Mets Game Preview (4/5/21): 7:05 p.m. @ Philadelphia Phillies (3-0)

The New York Mets finally get to start their season after their opening series matchup against the Washington Nationals was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols. It will not be an easy matchup as they take on a red hot Philadelphia Phillies team who swept the Atlanta Braves over the weekend.

Thankfully Mets fans will get the illustrious SNY booth for their opener instead of the cringefest that ESPN brings to their broadcast team. During their time off in our nation’s capital, the Mets continued working out and keeping themselves ready for their eventual trip to Philadelphia.

On the other hand, the Phillies were rolling on all cylinders as they made sure they were not forgotten in the chase for the NL East crown. Their pitching led the way by holding the strong Braves offense to just three runs in the series. The starting pitching was tremendous, but their revamped bullpen was dominant to make sure their starter’s efforts were not thrown away. Jose Alvarado had led the way with five strikeouts in his two scoreless innings.

Despite the strong pitching, the bats provided the Phillies just enough to win. Andrew Knapp provided the lone home run of the weekend, and it was one of six extra-base hits. Despite the lack of power, the important hitters have started strong for the Phils. Bryce Harper is 3-for-10 (.300) with three walks, and J.T. Realmuto is 4-for-9 (.444) with two doubles.

Pitching Matchups

Jacob deGrom can finally make his Opening Day start, and it comes in a ballpark he has found plenty of success in. Over eight starts at Citizens Bank Park, he has a 2.95 ERA, two complete games (one shutout), and only allowed four home runs in 42.2 innings pitched. deGrom has continued to climb his way up the radar gun over the last two seasons, and we will see if the long layoff has any effect on his velocity.

Matt Moore is back in the states after a successful tour in Japan, where he posted a 2.65 ERA in 15 outings. Moore last pitched in the majors during the 2019 season, where he pitched 10 scoreless innings for the Detroit Tigers. In the two seasons prior, he had an ERA just under six in 71 outings. Moore is a left-handed pitcher who features a 4-seam fastball, cutter, curveball, and changeup. With the lefty on the mound, we will get our first glimpse of Brandon Nimmo’s status against them. Lefties have always done better against Moore, so we should expect Nimmo to play.

Matchups To Lookout For 

Jacob deGrom vs. Rhys Hoskins: 3-for-16 (.188), Double, 4 Walks, 6 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. J.T. Realmuto: 4-for-25 (.160), Double, 9 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Didi Gregorious: 3-for-19 (.158), 4 Strikeouts

Matt Moore vs. Francisco Lindor: 8-for-13 (.615), Home Run

Matt Moore vs. Kevin Pillar: 1-for-11 (.091), 2 Strikeouts

 

New York Mets: Offseason Moves Progressing As Expected

The New York Mets are still in a good spot after Liam Hendriks signed with the Chicago White Sox. Hendriks is the first big name to fall off the extremely slow-moving free-agent market. His signing leaves George Springer, Trevor Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, and D.J. LeMahieu as the final big names looking for deals.

Hendriks was always on the Mets’ radar but was a “want” not a “need” for their bullpen. Their bullpen already had plenty of dominant hard-throwing righties, making left-hander Brad Hand a perfect fit for them. Once the Mets signed James McCann, they were already out on Realmuto. For the Mets’ sake, they hope Reamulto signs in the American League.

Two Controversial Figures

Trevor Bauer’s free agency went from something exciting to a Bauer-esque annoying, drawn-out episode. Bauer is commanding the highest AAV in baseball history, which has to make Jacob deGrom chuckle. If anyone deserves Bauer’s asking price, it is deGrom or current AAV record holder Gerrit Cole. After trading for Carlos Carrasco, the Mets are out on Bauer until the price becomes reasonable.

The Mets got a dynamic bat when they acquired Francisco Lindor, which brought George Springer’s future into question. Springer is also commanding a large deal, but the Mets also have huge contracts on their books. Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, and Lindor are some of the names that warrant contract extensions. Robinson Cano’s hefty contract is also a burden thanks to Brodie Van Wagenen and steroids.

The Mets are the only team that can afford to pay Springer his asking price. MLB’s uncertainty with the designated hitter also puts the Mets in a tough roster situation. Despite the questions surrounding the roster, the Mets are still the front runner for Springer.

The Silent Assassin

It takes a lot to frustrate D.J. LeMahieu, but the New York Yankees did it. Whether the anger is real or a hardball tactic, LeMahieu urged his agent to reach out to a handful of teams, including the Mets. LeMahieu is a huge wild card for the Mets because there technically is nowhere for him to play on the infield.

Obviously, LeMahieu is better than J.D. Davis and the Mets would make a trade if he was signed. Davis is too valuable to keep on the bench and becomes the odd man if LeMahieu signs. Opening the wallet for LeMahieu would benefit the offense and defense more than signing Springer. LeMahieu is the better hitter, and the Mets can settle with signing Jackie Bradley Jr. or Kevin Pillar.

Even though all three players have different odds to join the Mets, you can throw those away with Steve Cohen as the owner.

 

MLB Weekend News Wrap: DJ LeMahieu, Corey Kluber, J.T. Realmuto and more

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

The New York Yankees and all MLB teams are four days off since the end of the baseball Winter Meetings, probably the most boring show of baseball changes in recent memory. The only team that made significant moves was the Chicago White Sox. The Yankees did nearly nothing. They did sign Nestor Cortes Jr., a relief pitcher that has pitched for the Yankees in 2018.

The big Yankees news is that they have not signed their prime priority DJ LeMahieu. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the sides are still far apart. The Yankees want a four-year contract with the 32-year-old batting title winner. LeMahieu wants five years at $100 million, putting the sides $25 million apart. If the signing happens, it will more likely be for $88 million over four years.

With the Yankees unable at this point to re-signing DJ, it is most likely the Yankees will do little until they know the outcome of that possible deal. Even if they can sign DJ, they most likely won’t do much more than that. General manager Brian Cashman has stated that he is satisfied with the pitching arm they now have. That, however, does not preclude them from hiring a low-cost arm to bolster the rotation.

Just after the end of the World Series, it seemed likely that the Yankees could make a change at the backstop and shortstop. That now seems doomed. The only real upgrades would be expensive after a season where the Yankees lost the most money in all of baseball. Another indicator is that both Cashman and manager Aaron Boone have continued to show promise in Gary Sanchez as their starting catcher.

Corey Kluber to the Yankees?

This weekend, news traveled that prior ace Corey Kluber will be throwing bullpen sessions for the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. You can be sure the Yankees will be watching. If the Yankees were to hire Kluber, it could be a risky move. On the other hand, the Yankees do have a history of hiring pitchers with a recent injury history. The most recent was James Paxton; he ended up starting only five games this year when he had yet another injury. The Yankees let him walk at the end of the season.

Kluber was an ace-type pitcher in 2018, and if healthy, he could return to that pitcher again. Kluber, 34, barely pitched at all in his one and likely only season with the Texas Rangers because of shoulder problems. The year before, he broke his forearm and only pitched 35 innings for the Cleveland Indians. But the year before that, he was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. Because of his injuries, his value will be reduced by at least half, meaning the Yankees, if willing to take the risk, would likely get him for $10-15 million on a one-year contract. If healthy, it could be a huge upgrade from Masahiro Tanaka, who the Yankees are also considering.

J. T. Realmuto’s value is shrinking

After the Philidelphia Phillies flat out said they don’t have the money to re-sign their star catcher, it created quite a bit of excitement with him entering free agency. Rumors were flying all over the place on who would sign the high-priced catcher, who is considered the best catcher in baseball. It seemed the MLB teams seemed the likely landing spots for Realmuto would be a fight between The Yankees, Steve Cohan’s Mets, and the Toronto Blue Jays.

However, since then, the New York Yankees have made it clear that although they would love to have the slugger, they are sticking with the troubled Gary Sanchez and will give him another year to prove that he can hit more than home runs. Meanwhile, according to several reports, the New York Mets seem to be very close to signing the second-best catcher in free agency, James McCann. Unless there are other unknown suiters, that leaves just the Toronto Blue Jays. With so few teams now interested in signing the star for big money, his payday will likely be reduced.

The Cleveland Indians will be no more!

The Cleveland Indians have decided to change their moniker. They will be dropping “Indians” from their name that they have been known for nearly 100 years. The world Indians are considered offensive and insensitive to Indians and caused the Washington Redskins to change their name. CBS Sports HQ’s Jim Bowden has since confirmed Cleveland’s plans. An announcement from the team could come as soon as this week, per the New York Times.

At present, it is unclear what the new name will be. It could be as simple as the Cleveland Baseball Team, while they decide upon a new name. There are a few popular suggestions out there; the most liked is the Cleveland Spiders. The Cleveland team has had other names in the last century, but the only one that lasted more than a year was the Cleveland Naps. That name came for the popular Cleveland player Nap Lajoie. Another possibility is the Cleveland Dobys, named after Hall of Famer Larry Doby, the American League’s first Black player.

Baseball’s Winter Meetings were dull at best

Last week the annual baseball Winter Meetings were held. They weren’t held in a posh hotel in a prime destination. There were no deals made over a drink at the bar or in hotel lobbies. No late-night deals hashed out in hotel rooms. This year’s meetings were held virtually over four days. There was no wining and dining. The meetings were mostly dull and uneventful. The only team to make significant moves were the Chicago White Sox.

At the start of the Meetings, there were big names out there to be had. Trevor Bauer, Cory Kluber, J.T. Realmuto, James McCann, George Springer, and folks after the Meetings are still all unsigned. Whether that was caused by the meetings being held virtually is unknown. What is known is that MLB teams don’t have much money to spend on big names, with all teams having lost so much money last year. Another cause that surely entered into it, it that teams have no clear view of what a 2021 baseball season will look like.

 

MLB News/Rumors: Some wild and not so wild predictions for Winter Meetings week

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

For the New York Yankees and the other 29 MLB teams, an extraordinary Winter Meetings week will start tomorrow. The event for owners, general managers, and field managers, this is a week that is normally as much social as it is filled with serious baseball meetings. This year there will not be deals done in the bar over a Martini, no late-night talks between GMs in posh hotel rooms. No, this year, the whole event is going to be done virtually. The talks will start tomorrow and go on until December 10th.

Nevertheless, you can count on more acquisitions and trades made this week than the whole time since the World Series ended. However, don’t expect as much activity as in a normal offseason set of meetings. Teams don’t have the money this year than they normally have after huge losses caused by the coronavirus and do not have the revenue stream they usually have from fan-generated funds.

New York Yankees:

The New York Yankees may be one of the hardest teams to predict for two reasons. They have many needs, but owner Hal Steinbrenner has already said he wants to keep the payroll below the luxury tax threshold. You probably won’t see much action from the Yankees during this entire week until they have some idea what’s happening with star second baseman DJ LeMahieu. The Yankees want DJ back for sure, but they have continued to wait to see how much interest develops for his service. I guess that if the Yankees don’t act, the Toronto Blue Jays will swoop in and offer him the money he can’t refuse.

Everything with LeMahieu is contract length; he is fixated on security and will not accept a short contract unless it’s in an amount equivalent to what he would like to earn for five years. The Yankees won’t do that; they might compromise and give him four years with an option based on performance. Regardless they will do everything they can the keep the baseball batting champ in pinstripes.

Prediction: DJ LeMahieu remains a New York Yankee.

New York Mets:

New New York Mets owner Steve Cohen will make a name for himself this week, like outspending any other MLB team. Cohen wants to be in the spotlight and wants to be seen as a winner, and he has the money to do it and do it big. I guess Cohen will try to rebuild the team in just one season to become the predominant New York team.

Predictions: The Mets, unlike the Yankees, have made a bevy of moves already; they haven’t wasted any time signing no less than 15 signed players, including minor league signings. They will make a lot more this week.

  • J.T Realmuto will become the Mets starting catcher.
  • George Springer of Jackie Bradley Jr to the Mets.
  • James Paxton and Taijuan Walker bolster the Mets rotation.

The Los Angeles Angels:

The Los Angeles Angels are tired of losing with a big name like Mike Trout on the team. They paid big for Trout and basically have wasted all that money by not giving him around him to win.

Prediction: Coveted pitcher Trevor Bauer signs with the Angels.

Philadelphia Phillies:

The Phillies is a sad story this year. Even with new manager Joe Girardi, the team will do little to improve their place in the NL East. The Phillies lost a lot of money this past season, not as much as the Yankees, but they also don’t have the Yankees’ resources. They will cost cut at every turn; they have already said they don’t have the money to re-sign J.T. Realmuto. They will somehow find the money to resign Didi Gregorius to a three or four-year deal.

The Toronto Blue Jays:

The Toronto Blue Jays are on the cusp of greatness with all their young, energetic players. They will definitely make a play for DJ LeMahieu but will fall short to the Yankees.

  • Yoenis Cespedes will go to the Blue Jays a small risk one year deal for about $10 million with a team option.
  • If Taijuan Walker doesn’t go with the Mets, the Blue Jays are next inline for the quality pitcher.
  • Shortstop Andrelton Simmons to the Jays
  • Brad Hand the new Jays closer

The Tampa Bay Rays:

The Tampa Bay Rays beat the pants off the New York Yankees this past season and went on to complete in the MLB World Series but fell short to the Dodgers. The Rays have a pretty good team as it is. But they have holes to fill. Primarily to bolster and already excellent pitching rotation of Blake Snell, Ryan Yarborough, and Tyler Glasnow. But they have lost Charlie Morton to the Braves after refusing his 2021 option. They also are in dire need of a catcher. The Rays don’t spend big to don’t look for them to make a play for Realmuto.

  • Willson Contreras the Rays new catcher.
  • Kevin Kieirmaier will be traded off to save money.
  • Left-hand pitcher Matt Moore to the Rays

 

The Los Angeles Dodgers:

The MLB World Series Champion Dodgers won’t do much to fix a team that doesn’t have much to fix. But also don’t look for them to sit on their hands.

  • Dodgers sign Mookie Betts to a record 8-10 deal.

 

 

 

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Is James McCann the fix the Yankees need at backstop?

New York Yankees, Yankees, James McCann

The New York Yankees have much to do this offseason to correct areas they believe may have cost them another early exit from the postseason. Among them is re-signing DJ LeMahieu and rebuilding a pitching rotation that can bring them a division win and lead them to their first trip to the World Series in 12 years. Among other items, the Yankees have to decide what to do with their backstop, Gary Sanchez.

Gary Sanchez burst onto the Yankee scene in 2016, hitting more than a hit per game and hitting his career-high .299 batting average. In 2017 he had the most home runs of any catcher in baseball. Things were looking good for the young catcher as the Yankees declared him the New York Yankee catcher of the future, even though poor defense dogged him. Since his first two years as a Yankees, it’s been pretty much downhill for him. He hit a lot of home runs in 2019, but his batting average has averaged under .200 for the last three years. This year his defense has not improved, and he hit a career-low .147 batting average.

The Yankee have mostly lost faith in Sanchez after sitting him late in the season and the postseason. A team can’t have a guy in the lineup that can’t hit and is a liability. The New York Yankees must now decide if they keep Sanchez, promote Kyle Higashioka to starting catcher, or acquire a new catcher for the team through the free-agent market. There are three outstanding catchers out there that would be a significant upgrade from Sanchez. The most prized and most expensive is J.T. Realmuto. Another is Yadier Molina, a future Hall of Famer, and James McCann, a free agent from the Chicago White Sox.

Today we look to see if James McCann is a good fit for the Yankees. McCann is a solid defender, and the 30-year-old batted .289 to Sanchez’s .147 this past season. He has a good injury history, and Sanchez does not. He doesn’t hit as many home runs as Sanchez, he had only 7 compared to Gary’s 10, but McCann hits for contact. He has a .360 OBP and .896 OPS compared to Sanchez’s line of .253/.618. However, not a perfect defender had 4 errors to Sanchez’s 6.

McCann is coming off two solid seasons with the White Sox; he was an All-Star in 2019 when he hit 18 home runs and drove in 60 runners. Being a hot commodity on the free-agent market, if the Yankees decide McCann is for them, they will have plenty of competition for his services as according to John Heyman of the MLB Network, besides the New York Yankees, the crosstown Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, and Los Angeles Angels all reportedly interested. Of course, the White Sox would like to keep him too, but not enough to give him a qualifying offer. The only reason the Cards are interested is that they might lose Yadier Molina.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Yankee Catcher Gary Sanchez’s future is more cloudy, find out why

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees and its fans have really soured on catcher Gary Sanchez even his most ardent supporters. He got so bad last season that he was actually sat down at times toward the end of the season and in most of the postseason, in favor of backup catch Kyle Higashioka. When your backup catcher is trusted more than your starting catcher, that isn’t good.

Now that we are in the offseason, the Yankees are looking for ways to improve the team and are doing it in a financial environment where two things are in play. With a season with no fans in the stands, the Yankees suffered the biggest losses in baseball from the loss of revenue. The other is that is no clear path to a 2021 season that says fans will be allowed in the fans again, with the coronavirus now ravaging the entire county at its greatest height ever.

Those considerations will cause the New York Yankees and the other 29 MLB teams to be penny pinchers for the most part. Some teams will spend, but most will stay close to the vest. Yankee’s general managing partner Hal Steinbrenner has already announced that he wants to stay under the luxury tax threshold.

The Yankees have three primary areas they must address before the start of the new baseball season. The most important is putting together a starting rotation to support the new Yankee pitching ace, Gerrit Cole. The Yankees spent a huge amount on Cole, and they aren’t going to waste that money by not supporting him with a rotation that can win games. They will also look to bolster an already good bullpen that has suffered the loss of Tommy Kahnle.

The other two problems are not as concerning but should be addressed. Gleyber Torres did not perform as expected at shortstop, not playing well or hitting well. I will leave that for another article. What I will address is the complete collapse of Gary Sanchez as the Yankees’ everyday catcher. Even though the Yankees, for the most part, had continued to support Sanchez, he has been in continual decline since 2016 when he came in second in the Rookie of the year voting and 2017 when he was a Silver Slugger and All-Star.

That decline made headlines this year when his defense again failed, and he could only hit .147. Immediately after the season ended, rumors started that Sanchez may be done as a Yankee. Due to arbitration, Sanchez was to make $7 million this year, and many thought he was not worth that. I have to admit that I am not a Sanchez supporter and haven’t been since 2018. But maybe now that the dust has settled on the previous season, it is time to look deeper into the whole catcher situation.

Is J. T. Realmuto or Yadier Molina the answer for the Yankees?

Should the New York Yankees spend for a Realmuto, sign one of the most reliable catchers in the game in Yadier Molina, or should they think about James McCann? Looking at Realmuto, he will be very expensive. He will demand a paycheck that will be more than the Yankees pay for their whole catching staff now. Looking at it carefully, he isn’t that much of an upgrade from Sanchez, considering the money involved.

When you look at Realmuto and Sanchez side by side, there really isn’t that much of a difference on the offensive side of the ball.

  • Realmuto career: .278/.328/.455 with 380 runs scored, 95 home runs, and 358 RBI
  • Sanchez career: .236/.320/.502 with 245 runs scored, 115 home runs, 286 RBI, one less season than Realmuto.
  • OPB/OPS: Sanchez .320/.823, Realmuto .327/.783

Looking at those stats carefully, they don’t support spending all that money on a player whose career stats are not that much better. Plus, the Yankees have better things to spend their money on than blowing the budget on a minor upgrade. What isn’t mentioned in these stats is that Sanchez has a rocket of an arm that few players are up to challenging.

Yadier Molina may be a different story. One is that he will not command the salary or length of contract that Realmuto will. Yadier Molina is in the twilight of his career being one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. He has a better batting average but does not have the power of Sanchez. He is familiar with the Yankees even though he had played his entire career with the Cardinals. His brother Jose caught for the Yankees platooning with Joe Girardi. James McCann is a good defender, has a better batting average than everyone mentioned .289, and can hit home runs. But the bottom line here is that none of these catchers would be a huge upgrade to Sanchez.

With the talk now being that the Yankees may tender Sanchez, maybe the best path is to tackle the pitching deficiencies and leave the catcher situation just as it is.  Maybe consider Sanchez’s 2020 performance more as a blip in his career rather than things to come. Sanchez hit the most home runs of any catcher last year. Another positive point is that Sanchez stayed healthy last year. Sánchez is participating in the Dominican Winter League as he aims to move past an all-around frustrating year.

To a lesser degree, the Yankees must get another backup catcher with the retirement of Erik Kratz.  The Yankees Josh Thole, who hasn’t caught in the majors since 2016, is probably not the answer as he was rejected last season in favor of the 40-year-old Kratz.

Maybe manager Aaron Boone needs to forget his disdain for personal catchers. After all, it worked out brilliantly for Gerrit Cole and “Higgy.” Start the new season by catching a platooning situation much like what manager Buck Showalter and Casey Stengel did in their managerial careers. This plan could allow Sanchez to shine again and get over a horrible season. Let Higashioka catch Cole and Garcia and Sanchez the rest as it seems appropriate. It just might work.

As I mentioned before I am not a Gary Sanchez fan, but the platooning situation may be the way to go with so many unknowns for the upcoming 2021 season, and the other more important pitching needs that the New York Yankees will have to solve. Who knows as bad as his 2020 season was, he has the talent to return to his 2017 All-Star season and his league-leading home runs for a catcher in 2019.

 

 

New York Yankees Analysis: An analytical look at position match ups based on fantasy ratings

New York Yankees, JT Realmuto

For the New York Yankees, there is much talk about how to solve the team’s problems that cause them to fail, postseason after postseason, and this year losing the East Division. Do the Yankees have Torres at second or LeMahieu? Do the Yankees have Luke Voit at first or DJ at first? Do the Yankees have Brett Gardner in left or Mike Tauchman? Do the Yankees have Clint Frazier in right-field or Aaron Judge. You get the picture.

The Athletic’s Derek VanRiper has released his 2021 fantasy baseball draft rankings. He comes up with these rankings quite complicated and probably not of much interest to the average Yankee baseball fan. But trying to explain it in the most uncomplicated way, it’s a combination of The National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) and Games played by position (GPAP). Other factors go into the ratings as well; likely injuries and the effect of the past shortened 60 game season, and how much of an effect it had on performance considering the 2019 season.

What you really have to know about the rankings is that the lower the ranking, the better. In looking at these rankings, I will tease you with some comparisons for players the New York Yankees may be contemplating. There are several reasons that these rankings may be suspect, basically because the 2020 season was so unusual, and few know what effect that strange season may have had on players.

First, let’s look at our position players, starting at home plate and Gary Sanchez’s sub-par performance. Gary Sanchez – 197, Kyle Higashioka – NA (didn’t catch enough games). Austin Romine – 492.8, Yadier Molina – 299.8, J.T. Realmuto – 37.6. Most of the reason Sanchez’s ranking is as high as it is due to his home runs, not his defense or batting average. But look at the difference between Realmuto 37.6 and Sanchez’s 197.

First base; Luke Voit – 52.4, and DJ LeMahieu – 27.6. At second base, DJ at 27.6 and Gleyber Torres at 58.2. At shortstop, Torres 58.2 and Francisco Lindor – 17. Quite a difference at short. At third base Geo Urshela – 147.4 vs. Miguel Andujar – 423.8.  For outfielders, we have Clint Frazier – 176, Aaron Judge – 45.8, Giancarlo Stanton – 112.8, Aaron Hicks, 296.2, Brett Gardner – 575.2, and Mike Tauchman – 525. Both Tauchman and Gardner’s rankings were affected by lack of home runs, just like Stanton’s is better due to home runs.

These rankings are just another fun way to look at the value of players to the New York Yankees, rather than personal opinion or sportswriters’ opinion. Looking at these rankings, there is no question that J.T. Realmuto is an upgrade at the backstop, also even more obvious is the Francisco Lindor upgrade at shortstop. Another important observation is that at 27.6, DJ LeMahieu is the Yankee’s best overall player. You might also notice that of all the players on these lists (17) is Lindor.

On the pitching side, the New York Yankees Gerrit Cole rated the best of all starting pitchers at 5.8, Jordan Montgomery – 258, James Paxton – 278.8, Masahiro Tanaka – 300.8, Deivi Garcia – 304.6, J.A. Happ 425 and Jonathan Loaisiga at 658.8. Here is how the Yankee’s possible trade targets ranked: Adam Wainright 377.2, Jake Odorizzi 321.6, Walker 268, Lance Lynn 66.2, Corey Kluber 207, Charlie Morton 165.6, and lastly Trevor Bauer 15.8. This list shows that Trevor Bauer would be the Yankee’s best acquisition. For mid-rotation, it would be Lance Lynn, hands down.  I can’t compare Aroldis Chapman (90.4) and Zack Britton because the rankings only included closers. Of note is that Chapman was listed third best after Josh Hader of the Brewers and free-agent Liam Hindriks.

 

New York Yankees News/Rumors: The Yankees are shopping Gary Sanchez, what about Molina?

Yadier Molina, New York Yankees

Reports indicate that the New York Yankees are accepting offers for the services of Gary Sanchez, and at the same time, are checking out the field for a replacement. How this all turns out and when is anyone’s guess. How much value there is in Sanchez is questionable; although he might be an upgrade for some clubs, he has failed to compete as a Yankee for a few years now, this being his worst year so far, hitting just .147 and underperforming as a catcher. Late in the season and in the postseason, he was sat down frequently in favor of backup catcher Kyle Higashioka.

The two pitchers frequently mentioned to replace Sanchez is J. T. Realmuto and Yadier Molina. Neither of which would come cheap. With the losses of the New York Yankees, the most in baseball, Realmuto is most likely out of the picture pricewise. There would still be a steep price to pay for Molina, but no near as much as a Realmuto deal.

Like Yadier, Molina brothers have been some of the best catchers in baseball for the last two decades. Yadier has spent his entire 17-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards failed to offer Molina a multi-year deal and was not offered a qualifying offer.

It is the first time in his career that he has been a free-agent and will be looking for a two or three year deal that will take him until he is 40 or 41 years old. While he’s not nearly the offensive player he once was, Molina did still post 1 defensive run saved in 2020. One of the greatest defensive catchers in MLB history, Molina, can still provide value behind as backstop, even if that’s also diminished from what he did at the height of his powers. The Yankees get with Yadier is one of the best defensive catchers in baseball, a guy who can hit and get on base, even though he hits few home runs then he did in his prime.

“I previously said that if it wasn’t with St. Louis, that I would go home. If we were unable to come to an extension agreement, that I would retire. But the situation with this pandemic has changed everything. Right now, I’m thinking of playing two more years,” Molina said to ESPN’s Marly Rivera.

“Obviously, St. Louis is my first option. But if they don’t sign me, then I’m willing to go into free agency. This situation has changed my mentality, and all I want to do is play.”

The New York Yankees are not unfamiliar with Molina; his older brother Jose caught for the Yankees in 2007. After Jorge Posada suffered a shoulder injury the Yankees traded for Molina on a two-year deal. He caught for the Yankees as the starting catcher until Ivan Rodriguez replaced him. He then served as a backup catcher.

Molina last year hit .267 with four home runs. Sanchez hit 10 home runs but was seldom on base with a .147 batting average. Molina would be an upgrade for the Yankees, defensively and offensively; how much of an upgrade is a question. Molina is night and day from Sanchez. He is vibrant and energetic even at his age, something that is often missing from Sanchez, who continually strikes out and doesn’t give it his all.

Whether the New York Yankees go after Molina, a lot depends on what they have to do to keep DJ LeMahieu in the fold. The two scenarios that enable it are that the team re-signs the second baseman for a relatively inexpensive raise — or they lose the bidding war and  LeMahieu signs with a different team, opening up the payroll for other minor improvements. In the last scenario, the Yankees could sign Molina and still have money left over to seek a premium pitcher.

The Yankees have other options

Should the New York Yankees not sign Yadier Molina or choose not to spend for a J.T. Realmuto there is another very acceptable option out there. That being James McCann. McCann is a seven-year veteran catcher that has been with the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago White Sox. McCann last year hit .289 with seven home runs. He is at 30, also a younger candidate than Molina, although not as good defensively. Still, Molina is a future Hall of Famer that still hits .296 when balls are in play.

Although both of these catchers will be expensive for the Yankees, they are likely to command about the same amount of money.  McCann made $10 million last year and Molina $20 million. Molina realizes he won’t get that this year and both will probably settle in somewhere in the $12-14 million range. That may seem expensive to replace Sanchez, who will probably make $6-7 million this coming season.  Realmuto, on the other hand will require an investment of possibly $20 million.

It’s a long offseason, and it will be filled with twists and turns as the Yankees try to improve their to get to another World Championship.

 

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Return to a dynasty, get rid of Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees have lost in another postseason, and Gary Sanchez is in the center of those losses. It’s time for the Yankees to cut bait and get rid of Gary Sanchez and stop thinking about it. First, let me say that there is no question that Gary Sanchez has talent, he has an accurate arm that is like a cannon, and when he is hitting, he can hit home run after home run. That resume sounds like a star baseball player. But for the New York Yankees, that talent has almost never risen to the top. Instead, what they have gotten from Sanchez is a miserable .186 batting average from 2017 to a .147 batting average in 2020 and, at best, a suspect ability to be a quality catcher.

As it stood at the end of the season and postseason, back up catcher Kyle Higashioka was a better catcher all around then Sanchez. That is not how to start a 2021 season when the Yankees hope to find their way to a World Series appearance. There is much talk about who the Yankees should get to solve their problems. And that conversation is a good one, but what most are not talking about is who the Yankees should get rid of. The fact, blind to many, is that the Yankees need to trade off a struggling Adam Ottavino, a postseason failing Aroldis Chapman, and the biggest liability in the lineup, Gary Sanchez.

For the most part, up until the end of the regular season, the Yankees played with a lineup of eight instead of nine, as Gary Sanchez was just wasted space in an otherwise outstanding lineup. He lost whatever he had gained in defense at shortstop, and just plain couldn’t hit the ball. The Yankees have been high for years on what Sanchez could be when they should have been zeroing in on what he wasn’t. Finally, at the end of the regular 2020 season, the Yankees saw his shortcomings. They began to acknowledge them by allowing Gerrit Cole a personal catcher in Kyle Higashioka while sitting Sanchez and allowing “Higgy” more playing time behind the plate.

In the postseason, the Yankees relied mostly on Higashioka that caught well and hit well. This, for the first time, put Sanchez’s future with the Yankees in question. That future has come under a magnifying glass now that the offseason is in full swing, and the Yankees look for ways of improving the team. Some teams would look at Gary Sanchez as an upgrade. The Yankees should take advantage of that and trade him. With Kyle Higashioka and Erik Kratz, the Yankees already have qualified catchers, but most likely, neither could be an everyday catcher.

There are many quality catchers in free agency, and the Yankees should find one and replace Gary Sanchez and his liabilities. J.T. Realmuto is the prize in free agency, but he will come at a high price that the Yankees don’t need to spend for, with all the other team needs.  The Yankees probably won’t consider another higher-priced catcher by the name of Yadier Molina; he would be half the price of Realmuto. Unfortunately, they will probably pass on him. But there is a bevy of catchers in free agency that would be a batting average upgrade for Sanchez.

Some of these guys could come to the Yankees at a steal in the financially lousy free agency caused by the coronavirus. The Yankees could get the Rays Zunino for about $4 million, the Braves Tyler Flowers, or even reunite with Austin Romine, both of which would be even cheaper than Zunino. The Yankees know that Romine can catch and hit at Yankee Stadium. Re-uniting with him could produce a platoon situation of Higashioka, Romine, and Kratz, who works very well with the younger pitching prospects.

The New York Yankees must not continue to hope Gary Sanchez will be the catcher they always wanted, be realistic, and get rid of him. They can’t accept another season with Gary Sanchez as a liability.  The Yankees have cut bait before, dumping Mike Stanley in the late ’90s for the more aggressive Joe Girardi. Let’s hope they make the same decision this offseason to overall improve the team.

 

 

Mets’ target J.T. Realmuto reportedly ‘not particularly keen on playing in New York’

New York Yankees, JT Realmuto

J.T. Realmuto is an amazing baseball player. He is a great on-field leader from the catcher position, he is a very good game-caller and an overall defensive stalwart. He does all this in addition to being one of the best-hitting backstops in the league. His .266/.349/.491 2020 line translates to an excellent 125 wRC+. He’s consistently great: he averaged 5.0 fWAR per season from 2017 to 2019. The New York Mets are a natural potential landing spot for him.

And we say natural because the Mets have some money coming off the books (eleven players became free agents today) and will have one of the wealthiest owners in MLB starting from next season. Additionally, they won’t have a starting catcher anymore if they decline Wilson Ramos’ club option.

So, Realmuto fits in nicely with what the Mets are doing. But will he be interested in coming to the Big Apple and playing for the New York Mets?

According to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports, Realmuto would like to remain with the Philadelphia Phillies, where he played (and excelled) the last two seasons, and “is not particularly keen on playing in New York.”

Will he go to the Mets?

However, Salisbury also notes that if New York is “where the record-setting money is, Realmuto will eat heroes instead of hoagies.”

That probably means that if the Mets or Yankees offer him the most money, then he will consider signing with them. It is not uncommon for big free agents to choose wherever they earn the most, which is completely fine and understandable. However, it remains unlikely that the Yankees are the highest bidders, and while the Mets may be in the mix, they will probably face stiff competition.

SNY’s Andy Martino said, after Salisbury’s report, that “there are reasons to doubt” interest in Realmuto from the Mets or Yankees. Sandy Alderson, who will be the team’s president under Cohen, is reportedly not a huge fan of “second generation” free agent contracts.