Gregorius very well as Didi was the Yankee shortstop for three years while Joe was Yankees manager.  Yankee fans, for the most part, were sorry to see the Yankees not exercise his option.  He finally signed with the Phillies on December 29, 2019.  Gleyber Torres, as of now, will be taking his spot at short for the Yankees during the 2020 season.

Ronald Torreyes:  “Toe” is another Yankee player that Joe is very familiar with.  They played together for two years, from 2016 to 2017.  Joe liked Torreyes and utilized him frequently.  He played in 108 games in 2017.  When management changed, and Aaron Judge took over in 2018, Boone really didn’t use Torreyes, and he was released.  Ronald signed with the Twins for the 2019 season.  On January 7, 2020, he signed a minor league contract with the Phillies.  Knowing Joe and how he used Torreyes, I am sure he will get called up at some point in the season as a backup for Didi Gregorius.  Toe was not a home run hitter but was more contact getting on base.

For Joe, it won’t be like Old Timer’s Day, but at least Joe will have some former Yankees to make his new job seem somewhat familiar as he learns his new players and hopes to bring the Phillies to the postseason.

How does Yankees’ Aaron Boone feel about Giancarlo Stanton in 2020?

Without Dellin Betances, Luis Severino, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Aaron Hick, Didi Gregorius, and more for a chunk of the 2019 season, the New York Yankees still managed to scrape 103 wins together on the backs of reserve players.

This can be viewed in two ways — Aaron Boone is a phenomenal coach, or the reserve players just played above expectations. I believe it was a mix of both, as players like Gio Urshela, Cameron Maybin, and Mike Tauchman don’t just rise from the ashes without a bit of magic.

The New York Yankees needed their big-names entirely healthy for the postseason:

However, big-names can also fall into a similar category, whether it be at the hands of injury or cold-streak. Giancarlo Stanton was one of those players in 2019, as he missed virtually all of 2019 with a bevy of injuries. He appeared in just 59 at-bats all of the last season, earning him a .288 BA with three homers.

“I think it was very frustrating for him. And, to his credit, he handled it very well,” Boone said Tuesday on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio. “He was in such a good place last year, going into the season — not only physically, but mentally.

“I felt like his process and his work, even in the small amount of games that he did play for us, is at that quality to start the season before he got hurt. Then, he came back and had the fluke (injury), where he hurt his knee on a weird slide into third base. His at-bats and his focus and his process really, really good last year. I felt like he was going to have a monster season for us. And I feel that way very much going into this year.

Returning to full health in 2020 is the priority for Stanton, and Boone is confident he can make a marvelous return to form:

“So the big thing is going to be just keeping him healthy, keeping him built up properly, using spring training smartly. And I do feel like he’s got a special season. The desire and the burn is very much there.”

Stanton’s abilities range far and wide, but he will likely slot into the designated hitter role more often than not, as a precaution for injury. The Yankees went a step further, though, renovating their strength and conditioning program, hiring Eric Cressey to oversee operations.

Cressey is a renowned strength coach, specializing in player health and maintenance. He should play an instrumental role in lowering the number of soft tissue injuries and injury list stints from 2019 (39).

The Yankees are still on the hook for nine more years of Stanton’s $325 million guaranteed deal, and taking the necessary steps to extract as much value as possible is the ultimate goal. Cressey should help in this facet.

The Phillies Are the Reunion Yankees Fans Want

Joe Girardi didn’t spend too much time outside of baseball after the Yankees let him go. It makes sense that a team would want to trust Joe Girardi after his impressive run with the Yankees. While there was only 1 World Series appearance/championship, Giardi never had a season below .500 as a manager. And the Yankees of the 2010s are all in on reuniting with their old skipper.

The Yankees Keep Coming to Philly

David Robertson, a fixture in the Yankees pen for much of the last decade, was with the Phillies since last season but missed most of his debut season due to Tommy John surgery. You know he’ll want to prove he was worth the contract, and Girardi certainly knows how to utilize him.

Then there are the Yankees recently departed shortstop, Didi Gregorius. Didi found his strength as an offensive player under Girardi. He was always a defensive whiz, but he became a FORCE once he came to NY. And after his injury-shortened 2019, where he struggled offensively and defensively after the All-Star break, you know he wants to prove he can still play.

And now, they have Ronald Torreyes. Yes, it’s a minor league deal, but it comes with an invitation to Spring Training. Toe was a viable backup, playing 180 games for the Yankees during Girardi’s last two years as manager, playing 108 in 2017 alone. I think Girardi trusts Torreyes enough that Toe will have a spot on the Phillies bench during the 2020 season. 

It’s going to be interesting to see just what the Phillies can do next season, especially with so many former Yankees on the team.

Why the Yankees had no choice but to re-sign Brett Gardner

While the signing of Gerrit Cole to a record-breaking contract has undoubtedly put the Yankees in an advantageous position in 2020, they have suffered losses that extend beyond playing in the field or pitching on the mound.

The New York Yankees lost two leaders, but they kept one essential one:

The Bombers lost two significant forces in the clubhouse this offseason, as CC Sabathia retired, and Didi Gregorius was allowed to walk in free agency. These two players meant more to the team than just quality innings or home runs. They offered consistency and identity for a young team in need of leaders.

Losing both will put the Yanks in a position of youthfulness, which can lead to immaturity and a lack of accountability at times. However, the departure of Sabathia and Gregorius played a part in the retention of Brett Gardner, a player who will be going into his 13th season and is coming off one of his best offensive performances to date.

Last season, Gardner posted an astonishing 28 mark in the home run category, logging 74 RBIs in the process — two career-highs. Gardner’s influence comes in a multitude of ways, notably his leadership abilities and veteran presence among the youngsters. Keeping him around was a necessity for GM Brian Cashman, who unloaded $12 million on a one-year deal with an option for a second season.

MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch responded to a question noting the loss of the two players mentioned above:

Q: Is the leadership lost from CC Sabathia and Didi Gregorius underrated?

Their presence surely will be missed, particularly Sabathia, who has been a clubhouse constant since the new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009. Sabathia seemed to be the rare pitcher who could also command respect from the position players, but the game continues on, as it did following Derek Jeter’s retirement. Brett Gardner’s return provides continuity, and Aaron Judge has taken on more leadership responsibilities each year.

With reports of juiced baseballs making waves, it’s expected that the MLB will fix the problem that saw an increase in long balls during the 2019 season. An inconsistency in the seams of the baseball was the culprit, which could result in Gardner’s offensive output crashing back down to earth. Nonetheless, his influence comes in more than one way.

The 10 Best Yankees Moments of the Last Decade

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

While the 2010’s was the first decade that the Yankees did NOT appear in a World Series since the 1910’s, there were still plenty of great moments that happened to our boys in pinstripes. And since everyone is reflecting on what happened to them this past decade, I thought I’d share my top 10 Yankees moments of the last decade.

10. Aaron Boone’s Hot Start

How many managers start their career with back to back 100 win seasons? I mean, seriously, how many managers start their managerial career’s with back to back 100 win seasons?! Aaron Boone’s first two seasons as skipper are about as productive as you can get for a manager. And this includes the copious amount of injuries the Yankees sustained in 2019.

9. Jorge Posada Clinches the Division

2011 was a crazy year for the Core Four. Andy Pettite was a year away from leaving retirement early. Derek Jeter got his 3,000 career hit on a home run in a 5-5 performance. And Mariano Rivera got career save 602. 2011 was also the last season for long time, home grown, Yankee catcher, Jorge Posada. Having a lackluster season, it was thanks to Jorge Posada that the Yankees clinched the 2011 AL East title.

8. The Emergence of the Baby Bombers

Gary Sanchez had a 2016 that would make Shane Spencer blush. In 53 games, he hit .299/.376/.657 with 20 home runs. 2016 also saw Aaron Judge’s first career at bat (I was there. Good golly that was a hot day. But such a majestic shot!). The very next season, the Yankees emerged as one of the most dominant teams in the American League. 

7. Mariano Rivera’s Final Game

It was crazy watching the Yankees pay to have Metallica play “Enter Sandman” exclusively for Mariano on Mariano Rivera day, but there’s just something about watching a grown man reduced to tears over something as simple as one of his lifelong friends saying “It’s time to go.” Watching Giarardi sending Jeter and Pettite out to pull Mo from his final appearance at Yankee stadium was a stroke of genius. But you just wish the Yankees were able pull out the win.

6. 2017 Wild Card Through ALDS

It seemed improbable that the Yankees were going to make it to the post season in 2017, a rebuilding year. But they did. And with their ace on the mound, Luis Severino, it seemed like a sure fire thing that the Yankees would dominate the Twins in the Wild Card game. They went down early. But thanks to Didi Gregorius, the Yankees mounted a first inning comeback to win. And then… there was the ALDS. Down 2 games to none, they improbably came back in 3 straight games to advance to win the series and advance to the ALCS against the 100 win Cleveland Indians.

5. Savages

Aaron Boone was ejected on July 18th. And in his parting rant left us with “savages”. The rest, as they say… is history.

4. Next Man Up

2019 was a disaster of a season with a complete roster of players (and not just any players our best players) ending up on the IL for lengths of time. But with the emergence of DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela, the team was able to stay afloat for the incredible 103 win season.

3. Derek Jeter’s 3,000 hit

5-5 with a home run to cross the 3,000 hit plateau… the Captain always had the flair for the dramatic.

2. CC’s Final Pitch

CC Sabathia was a warrior for the Yanks his entire stay. Through all his injuries, the decline in velocity, CC fought hard on every pitch for us in the Bronx. And when it came to Game 4 of the ALCS, literally throwing his arm out of its socket, the man left it all on the field in a way that made his former manager break down and cry on MLB Network’s coverage of the postseason.

Derek Jeter’s Final at Bat

Derek Jeter was the final member of the Core Four to retire. It was tough watching all those Yankees greats that I grew up with finally ride off into the sunset like the legends of baseball they became. So when it came time for Jeter’s final game at Yankee Stadium, people were obviously pretty upset watching how upset Jeter was for most of the game. They took a lead early, but gave it back late. And then, it was magic hour. Tied at 5, 1 out, runner on second, and Jeter lines a typical Jeterian single to right, winning the game. Watching reruns of that game to this day still causes me to tear up a little bit.

And those are my picks for the 10 best moments of the first decade the Yankees didn’t appear in a single World Series.

Can the Yankees trust Gleyber Torres to hold down the shortstop position?

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

When the Yankees elected to reject Didi Gregorius’ qualifying offer this offseason and let him test free agency, the message was quite clear. They’re ready to inject the youthful Gleyber Torres into the shortstop position without hesitancy, despite his defensive inconsistencies.

Immediately after Gregorius signed a one-year, $14 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, he advocated for Torres, but also expressed his worry that GM Brian Cashman wasn’t going to focus on retaining him:

“So this is the thing. I already knew this was going to happen way before and nobody believed me. So I told Gleyber, ‘Just get ready to play (shortstop) every day. I think things are going to go this way for sure.’”

Gregorius continued to speak with a hint of resentment in his voice, especially towards Cashman:

“Cashman made it loud and clear that Cole was their priority. I think he only called once. That was it. Nothing else happened. If that happens, I have to look for a place to play. I was in contact with the Phillies. Everything was good and now I’m here.”

These comments weren’t meant to damage any reputations, as Gregorius proceeded to say that he feels no bad blood with the Yankees’ aggressive general manager. This reality forces Torres into a potentially uncomfortable situation, considering his inefficiency at shortstop.

Over 77 games in 2019, Torres logged a .961 fielding percentage with 11 errors. By no means are these numbers impressive or noteworthy, but you have to start somewhere.

Manager Aaron Boone was excited about the idea of Torres making the jump to the Yankees’ everyday shortstop, stating:

“We saw him last year play the position at a really high level, especially the first half of the season,” Boone said. “We’re lucky that with Gleyber, wherever the winter goes and guys end up, we feel like we can plug him at short and at second [base] and know we’re going to get a great, great player.”

“I feel like last year he made big strides defensively at second base and [during] the time he played at shortstop,” Boone said. “I know he won’t be satisfied, so absolutely we expect that he can continue to improve on what he’s already done.”

Could the Yankees look into adding another piece to the puzzle?

It’s not out of the question that the Bombers could look to upgrade their depth at shortstop in a potential trade. Francisco Lindor is becoming increasingly more of a distant memory, especially with Thairo Estrada camped out beneath Torres on the depth chart. Boone considers him a viable in-house candidate to supplement any struggled Torres might have throughout the 2020 campaign.

Didi’s Shots at Cashman Show Where the Yankees Priorities Have Been for Years

New York Yankees, Yankees, Brian Cashman

It seems like the Philadelphia Phillies are becoming the place where New York Yankees of the 2010’s reunite. Joe Girardi, Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson (recovering from Tommy John surgery), and Didi Gregorius. But it’s what Didi said about Brian Cashman that has Yankees fans in a tither. However, simply reinforces where the Yankees have been the last 5-8 years.

The Yankees Still Worry About the Luxury Tax

I’ve talked about how the Yankees were going to be a stronger team resigning Didi. But justifying resigning Didi was complicated. Didi did have a bad season, but you could just as easily chalk up his poor performance to his recovery from Tommy John. His struggles in August and September can be attributed to a usual mid season slump (his season didn’t start till June, remember?).

But resigning Didi was going to push them even closer to passing that third tier of the luxury tax. Resigning Brett Gardner, on top of signing Gerrit Cole to his contract (a necessity) are bringing the Yankees precariously close to crossing the $248 million third tier, forcing them to pay an extra 42.5% on every dollar spent on salary passed $248 million. The Yankees are doing everything that they can to avoid this. And resigning Didi was going to be more than $10 million, which unquestionably would have set them over the top.

So The Yankees Are Making Moves That Make Sense… for Them

I’ve written about how the Yankees are a better team keeping Gleyber at second, numerous times.I argue that the best thing they could have done was resign Didi, to keep their double play team together. But they didn’t want to spend the $10 plus on a deal for Didi that wasn’t the $17 million qualifying offer. It was also another way for them to save one of their draft picks.

They’re also now trying to move Happ to “soften the blow” of Cole’s contract. Not to toot my own horn, but this goes back to the Yankees offering the big contracts to the wrong players. That $17 million/year, 3 year deal was money you COULD have given Didi and Cole.

Hopefully this is the final year the New York Yankees make crazy decisions based on the luxury tax. Here’s hoping the CBA moves the threshold up even higher than it is.

Former Yankees SS Didi Gregorius shoots back at GM Brian Cashman for lack of attention

Just how badly did the New York Yankees and GM Brian Cashman want star pitcher Gerrit Cole? Just ask shortstop Didi Gregorius who landed on the free-agent market after the Bombers rejected his qualifying offer this offseason.

As per MLB’s Brian Hoch, Gregorius wasn’t all too happy with the way Cashman went about informing him of their dis-interest:

Didi Gregorius stated:
“Cashman made it loud and clear that Cole was their priority. I think he only called once. That was it. Nothing else happened. If that happens, I have to look for a place to play. I was in contact with the Phillies. Everything was good and now I’m here.”

Former Yankees SS Gregorius has a point:

Didi was spot on, Cashman was 100% all-in on signing Cole, considering the lengthy nine-year, $324 million deal the two sides inked last week. Finding a spot for Gregorius on the team never seemed to be a pressing matter, especially with Gleyber Torres waiting in the wings.

Gregorius was the top shortstop option on the market before signing a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, and his price-tag was evidently too high at $14 million. The Yankees will likely move forward with Torres at shortstop and DJ LeMahieu at second base.

The way Cashman went about dealing with one of the more fan-friendly players the Yankees have had in recent years wasn’t ideal. Still, we can only imagine the amount of time it took to solidify and negotiate with Scott Boras regarding Gerrit Cole.

New York Yankees: Didi Gregorius says farewell in heartfelt message

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius, Brett Gardner

The New York Yankees were lucky to have a player like shortstop Didi Gregorius feature on the team for several years, and not only for his consistent production, but also his likeness and positive attitude.

When injuries were piling up, and the goings got tough, Gregorius was always there to crack a smile or post one of his illustrious post-win tweets. However, the Yankees rejected his qualifying offer this offseason and elected to take the infield in a different direction, likely plugging Gleyber Torres into shortstop while DJ LeMahieu takes over at second base.

Where’s Gregorius off to now?

The 29-year-old veteran signed a one-year, $14 million deal with the Phillies, departing from the Bronx and hoping for a bounce-back year, following a season where he returned at the mid-way point due to Tommy John surgery. He still managed to hit 16 homers and 61 RBIs in that time frame.

At full health, Gregorius is a quality defender with a consistent bat. It will be interesting to see if he maintains his power considering the Yankees’ home-run centric mentality.

Didi’s goodbye:

I want to thank the New York Yankees organization for the awesome 5 season i had there and for letting me grow into myself and be around great group of guys … and to the fans thanks for the boo’s and the cheers and push me to be better Much love

With manager Aaron Boone committing to Torres at SS, it opens up an interesting dialogue. Should we be worried about his defense? Comparably to Gregorius’ .979 fielding percentage and six errors over 80 games, Torres logged a .961 fielding percentage and 11 errors over 77 games.

Trusting young Gleyber to take over in a full-capacity role with his defensive inconsistencies might be overly optimistic. I wouldn’t be surprised if GM Brian Cashman brought in a veteran to smooth over the transition.

Former Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius signs with the Philadelphia Phillies

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius

The New York Yankees elected to reject shortstop Didi Gregorius’ qualifying offer after the conclusion of the postseason, and now he has taken his talents to Philadelphia.

The Phillies will not only get a solid infielder, but they will get one of the best social-media follows and human beings to add to their locker room. Last season, Gregorius returned from Tommy John surgery to hit .238 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs.

While Didi’s return wasn’t as productive as most would have hoped, entering the season midway through is never easy. He contributed in the playoffs, though, hitting a grand slam to send the Minnesota Twins packing in the ALDS. The plan for the Yankees is to elevate second-baseman Gleyber Torres to the starting shortstop position, where he was destined to end up all along.