Should the New York Yankees bid for Trevor Bauer’s services?

New York Yankees, Trevor Bauer

Despite the acquisition of Gerrit Cole, the New York Yankees still have issues relating to their starting pitching depth. Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, and James Paxton are impending free agents. Not to mention Luis Severino is still recovering from Tommy John Surgery. That leaves Cole, Jordan Montgomery, and the young Deivi Garcia as possible rotation options in 2021.

The Yankees do have internal options in Clarke Schmidt, Michael King, and Nick Nelson. They also have Domingo German, who recently completed his 81-game domestic violence suspension. However, they need a more experienced arm if they want to become a true contender. One impending free agent comes to mind, an old college teammate of Gerrit Cole’s.

Trevor Bauer:

2020 Stats (CIN):

5-4, 1.73 ERA, 11 Starts, 100 SO, 73.0 IP, .795 WHIP, 2.7 WAR

Perhaps one of the top impending free agents, Trevor Bauer’s stock has been on the rise in recent years. The shortened 2020 season was no different, as he led the N.L. in ERA (1.73), ERA+ (276), and WHIP (.795). He also led all of baseball with minuscule 5.1 Hits per 9 Innings (H9). He also pitched brilliantly in Game one of the N.L. against Atlanta, allowing only two hits and striking out 12 in 7.2 shutout innings. With a potential NL Cy Young Award possibly heading for his home, Bauer’s value couldn’t be any higher as he enters the free-agent market.

The Baseball Mercenary

However, negotiations with the 29-year-old right-hander will be quite interesting. He has made it known that he wants one-year deals, essentially making him a baseball mercenary. The short contract length could potentially draw more suitors, but one question remains: How much money does Bauer want?

Given the great season he had in his walk year, Bauer could command an Average Annual Value (AAV) in at least the mid-upper $20 Million range. Should he truly want a one-year deal, it might take even more. With large financial commitments to Cole and Giancarlo Stanton, then the price tag may make GM Brian Cashman hesitant to bite.

That’s not before mentioning what Bauer brings besides his right arm. Bauer has not been afraid to speak his mind the past few seasons, especially on Twitter, and his personality can be an acquired taste for some fans and players. One potential issue about bringing Bauer to the Bronx is his relationship with our current ace.

Could Cole be the deal-breaker?

The two were teammates at UCLA but had a rocky relationship despite being one of the one-two combinations in college baseball history. In an article posted by MLB.com in May 2018, Bauer opened up about the issues prior to a matchup between Bauer’s Indians and Cole’s Astros.

“We had a rocky relationship in college because he told me that I had no future in baseball, and he insulted my work ethic as a freshman,” Bauer said in the article. “I don’t take kindly to those couple of things, so we had our issues.”

Their issues didn’t take away from the Bruins’ 2011 season, winning the NCAA championship. The two followed up with high placements in the 2011 draft, with Cole going first overall to the Pirates. Bauer was selected by the Diamondbacks just two picks later, at third overall.

In the MLB.com article, Bauer said his negative feelings for Cole have “long since faded.” His agent, Rachel Luba, recently tweeted similar sentiment in late September. That’s one step in the right direction. What we need to know now is, “what does Cole think of Bauer?”

Conclusion:

Hopefully, if Bauer does sign with the Yankees, Cole can put his previous issues with him aside and focus on the big picture. Both are entering their 30s, in the prime of their careers, and hungry for World Series championships. It’s wishful thinking, but hopefully, they can put aside their differences to help the Yankees return to dominance.

Wherever he signs, Bauer’s antics will be ignored as long as he produces near what he did in 2020. It’s ultimately results that matter.

Contract Prediction (Regardless of Team):

1-Year, $25-$30 Million with an option for a second year.

New York Yankees Analysis: Trevor Bauer/Gerrit Cole Feud; the real story here (videos)

trevor bauer, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees need pitching help! There has been a lot to talk about with that need, suggesting that Trevor Bauer is the answer to the Yankees pitching problems. That suggestion has also brought up the feud between Bauer and Yankee’s ace Gerrit Cole. Many writers have written about it, and my broadcasters have spoken of it, but neither have really explained it or examined its origins.

I will attempt to dig deeper into the feud and try to determine if it’s real and if it could derail any attempt by the New York Yankees of trying to sign him, now that he is a free agent. For the most part, the feud is a feud on Trevor Bauer’s part, not the other way around. Cole went to high school at Orange Lutheran. After his senior year, the New York Yankees selected Cole in the first round, with the 28th overall selection of the 2008 Major League Baseball draft. Bauer attended Hart in Santa Clarita, California. Bauer was smart and graduated early, then attended UCLA. Cole refused the Yankee offer, instead attended UCLA. This is where the two high school baseball stars first met.

The first thing to understand is that both of these young men weren’t typical college jocks, they were both brilliant and very academic, and both studied their pitching crafts to levels seldom seen. That is where the similarities ended. The two personalities are polar opposites.  Cole is quiet, and all business with an extreme work ethic. Bauer’s mouth sometimes flapped when it shouldn’t, and his work ethic early on was questionable, noted by his coaches.  Cole also noted it called out Bauer for it. This is when the bad feelings between the two first came about.

Later Cole indicated that he felt that Bauer didn’t have a future in baseball. What caused him to say that is anyone’s guess. But Bauer admits many said the same thing, but it intensified the hurt feelings when his competition Cole said it. At the end of their college careers, they both were at the top of their game and the most wanted in the 2008 draft. Cole was selected number one and Bauer number three, but the supposed feud went on for years. It should be noted that Cole has never spoken of the feud, and avoids talking about it, and to this day, doesn’t talk to or look at Bauer.

In 2018 when Bauer was with the Indian’s it happened, Bauer was to face off against his old college foe for the first time, that was now pitching for the Houston Astros. Upon the news that the two would face each other, the feud talk made headlines again.  Trevor Bauer decided to address it while Cole again remained silent.

He also made this statement:

“And it’s good to see, because it’s good for him, it’s good for me, it’s good for the tapestry of our lives. Regardless of how each of us feels about anything, we’re intertwined forever. I don’t know if two teammates have been drafted as high out of college ever. I’m not sure if that’s a thing. I can’t imagine it would be, but we’re part of a historic team at UCLA. We’re part of a historic Draft. We’re part of, hopefully, historic careers on both ends. I’d love nothing more than to trade Cy Youngs with him for the next 10 years, because it’s good for everybody involved. So I’m happy for him. I’m happy that he seems to be healthy this year.”

At the same time, former UCLA assistant coach Rich Vanderhook spoke of the feud and said of the likelihood that hey would make up and be friends:

“I would have to say the odds of the earth burning up are better than that, told USA TODAY Sports. “That’s not going to happen. It’s just not. They are opposites, just such complete opposites.

Fast forward to the 2020 postseason. Bauer was with the Cincinnati Reds he went 5-4 with an ERA of 1.73 and WHIP of 0.79; Cole went 7-3 with an ERA of 2.84 and a WHIP of 0.96. Both sets of stats are admirable, but Bauer seems to have the edge. However, when it comes to the postseason, the edge reverts to Cole. Bauer is 1-4 with an ERA of 2.94; the hardened postseason Cole has a record of 8-4 with an ERA of 2.68. Cole won both of his 2020 postseason starts.

Now Trevor Bauer is a free agent again. Bauer is outspoken and controversial and is now toning down that he and Cole have an ongoing feud. He has stated again that that is far in the past. But don’ let that fool you; these two being so opposite probably will never like each other. At the same time, Bauer doesn’t want to lessen his chances of becoming a New York Yankee, one of nine teams that may be interested in him.

The bottom line is that both of these pitchers are now adults; they will not let a teenage dispute kill their chances of obtaining a World Series ring. They may be opposites, but at the same time have many similarities; both are excellent pitchers, both are analytic nuts and love to talk about the technicalities of pitching. They both freely discuss their craft. There is no question that if the Yankees try to get Bauer, they definitely will run it by their $324M ace first.

But Gerrit Cole is no fool either. He knows that if the New York Yankees acquire Bauer, he knows that the one-two punch of he and Bauer will put the Yankees in a unique situation to get a 28th World Championship, and maybe, just maybe they can show off their Championship rings together.

For New York Yankee fans, can you imagine a starting rotation of Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer, Luis Severino, Domingo German, and Deivi Garcia? Sounds to this writer like a dream come true and a sure path to that elusive 28th World Championship once and for all. Sure there is some controversy there, with Bauer and German, but with the Yankees, it’s all about winning.

 

 

New York Yankees Analysis: A Deeper Look, what’s wrong and how to fix it

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone, Brian Cashman

The New York Yankees lost again in the postseason on Friday night. There is obviously something wrong that the Yankees haven’t been able to win a World Series in the last eleven years.  The question is how to fix it and get back to their winning ways. I don’t pretend to have the answers, but at the same time, I have been an avid life-long Yankee fan for 70 plus years. I have seen teams come and go, and dynasties come and go. I’ve seen some truly great players and many that were not.  This look at the Yankees is not a report, but purely an opinion piece. I am a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and a Yankee writer for the last five years.

First of all, we are talking about the New York Yankees, not the Kansas City Royals or any of the other 29 major league teams. I can think of at least 25 teams that would consider this 2020 shortened season for the Yankees a great success.  But, that is not the case we talked about the Yankees, where the season is a failure if they don’t go into the postseason and win a World Championship.

The 2020 Yankees season was a good one, considering all of the obstacles and injuries.  For the second year in a row, the Yankees had an unprecedented number of injuries. Key pitchers and some in the lineup were either missing for the whole season or much of it.  Last year the Yankees completely shook up their strength and conditioning department. One would not expect an immediate positive result, but those changes should reap the rewards in the coming years after a season. But going forward, there is no way to predict what injuries the Yankees might endure in the coming season.

Last December, after another losing season, the New York Yankees made a big move, their first in a few years.  The front office was tired of losing. They went to California and signed the best pitcher available in the offseason, and one of the best in all of baseball; Gerrit Cole.  That was the only change they made, believing it would be the difference in winning a Championship, and they spent $324 million to sign him.

As the Yankees approached spring training, everything looked rosy, as the team was healthy, and they had a new pitching ace that would take care of the 2019 shortcomings.  Well, it didn’t take long for that rose to start to wither. They knew going in that they would be without their 2019 winningest pitcher, Domingo German, who was 18-4 last season. He would be out the much of the season, serving the remainder of his domestic violence suspension.

The Yankees were not aware at the time that James Paxton had had back surgery and would also miss the start of the season.  They knew that they had co-ace Luis Severino coming back from missing much of the 2019 season. Fast forward to him throwing his first few pitches of spring training, and his elbow was injured, which ended up requiring him to have Tommy John surgery, and he too would miss the season.  Considering the aging Masahiro Tanaka and missing two key pitchers, I, at that point, said to myself, well, that negates the plus of having Gerrit Cole, and we are back in the same situation we were last year.

Another big blow came when we learned Yankee slugger and star Aaron Judge had shoulder problems, which turned out to be a collapsed lung and a fractured rib. He two would miss the beginning of the season. The injuries piled up that I am not going to go into, but the Yankees’ rosy season looked in jeopardy.  Then it hit, COVID-19. As the virus began to sweep the nation, MLB shut down all baseball operations and announced a delay at the baseball season.

The original two-month delay turned out to be a delay of more than four months. There were contentious negotiations between MLB and the players regarding how to start the season safely and who would get paid for what. Those negotiations lagged, and Commissioner Rob Manfred ended up putting health protocols in place and implementing a 60 game season. To a degree, this was a godsend for the Yankees as it would give them time to get everyone healthy in time for the season start.

After a surprisingly good start to the season, they went 9-2. But then the injuries started popping up. The Yankees endured a 5-15 stretch and the season looked like they would have to fight to win the division.  They didn’t, allowing the Tampa Bay Rays to win the East Division. Gerrit Cole did his job, but much of the rest of the rotation didn’t. The Yankees endured long stretches where the powerful lineup was anything but effective.  Roughly half of the season, they went without Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees ended up the regular shortened season going 33-27.

Because of the expanded postseason format set up by MLB, the New York Yankees got to the postseason. They faced the Cleveland Indians, burying them in just two games while scoring 22 runs in the two games. The Yankees advanced to the ALDS against their nemesis  Tampa Bay Rays, winning the first game with 9 runs and Gerrit Cole on the mound.  That would be the last time they would score as much as two runs in the remaining four games. The lead in the series bounced back and forth, calling for a game five. In the eighth inning of that game, Yankee closer Aroldis Chapman would give up the winning run to Mike Brosseau.  This is the second season in a row that Chapman has ended the season giving up the winning run.

So, what’s wrong with this team that they can’t win in the win in the postseason and advance to a World Series appearance?  The answer is multi-folded. They don’t have dependable pitching, they don’t have consistent, timely hitting, they leave too many men on base, and they have some defensive holes.

Let’s address the defensive problems first, as they are the least significant. At shortstop, we have Gleyber Torres, after the Yankees did not re-sign Didi Gregorius in the offseason.  They bet on Torres fulfilling the position, it did not turn out well. Torres got off to a slow hitting start, but his main problem was holding down hitters at short. Torres committed 9 errors, the second-most in all of baseball. Torres also had two errors in the postseason.

One of the most significant problems the New York Yankees had in the 2020 season was their catcher, Gary Sanchez; after a year of improved performance at the backstop, Sanchez returned to his old ways, having allowed six passed balls, that’s near 19 in a regular season, leading all of baseball for a catcher. Add to that, he was, for the most part, just taking up space in the lineup. He ended the season with a .147 batting average. He had only 23 hits on the entire season, 10 of them home runs.

The Yankees have had undying faith in Sanchez as their catcher of the future. The Yankees continue to wait for him to fulfill that promise. The only problem is that he is going backward. His defense is worse than last season, and he has had a batting average of less than .232 during the last three seasons, two of them under .200. For the first time since he has been a Yankee, the Yankee front office, is showing cracks in that support.  As the end of the season approached, manager Aaron Boone benched him twice, and in the postseason, he caught in only one of the seven games.

Turning to pitching, Gerrit Cole was the only dependable starting pitcher in the season. Masahiro Tanaka, second in the rotation, went 3-3 with an ERA of 3.56 on the season. The Yankees lost both of his postseason starts. He had a postseason ERA of 12.58. James Paxton went 1-1 on the season but was injured and missed the last half of the season, and he all of the postseason.  J.A. Happ was a mixed bag, pitching poorly in the first half but becoming the best pitcher in the second half. Happ was 2-2 with an ERA of 3.47 ERA.  Jordan Montgomery was inconsistent all season, going 2-3 with an elevated ERA. He pitched his one postseason game well, but the Yankees lost the game nevertheless.

Going into the last half of the season, the New York Yankees realizing they needed pitching help, allowed the major league debut of Deivi Garcia. Garcia basically didn’t disappoint. He got in six starts on the season going 3-2 with an ERA of 4.98. In the season the Yankees also introduced Michael King and Clarke Schmidt who may be a part of the coming seasons.

The Yankees made a big mistake in the postseason. They tried to outsmart the Tampa Bay Rays by playing their game when they should have played their own game. Game 2 of the ALDS will be looked back upon as the game that turned the tide in favor of the Rays. For some unknown reason, the Yankees decided to start game two with an opener, instead of Masahario Tanaka. Mistake number two came when the only let Deivi Garcia pitch one inning. Mistake number three was when they brought in J. Happ to replace him, burning two starting pitchers in one game. The gamble didn’t pay off; the Yankees lost the game and their momentum.

The Yankees hitting in the Wild Card round was just that, wild. When it came to the ALDS the bats for the most part went silent again. I have no explanation as to why throughout the season, all of the Yankees bats went silent at the same time, with the exception of Luke Voit. I have to assume it was only an annoying coincidence.

How the New York Yankees can fix things!

The Yankees will presumably be getting Luis Severino and Domingo German back for the 2021 season. However, after not pitching for a year, the Yankees have no way of knowing how they will perform.  The Yankees need another premium arm.  Tevor Bauer is a free agent, he would be a good fit for the Yankees. That would give the Yankees a starting rotation that would look like this; Gerrit Cole Trevor Bauer, Luis Severino, Domingo German, and Deivi Garcia.  No one knows right now what will happen with Paxton, Happ or Tanaka who are all free agents.  My guess is that they will take Tanaka back at a discount and let Paxton and Happ go. Another option for the Yankees is Carlos Carrassco of the Indians.

On the defense and hitting side of the issue, the Yankees need to replace Gleyber Torres at short. Enter Francisco Lindor who is a free agent.  Lindor would be an upgrade at short and in the lineup. That would allow Torres who the Yankees will not get rid of, to return to his natural position at second base.  This would allow LeMahieu to become a utility man that can adequately fill in at all infield positions while keeping his hot timely bat in the lineup.

Looking at the other positions, Voit and Ford, although not the best, they can handle first base. Voit finished his season as the best home run hitter in all of baseball. The Young Gleyber Torres can continue to blossom at second base and in the lineup.  At third base is the real deal Gio Urshela, who is a Gold Glove type defender and timely hitter.  The outfield is pretty well set with Judge, Hicks, Frazier, and the MLB’s best defending outfielder, Mike Tauchman. Tauchman committed no errors.

Outside of the Torres situation, the Yankees still have three situations they must clear up in the postseason. One is easy; the Yankees must re-sign DJ LeManhieu, the 2020 batting average winner.  My suggestion is a 4 year $65 million contract, although it may take more dollars, the Yankees must get it done.  The other two questions are less clear. Brett Gardner is in the last season of his contract although he has an option for 2021. The Yankees can dump him for $2.2 million. Although Gardner didn’t hit as well this year he did contribute on the field and the bases. Gardner is also a team leader in the clubhouse.

The question about Gary Sanchez is more complicated. Sanchez can be very good, he hit 34 home runs in 2019. His defense is still questionable and his ability to get on base has been greatly reduced.  His trade value is near zero presenting the options to leave things as they are, move Higashioka to the everyday catcher, and domote him to backup.  Another option is to go after one of the best catchers in the game, J.T. Realmuto who is a free agent and would be a big-time upgrade.

The New York Yankees have the money to make all these upgrades, they spend less on player salaries compared to revenue than any other baseball team. In general the Yankees rely on the home run to win games, when they don’t hit them they lose. Lindor would help that, he hit 61 hits compared to Torre’s 33 hits.  Realmuto added to the lineup would provide more timly hitting as well.  The result would be a team that plays small ball and long ball for a better mix, and more consistant scoring.

The New York Yankees have a great team but need to make some minor tweaks to win a World Series, and time is running out.  The Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman made no moves to improve the team by the trade deadline in the last two years. The cheap “Baby Bombers” aren’t so baby anymore, they are aging and will all become free agents in the next two years, with the exception of Gleyber Torres, who is under team control until 2024.  If the Yankees want to win with the core of players they have, they only have this and the next year to make that a reality. Only the front office’s determination to win a 28th Championship and more in the coming Cole years will make that happen.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is s member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam

 

 

New York Yankees Postseason Preview: Will the Yankees have a ALCS Astros rematch? We find out tonight

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Jose Altuve

Tonight, the New York Yankees will have a game for the ages! Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it will be a game that no New York Yankee fan will want to miss. Multiple storylines are going into tonight’s game, from pitchers starting on just two days rest, to settling the question of who is best, the New York Yankees or the Tampa Bay Rays. Lingering in the background is what could be the biggest baseball story of the season. If the Yankees win tonight, it will cause a matchup of the 2019 ACLS, with the Yankees meeting up again with the cheating Houston Astros that won their ALDS last night.

Facing elimination last night, the New York Yankees rallied to win a big one 5-1. The game featured good pitching and home runs by Luke Voit and Gleyber Torres. Last night, the Yankee team looked like the team that went on long winning stretches during the regular season. Both Yankee wins in the ALDS was with Kyle Higashioka behind at backstop. Higashioka has become a bit of a lucky charm for the Yankees. In contrast, the Yankees have benched the poor hitting Gary Sanchez, and Higashioka will certainly be behind the plate tonight.

The ALDS will switch back to the Tampa Bay Rays’ home-field advantage in this final game of the series.  Both teams tonight, being out of dependable starters will start pitchers on short rest.

In a desperate move, the Tampa Bay Rays will start Tyler Glasnow in just two days rest.  Glasnow has a devastating fastball, but how effective that pitch will be on just two days rest will be interesting to see.  Glasnow was 5-1 on the regular season with an ERA of 4.08 with 91 strikeouts.  In the postseason, he won his start in the Wild Card by beating the Toronto Blue Jays. In his start in the ALDS, he beat the Yankees and J.A. Happ in the second game of the ALDS 7-5. Glasnow, in his career, has never started a game on short rest.

The New York Yankee’s seasoned ace Gerrit Cole will also start on short rest, but Cole hasn’t pitched since Monday.  Cole, on the regular season, was 7-3 with an ERA of 2.84 with 94 strikeouts.  So far, in the postseason, he has won both of his starts, garnering a 3.46 ERA.  He won his start against the Cleveland Indians 12-3 while striking out a record 13 in seven innings of work. On Monday, he went six innings in the Yankee 9-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

With both pitchers pitching on short rest, both teams’ bullpens may be the deciding factor in who wins this last elimination game.  Both teams yesterday used few relievers in preparation for the possible need tonight. Last night the Yankees used Chad Green and Zack Britton. The Rays used only Ryan Yarborough and Aaron Slegers.  Yarborough went five innings, so it is doubtful that he will be available.  For the Yankees, everyone will be available, although they will avoid using Green and Britton unless absolutely necessary.

In a winner take all game, you may see starters come in in relief.  The Yankees Deivi Garcia will be available, and for the Rays, Blake Snell will also be in the bullpen.

If the New York Yankees can pull out a win tonight, they will go on to the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros, presenting an interesting storyline. The Yankees lost to the Astros in last year’s ALCS in the six-game of the series. They won when the Yankees believe Jose Altuve knew what pitch was coming from Aroldis Chapman. After the Series, MLB proved that the Astros cheated electronically in the 2017 postseason.  The Yankees also lost to the Astros in that ALCS.

In a bit of luck, if the Astros face the Yankee’s whey will do it without fans in the stands at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.  If fans were allowed in the stands, every Yankee fan that could afford to be there would be in the stands booing the Astros at every move.  But first, the Yankees have to win tonight. Every stop will be out, as the Yankees were reenergized after the huge win last night.

 

 

If eliminated tonight, has Tanaka Time run out for the New York Yankees?

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

Last night, the New York Yankees were pushed to the brink of elimination by the Tampa Bay Rays. In a lopsided affair, the bombers dropped game 3 of the ALDS 8-4 which put them down two games to one in the series.

Masahiro Tanaka was on the mound for the Yankees, and for the second straight postseason start, Tanaka was smacked around. Granted, he deserves a little bit of a break on the first start due to the botch job by the MLB on the start of the Indians game.

However, it still doesn’t change the numbers. In two starts this postseason, Tanaka has been horrific for the Yankees. In the final year of his seven year deal, Tanaka has pitched eight innings while giving up 11 earned runs. Good enough for a 12.38 ERA.

Dating back to last year against the Astros, Tanaka is now 0-2 with a 10.38 ERA in his last three starts. Of course, that has left a bad taste in the mouth of Yankees fans. Now to Tanaka’s credit, his postseason ERA as a whole is still just 3.33 with the Yankees despite the terrible performances of late.

As stated, Tanaka will enter free agency this offseason after completing his seventh year with the Yankees. Tanaka has become a fan favorite. However, there are serious questions around whether the Yankees should bring back Tanaka once the year concludes.

What should the Yankees do?

This is such a tough question because I love Masahiro Tanaka. I’ve been a big fan and despite the ups and downs, he’s been very solid for the New York Yankees. He’s 78-46 with a 3.74 ERA in the regular season while pitching to that 3.33 ERA with the Yankees in the postseason.

Tanaka has also dealt with some injuries during his time with the Yankees. Tanaka will be turning 32 years old on November 1st. So what should the Yankees do? Should they bring back Tanaka or let him walk once the year is over.

If you’re asking me, I would suggest letting him walk. Tanaka has given the Yankees everything he’s had. However, it might be time to move in a new direction. The Yankees have young starters coming up and they’ll get Luis Severino and Domingo German back next year.

If it was up to me, I would personally let all three of the free agent starters walk after the year is over. If the postseason has taught us anything, it’s that teams need multiple aces to get it done in October, and I just don’t know if Tanaka can be that reliable guy behind Gerrit Cole moving forward.

With the money coming off the books, I think the Yankees should do whatever they can to go out and sign Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer. Yes, there’s been friction with him and Gerrit Cole, but that’s the guy the Yankees need.

Bauer is going to be a finalist for the NL Cy Young, and he would be the perfect co-ace with Cole. The Yankees made a big first step in signing Cole last year, but if eliminated, it’s clearly not been enough. I love Masahiro Tanaka, but the Yankees need someone a level above moving forward.

New York Yankees: Gerrit Cole wasn’t at his best, but he delivered anyway

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

In a game that was closer than it appears, at least until Giancarlo Stanton broke it open with a grand slam, the New York Yankees defeated the pesky Tampa Bay Rays 9-3 in Game One of the American League Division Series at Petco Park, in San Diego.

The Yankees’ ace, Gerrit Cole, took the victory by pitching six innings and allowing three earned runs, with a couple of walks and eight strikeouts. He clearly wasn’t at his best, allowing hard contact all night long (especially in the first half of his start) and two round-trippers, one to Randy Arozarena and another one to his nemesis, Ji-Man Choi.

Yet, even when his command was a little off, he managed to give the New York Yankees’ offense an opportunity to win the game, which is what ended up happening after the Bronx Bombers hit four homers on the night.

“Ultimately, you want to be playing your best baseball when it’s most important,” Cole said to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. “That’s how you get to the ultimate prize. I’m thankful to be a part of the organization, and thankful for the opportunity to lead the charge into the postseason.”

The victory is extremely important for the Yankees, who dropped eight out of ten games against the Rays in the regular season.

“It’s one game, and we’ve got to win three,” manager Aaron Boone said. “We know they’re a great team and a great opponent, and we know we’ve got to play our best to beat them.”

The Yankees’ ace got praise from Cash

Rays manager Kevin Cash recognized Cole’s greatness after the start. “It seemed like as the game went on, he got a little nastier,” he said. “It’s amazing how he’s able to dial up his fastball when he needs it, and [Cole] did that. Ji-Man with the big home run, but they answered back.”

“This is a tough lineup to navigate, because they’ve got some guys who are swinging a hot bat right now,” said catcher Kyle Higashioka. “We just tried to do our best to change speeds, use the whole plate, keep them off balance. Basically, we just pitched to Gerrit’s strengths.”

At one point, with men in scoring position for the Rays, Cole and Higashioka got crossed in their communication and the backstop was expecting a high fastball, and the hurler delivered a hard-breaking curveball.

“I may be biased, but the most important play from Kyle was when I crossed him up,” Cole said. “That goes to the backstop and it could be a totally different ballgame.”

A couple of batters later, and Cole threw two darts to get the strikeout swinging against Manny Margot to end the threat in the fifth. It was a huge moment for the Yankees.

“Big stage, big moment,” Cole said. “I executed perfectly. I’m glad, because I really got myself into a bit of a mess there.”

New York Yankees Postseason Recap: Judge and Stanton power Yankees to game 1 win in the ALDS

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Santon

For the New York Yankees, the big bats were out, and the savages ravaged the Tampa Bay Rays late in the game to take game one of the 2020 five-game ALDS. What was supposed to be a pitching duel that really didn’t materialize. Yankee ace Gerrit Cole pitched adequately but did not dominate in his six innings of work. The Tampa Bay Ray’s ace Blake Snell threw a lot of pitches and only lasted five innings giving up four runs and only striking out four Yankees.

After Blake Snell left the game, Ryan Thompson and Oliver Drake pitched two scoreless innings. But in the ninth inning with the Yankees ahead in the game by one run. Keven Cash,, the Tampa manager, made an extraordinary move. He brought in John Curtiss pitch the ninth inning.  Curtiss was making his major league pitching debut in the postseason.  The New York Yankees spoiled his debut, big time by hammering for five runs and the Yankee 9-3 win.  Gerrit Cole got the win, and Blake Snell took the loss for the Tampa Bay Rays.

The game started out with Snell throwing 10 pitches to DJ LeMahieu, who finally got a hit. LeMahieu ended up going 2 for 5 on the night.  Aaron Hicks had along sac fly, driving in LeMahieu, and Snell’s no runs in the first inning streak was over. At the bottom of the frame, Cole took the mound and gave up a homer to Randy Arozarena, and the game was tied at one until the third inning.  Leading off the third, Clint Frazier hit up Snell for a long ball way up in the left-field stands of Petco Park. The lead wouldn’t last as Yankee killer Ji-Man Choi homered in the bottom of the frame, and it was Tampa Bay 3 and the Yankees 2.

That Tampa Bay Rays lead wouldn’t last either as the New York Yankees knocked Blake Snell out of the game in the top of the fifth inning. Cole’s battery mate catcher Kyle Higashioka led off the with a giant homer to left field. Slugger Aaron Judge followed with a blast the also made the left-field stands, retaking the Yankee lead at 4-3. The next three innings remained scoreless for both teams.

At the top of the ninth, the New York Yankees made it a no-doubter. With Higashioka on base, Aaron Hicks singled, driving in Higgy.  With the bases now loaded, Giancarlo Stanton Grand Slammed off Curtiss blowing the game open for the Yankees’ final score of 9-3. Luis Cessa came in at the bottom of the night and closed it out for the Yankees, and they took the first game of the ALDS in San Diego.

When the Yankees hit home runs, they win games, and last night they hit four long balls; Higashioka, Judge, Frazier, and Giancarlo Stanton all contributed to that home run total.  Gerrit Cole went six innings striking out eight Rays; it was the first time a starter had back to back 8 strike out games in the postseason. The Bronx Bombers also, became the first team in American League history to hit a grand slam in back-to-back playoff games. Gio Urshela connected in Game 2 of the first-round sweep against Cleveland and Giancarlo Stanton did it last night.

It was a big night for the Yankees. Tonight in somewhat a surprise move Yankee manager Aaron Boone will send out rookie Deivi Garcia to pitch Game 2 of the ALDS, most would have thought Masahiro Tanaka would pitch in the second game, but Boone is going with Garcia who has earned Boone’s support.  The Tampa Bay Rays saw last night that the are not playing against the same team the dominated in the regular season.  Game two will be at 8:10 pm on TBS.

 

 

New York Yankees: Good news and bad news in emphatic game 1 win over Tampa

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees escaped game one of the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays with a massive victory. With Gerrit Cole on the mound, the opener of the series was essential for a Yankee team that often goes on lengthy cold streaks.

Securing game one gives the Yanks a significant advantage heading into game two, with youngster Deivi García taking the mound.

The Yankees have been tortured by the Rays all season long, and they made an emphatic statement, thanks to some timely homers by their more consistent hitters.

FINAL SCORE: 9-3

Good news and bad news for the New York Yankees:

GOOD NEWS:

Good news, the Yankees were clicking on all fronts, and the offense played as well as we could have hoped against fantastic pitching.

Offensively, they racked up 13 hits and struck out six times, a fantastic ratio. Lead-off hitter DJ LeMahieu had two hits and Aaron Judge launched a home run in the fifth inning to secure the lead for the Yankees.

However, to start the game, the Bombers managed to strike first, with Aaron Hicks hitting a sacrifice fly to center, driving in LeMahieu. Both Clint Frazier and Kyle Higashioka hit solo homers to help their cause and ultimately pushed the Yankees over the edge.

As for the Yankees pitching, starter Gerrit Cole lasted 6.0 innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out eight batters. His kryptonite this season has been Ji-Man Choi, who launched a two-run homer in the fourth inning to regain the lead. Cole did not back down from the challenge, though, as he consistently hit the upper 90s with his fastball, despite reaching the upper 90s in pitch count. This was about as great an outing against the Rays as you can hope for; the Yankees managed to produce just enough offense.

Thankfully, their bullpen also performed well, lasting three innings and blanking the Rays.

The 9th inning was the catalyst for the Bombers, who gave Giancarlo Stanton a bases-loaded opportunity.  He did not disappoint, launching a grand slam, his eighth career salami.

Interesting stats:

-Gerrit Cole was the first Yankee with eight strikeouts in back-to-back postseason games since Roger Clemens in 2001.

-Cole’s strikeout of Manual Margot in the fifth inning came at 100.1 mph, the fastest pitch he’s thrown this season.

-The Yankees are the first team in MLB history to hit 3+ home runs in each of the first three games of a postseason.

BAD NEWS:

There wasn’t much bad news from the victory, as baseball is a game of inches and a win was all you could’ve hoped for. Considering the Yankees are 11-18 playing away this year, securing game one was essential. They posted four earned runs on Blake Snell, who is one of the more dominant arms is in the league.

New York Yankees Player Profiles: Gerrit Cole the Yankee’s hope for a 28th World Championship

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

New York Yankees general partner and owner Hal Steinbrenner spent $324 million on to see Gerrit Cole in a Yankee uniform and pitching for the Yankees, at Yankee Stadium. Cole, 30, was born on September 8, 1990, in Newport Beach, California, to Mark and Karen Cole. Cole’s father was from New York and a Yankee fan. His father would tell him stories of Lou Gehrig and other famous Yankees, and the young boy would quickly become a baseball fan and Yankee fanatic.

On weekends one could see the young boy playing baseball at local ball fields, playing any position so that he could play. His father certainly nurtured Cole’s interest in the Yankees by flying him across the country seven times to Yankee Stadium to see his idols, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, and Andy Pettitte. Cole was a member of the Tustin Western Little League team of Newport Beach.

In 2001 hiS Dad would take the young Cole to the World Series in Arizona to see his favorite Yankees play. The eleven-year-old could be seen in the stands with a Yankee uniform and cap on, while holding a sign saying “Yankee Fan Today, Tomorrow, Forever.” Being a lifelong Yankee fan had to, in some way sway him to being the pitching Ace for a club he loved all his life? The signing of Cole is not the first time Cole and the Yankees have interacted. The Yankees drafted Cole in 2008, but Cole decided to attend college at UCLA. They were also outbid by the Pirates for Cole when he got out of college.

Cole attended Orange Lutheran High School and played on the team as a pitcher. In this sophomore year, he once pitched 45 innings without allowing a run. In his junior year, his fastball reached 94mph. At the start of his senior season, fifty baseball scouts would attend his opening start. He would go 8-2 that season with a .047 ERA while striking out 121. The Yankees would select Cole in the first-round draft in 2008, but Cole would attend college instead.

At UCLA, Cole’s introduction to college pitching would be a bit rude, as he faced more talented players. He would go 4-8 with an ERA of 3.49. His next year would be more successful as he went 11-4, with an ERA of 3.37 with 153 strikeouts. In 2011 Cole would sign with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cole attended spring training in 2012 but was optioned to the Bradenton Marauders of the Florida State League. Cole pitched to a 2.90 ERA before being promoted to the Indianapolis Indians, a triple-A Pirates minor league team. There he would go 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA in twelve starts.

Injuries on the Pirates would cause Cole to be brought up to the majors; he made his MLB debut on June 11, 2013. In his first appearance, he struck out his first batter in just three pitches. In the game, he would also get his first hit. He gave up two earned runs in the game but got his first win as a major league pitcher. He would hit his first home run on Sept. 7, 2014, his second on August 26th and his third for the Pirates, on May 26, 2016, a three-run blast into the visitor’s bullpen.

For the Pirates, he would go 10-7 in his first year, 11-5 in his second, and an amazing 19-8 in his third year while being an All-Star, MVP nominee, and coming in fourth in the Cy Young voting. He would have an offseason in 2016 going only 7-10. 2017 would be only slightly better when he went 12-12. At the end of the season, he would be traded to the Houston Astros. With a new pitching coach and new technologies, Cole would again find his form. He would go 15-5 in 2018 while posting a 2.88 ERA. Cole’s 2019 was even better, going 20-5 with an ERA of 2.50.

During the 2019 postseason, Cole would get his second taste of postseason play, and he would dominate. In 2018 he would go 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA. He would go seven or more innings in all five of his 2019 starts, sometimes going over 100 pitches. On October 5, against the Rays in the ALDS, he would not allow a run in the 3-1 win. On 10/10, he would again face the Rays and pitch to a .057 ERA in the win. On 10/15, he would lose to the Yankees but post an ERA of just .040. In the ALCS against the Nationals on 10/22, he would get a 5-4 win. To finish off his postseason, he would get another win against the Nationals on 10/27 while allowing only one run in the 7-1 Houston win. He would end the postseason 4-1 with an ERA of 1.72.

Once interviewed by David Laurila, he would ask Cole what his hitting approach is, Cole would answer, “I try to get early contact and keep it on the ground. I like to keep the ball down as much as I can. Strikeouts are something that just happens. You don’t go for strikeouts, because your pitch count gets too high. When you get that opportunity, you have to put them away with whatever is working that day. That’s the approach I’ve always had to have. I’ve got to keep my pitch count down. If you want to go deep into ballgames, you have to stay under that 100 mark.”

Cole is a fearless monster on the mound and attacks hitters. He is durable and goes deep into games, something that will rest the Yankee bullpen. In his short career, he has been an All-Star three times, been an MVP nominee twice, and has been voted for the Cy Young Award three times, coming in second in the voting this past year.

Although he has turned out to be the New York Yankees winningest pitcher, he doesn’t seem to be the dominant pitcher he was for the Houston Astros last year. He appears to have struggled at times, even in the games that he has won. Also, Cole has given up home runs, lot’s of them. He has given up a home run in every one of his starts. The Yankees have lost the last four games that Cole started. In those games, Cole gave up eight home runs while walking nine hitters. Last season he was 21-5 with an ERA of 2.51, this year, his earned run average is considerably higher at 3.64.

One would have to assume, that this crazy baseball season, and it’s broken up spring training may have something to due with Cole’s performance. There is another possibility, could he be another great pitcher to come to the Yankees and flop? A.J. Burnett is the most recent overpaid pitching bust for the New York Yankees. He was not the first, the Yankees have had over a dozen premier pitchers to come to them in the last 30 years that couldn’t cut it in New York.

Since manager Aaron Boone has matched him up with his battery mate, catcher Kyle Higashioka, the Yankees have won five in a row. He has pitched to an ERA of just 1.32. If the New York Yankees get all the way to the World Series, Cole could start six or seven games for the Yankees, although some would be on short rest.  In his one postseason start so far this year, he was totally dominating, beating the Cleveland Indians, pitching seven strong innings with 105 pitches, allowing just two runs while walking no one and racking up 13 strikeouts.  Striking out 13 hitters while issuing no walks has only been done by one other baseball player, and he was Tom Seaver in 1973.

Tonight, in San Diego. Cole will take the mound against the Tampa Bay Ray’s ace Blake Snell. If Cole pitches as he did in the Wild Card round, the Rays won’t’ have a chance. The only snafu that could affect the outcome is if the Yankee hitters stay silent and don’t support him.

Cole and his family moved to Greenwich, CT a suburb of New York. The 6’4″ Cole is married to his wife Amy, who he met as a softball player at UCLA. His brother-in-law is Brandon Crawford of the San Francisco Giants. He and his wife love to cook and entertain family and friends. Cole is a healthy cook and a nutritional nut. Amy has a blog called “the Culinary Experience”. The two gave birth to a son earlier this summer. Cole has a younger sister Erin.

 

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.