New York Yankees News/Rumors: The elite DJ LeMahieu to the Blue Jays for $68 million?

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

The New York Yankees have many free agents this offseason, but DJ LeMahieu is one the Yankees will be sure to want to resign. He is the only free agent to receive a qualifying offer. The offer was $18.9 million for a one year contract. This is an offer the DJ will most assuredly pass on in favor of testing the free-agent market for his services.

The website MLBTradeRumors forecast the landing spot for the top 50 players on the open market. It has LeMahieu heading north of the border for a four-year, $68 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. My guess is that the Yankees will top that dollar amount to keep LeMahieu in pinstripes. However, nothing is difinite. If LeMahieu wants too much the Yankees will be willing to let him walk in this cash strapped offseason.

LeMahieu is probably the most watched 2nd baseman in baseball. He was the Batting title leader this season and the first player in baseball to capture the title in both leagues. The Gold Glove player will be wanted by many teams as he is more than capable to play first, second, or third base and at the same time lead a team in hitting and on base percentage.

Also of interest from the MLB Trades/Rumors forcast is that Masahiro Tanaka will land back with the New York Yankees for a three-year contract for $13 million a year. Tanaka was not offered a qualifying offer after the World Series, but if any free agent pitcher was to re-sign with the Yankees, most thought it would be Masahiro Tanaka, but at a deep discount from what he earned this year.

The same forcast shows Andrelton Simmons – Yankees.  One year, $12MM.  Simmons, 31, carries a reputation as the best defensive shortstop in baseball.  In eight-plus seasons with the Braves and Angels, Simmons has won the Gold Glove four times.  Looking at 2013-19, Simmons absolutely laps the field in defensive metrics like UZR and DRS not only among shortstops but all players, regardless of position.

Also of interest to Yankees fans, the forcast shows ex-Yankee Didi Gregorius going with Reds. James Paxton going with the White Sox for a year at $10M. J.A. Happ going with the Seattle Mariners at $6M a drastic demotion from the $17M he earned with the Yankees this year. Also of interest is the forcast shows J.T. Realmuto and Corey Kluber going to the cross-town Mets.

New York Yankees got What They Traded for in James Paxton

New York Yankees, James Paxton

The New York Yankees broke the news that James Paxton was undergoing back surgery to remove a cyst on his spinal column. I wish him a speedy recovery, as learning from my dad’s back problems (shards of ruptured vertebrae lodging into his other vertebrae) that this is no joke. But we got exactly what we traded for in James Paxton, an injury-prone pitcher.

Yes, He Truly is Injury Prone

Last year saw him sidelined for 3 weeks due to a sore knee. We guess it was due to the clay used to make up the mound at Yankee Stadium. He also suffered a glute injury on his final start of the season. But, while listening to the Michael Kay Show on ESPN radio yesterday, this cyst popped up and started bothering Paxton throughout the postseason run the Yankees had. But before he developed this cyst, Paxton was on and off the IL in Seattle for injuries like a strained pec, strained lat, trouble with his forearm and elbow, and a strained tendon in a finger on his pitching hand. I’ve said it before, he’s a seven-year veteran, who has yet to make 30 starts in a season. As long as we hang onto him, we will see him miss several starts per year due to injury.

Do We Really Have Enough Depth?

True, we do have depth at the starting pitching position. But will it be sustainable depth until we get Paxton AND German back?

The New York Yankees are notorious for being overly cautious with their starting pitchers. And that hyper caution resulted in several promising pitchers to completely implode on themselves (Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes for starters). Montgomery pitched all of 4 innings last year. Severino will start his first full season since 2018. Happ is hopefully going to be a step above mediocre. Loaisiga and Luis Cessa were average at best as starters for the Yankees, and Devi Garcia may need to adjust his stuff at the major league level. Not to mention the fact Paxton and German will undoubtedly only be back by the All-Star game because they’ll have to throw a few tune-up games in the minor leagues.

We still have Gerrit Cole, is he m and a diminishing regular season Tanaka going to be enough when there are so many question marks surrounding the rotation going into Spring Training?

New York Yankees: An Ideal Starting Lineup for the Post-Season

New York Yankees shortstop, Didi Gregorius.

Aaron Boone, the manager of the New York Yankees, has a fun, but challenging task of creating a lineup for the postseason.

The Yankees currently have the best record in baseball at 95-51, are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and have an 8.5 game lead on the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees have one more two-game set against the Rays, at Tropicana Field, near the end of the month (MLB.com).

With the recent news of Hicks possibly needing Tommy John surgery and Tauchman being out the rest of the season, that opens up some spots in the outfield on the postseason roster. Stanton is the candidate to get the starting spot in left once he comes back off the IL. Clint Frazier could see an increase in playing time as well and will most likely make the postseason roster with all of these injuries.

What should the Starting Lineup Look Like in the Post-Season?

Once everyone comes back from injury, an ideal lineup would look like this: Lemahieu (3B), Judge (RF), Sanchez (C), Encarnacion (DH), Stanton (LF), Voit (1B), Torres (2B), Gregorius (SS), and Gardner (CF). Even for the Astros pitching, that would be a tough lineup to get through.  The balanced hitting of Lemahieu and Judge will set up the middle of the order, where all of the power comes from. Then, the sneaky home run leader, Torres, will add value to the bottom-third of the lineup. Gardner, a player that always seems to make something happen, whether it’s drawing a walk or stealing a base, is a perfect nine hitter to set up the top of the lineup.

Some key players off the bench would be: Gio Urshela (3B), for his electric plays on defense and consistent bat, Cameron Maybin (OF), for his veteran presence and ability to everything he asked to do at a high level, and Austin Romine (C), for his ability to lead as a veteran and come up clutch in big moments at the plate. He also seems to bond well with the pitchers and gives them extra confidence the mound.

Also, for the ALDS, Boone should most likely have Paxton start game 1 with his recent success. Tanaka game 2, Severino game 3, and German open up game 4, with Sabathia and/or Happ, right behind Severino or German. Severino will need some time to get back to his full durability audit may not be this season. German has also thrown a lot of innings this year and they should be careful with his arm. This plan would allow The Yankees could be smart to utilize all of their options to keep everyone fresh out of the bullpen.

Using this strategy, Boone can help lead the New York Yankees to their first World Series in a decade.

New York Yankees: What Pitcher will make the Biggest Impact in the Playoffs?

New York Yankees, Domingo German

The biggest concern for the Aaron Boone and the New York Yankees has to be deciding the three or four starters in the postseason.

Most of the Yankees’ starting pitching has been average at best. It will most certainly be tough building a playoff rotation against the top offenses in the league. The top candidate for getting the nod in game 1 of the American League Division Series is Domingo German. Unless, the former ace, Luis Severino, can come back strong from his injury, German has to be the favorite.

German is leading Major League Baseball with 16 wins. If he continues to get run support, he should continue to dominate in the postseason with his 3.96 earned-run average (MLB At Bat). Being only 27 years old, Yankee fans hope to see German become a superstar for a long time. He started most of his career in the bullpen and had a few spots starts the last couple of years.  No one saw this coming from German, but he has really helped stabilize the rotation this year.

What has been the key to German’s success this year?

German’s ability to expand the strike zone with his curveball has led to a lot of swings and misses this year. This league now demands an upper 90s fastball and a high spin rate on a breaking pitch. Severino is the only one in the rotation that fits those standards. However, German has a fastball ranging from 93 to 95 miles per hour and curveball with a lot of dive. An underrated stat for pitchers: spin rate. German has an average spin rate of 2,565 rotations per minute on his curveball. Masahiro Tanaka tries to accomplish the same with his splitter and slider with an average of 2,387 rotations per minute (MLB At Bat).

Chase rate has also appeared to become an advantage for “finesse” pitchers that do not throw in the upper 90s. Larry Rothschild, the pitching coach of the New York Yankees, has to receive a lot of credit teaching the pitchers to have their breaking pitches “drop off the table.” The Yankees’ pitchers have excelled at making their breaking pitches look like a strike then, with a high spin rate, dropping off the corners of the plate. This formula has seemed to be the key for pitchers with an average or below-average velocity on their fastball. Hopefully, German can continue to use this recipe to his advantage for his starts in the postseason.

The New York Yankees Stalled in Washington but Lead in the AL East

The New York Yankees and Washington Nationals played to a 3-3 tie in Nationals Park on Tuesday night before inclement weather shut the game down in the sixth inning.

Masahiro Tanaka was on the mound for the Yankees and struggled in the early innings. He gave up a solo home run to Anthony Rendon in the first inning, followed by run scoring hits to Andrew Stevenson and Pedro Severino in the second inning to make the score 3-0.

Unfortunately, Tanaka’s home run rate is rising, as noted by Katie Sharp:

Tanaka has allowed the most home runs of any pitcher over the last two seasons with 57 and he is currently tied for fourth in Major League Baseball with nine.

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After the second inning, Tanaka appeared to settle down and he eventually retired the last nine batters in order.

Tyler Austin broke out of a 0-23 slump, going 2-2 with a single, a three-run homerun  and a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 3-3.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone told Brian Hoch of MLB.com:

“I always like the matchup with Tyler against a lefty,” manager Aaron Boone said. “A few really good at-bats — the single to start things, obviously the homer. Deep at-bats. That last at-bat was a real battle with Gio where he almost hit another one out, chasing them back to the wall. Really good at-bats from him in what we felt was a good matchup for him.”

Austin carried the offense on his back last night with the home run and a sacrifice fly responsible for all the Yankees’ runs.

On a day when MLB.com released it’s power rankings boosting the Yankees (28-12) to the number one spot, supplanting the Boston Red Sox (28-14), now in third place, the Yankees took over the lead in the American League East as the Oakland Athletics beat the Red Sox 5-3 Tuesday night.

The game has been rescheduled to resume play at 5:05 Wednesday afternoon and the Yankees will be even more determined to beat Washington and maintain the top spot in the standings.

New York Yankees Player Preview: Masahiro Tanaka

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

The New York Yankees struck gold when Masahiro Tanaka decided to join the Yankees prior to the 2014 season. Tanaka is a great teammate and guy to have in a rotation. Tanaka does have a problem with homers, but always seems to rebound whenever it looks like he is losing it. Hopefully, he will improve this season and will be important to the Yankees in their chase for 28.

Tanaka’s numbers last season:

4.74 ERA, 13 W, 12 L, 194 K, 41 BB

Background:

Tanaka is from Hyogo, Japan and specifically the city Itami. Tanaka was a star since he was a child in Japan. He went on to play six seasons in the Nippon Professional Baseball for the Rakuten Golden Eagles.

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In his final season (2013), he lead the Golden Eagles to their first ever Japan series win. Following his tremendous season, Tanaka was posted by the Golden Eagles for 20 million dollars in the offseason. There was interest from many teams, but Tanaka ultimately decided to sign a seven year $155 million dollar contract with Yankees.

Yankees Hiro:

Tanaka had a fantastic rookie season for the bombers as he was selected to the All-Star Game in 2014 after going 12-4 in the first half in 18 starts. Tanaka did not get to pitch in the game because he had complained of arm discomfort after a start on July 8th. After tests were done, it was revealed that Tanaka had a small tear in his UCL. Instead of having Tommy John Surgery Tanaka decided to rest his arm for six weeks.

It was speculated that Tanaka would opt for the surgery, but he has avoided the surgery thus far and continues to pitch with the small tear.

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Tanaka became the Yankees ace during the 2015 season as he helped the Bombers back to the postseason for the first time since 2012. Tanaka pitched the wild card game for the Yankees, a game in which the Yankees lost 3-0.

Tanaka had a terrific season in 2016 and it was the first time in his career that he was not placed on the DL. He finished third in CY Young voting that year. The one problem that Tanaka has not been able to get rid of is the home run ball. In 2015 Tanaka allowed 25 homers, in 2016 he allowed 22 homers, and last season 35.

Tanaka started his third opening day last season but was overtaken by Luis Severino as the Yankees ace. Tanaka had a decent year, but was not dominant. The best word to describe his season was a roller coaster. The best game of the season for Tanaka was his 14 strikeout performance against the Rays on July 28.

In the playoffs, Tanaka did not start the Wild Card game for the Yankees as he did in 2015. Tanaka pitched in three games during the Yankees postseason run last year. He pitched game three against the Indians in the ALDS and shut them down as he allowed Greg Bird to hit that historic homerun off of Andrew Miller.

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Tanaka went on to pitch two games against the Astros in the ALCS and he was dominant in both starts. Tanaka clearly had confidence in the playoffs and showed how special a pitcher he can be.

Tanaka had the option of opting out of his contract with the Yankees this off-season, but he decided to opt-in to his deal. Tanaka will start the second game of the season in Toronto on March 30th.

If Tanaka can pitch like he did in the playoffs and keep his homers down, he can put together a fantastic year for the Yankees. Rest is the key for Tanaka as he does better with six days of rest instead of the usual five days

New York Yankees: The Ellsbury Effect

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

With the start of the Major League regular season a week away, the New York Yankees have a decision that needs to be made:

Who is making the roster to replace the oft injured Jacoby Ellsbury? Jacoby was at one time and six hours North of the Bronx a very productive Major League ballplayer. However, throughout his time in the pinstripes, Ellsbury has been less than a shell of his former self.

Ellsbury has played for the Yankees across four seasons, in that time he has only managed to have one season above “replacement level” production (2014), according to Baseball Reference’s OPS+. 2014 was Jacoby’s first season in the Bronx and his last truly productive season.

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Now, with Ellsbury set to begin the season on the shelf, this opens up a spot on the 25-man roster to “Break Camp” with the team heading North. Manager Aaron Boone told members of the media that Tyler Wade has made the ball club. Many believe that he will be the starting second baseman on Opening Day in Toronto on March 29th.


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The Yankees current roster consists of:

Catchers: Gary Sanchez & Austin Romine
First Baseman: Greg Bird
Second Basemen: Tyler Wade & Neil Walker
Third Baseman: Brandon Drury
Shortstop: Didi Gregorius & Ronald Torreyes
Left Fielder: Brett Gardner
Center Fielder: Aaron Hicks
Right Fielders: Aaron Judge & Giancarlo Stanton
Starting Pitcher: Luis Severino, Mashiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Sonny Gray & Jordan Montgomery
Relief Pitchers: David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Tommy Kahnle, Chad Green, Adam Warren & Chasen Shreve
Closer: Aroldis Chapman

Who Gets A Shot ?

That gives you 24 out of 25 players to start out the 2018 season for the New York Yankees. The injury to Ellsbury leaves an opening. Some who have thought that it could have been someone like Tyler Austin who was having a tremendous Spring, but he was reassigned back to Minor League camp on March 21st before the Yankees game against the Orioles. This however does leave the opening for the starter in the same game…. Luis Cessa.

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Cessa has been up and down for the Yankees since his acquisition by the Yankees in December of 2015. Cessa has pitched 106 innings for the Yankees to the tune of a 4.49 era. Luis will have an opportunity to show what he has earlier in the season as the Yankees will have five straight games to open up the start of the regular season.

The injury to Ellsbury could have been the golden ticket to the Bronx for a premium talent like Clint Frazier, however, they both went down at similar times and have stayed out recovering. Clint won’t be getting that opportunity.

This season will be a defining point for Clint Frazier, as with the number of outfielders already on the Major League roster and an impending free agent who hasn’t been shy about stating his fandom for the Pinstripes looming. Frazier once healed up from his concussion must set the world by storm, if he has any hopes of staying in Pinstripes.

Lasting Impression:

Jacoby, much like Clint Frazier, has seen the writing on the wall. And while his contract is rather cumbersome, it’s not impossible to think GM Brian Cashman can sell his talents to another team and move his monetary obligations elsewhere.

Ellsbury’s injury will be a foreshadowing of the potential future the Yankees will have. If the first few weeks of the season pass and Ellsbury has not returned vying that 25th spot on the roster, he may be replaced by a rising prospect.

Jacoby Ellsbury will have a major effect on the Yankees success this season; when healthy he could be a productive fourth outfielder, if unhealthy his spot will provide the launching pad for the top prospects in the top sixth farm system in all of baseball.

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