New York Yankees First Baseman And The Curse Of The Giambino

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

I remember when first base was manned by Donnie Baseball, the New York Yankees followed him up with Tino Martinez and Jason Giambi. After Giambi started breaking down we were treated to Tony Clark, Andy Phillips, Wilson Betemit, John Olerud and John Olerud’s batting helmet along with one misguided reunion with a 37-year-old Martinez.

In 2009, Mark Teixeira signed and had 1 good year, two mediocre years and one “meh” year, unfortunately for the Yankees he played a total of nine. Since then we’ve had the Greg Bird injury experience, Garret Jones, Rob Refsnyder, Tyler Austin and Luke Voit.

An offseason of doubt and uncertainty:

Yet, this offseason there has been no mention of the black hole at first base. Some may be comfortable with the Luke Voit and Greg Bird tandem, but I’m skeptical about Bird ever being healthy and good at the same time, and I don’t think Voit’s Roy Hobbs impression can be sustained.

Will Andujar continue his success at the plate?

Miguel Andujar’s defense has been the cause of a lot of hand wringing this off-season, and has caused a lot of people to overlook the fact he hit .297 with 27 home runs and 92 RBIs at 23-years-old. Another thing that’s overlooked is his 47 doubles, and what that number predicts.

Scouts used to believe that as a player grew into his body and learned to hit at the major league level doubles were a sign of developing power. Sabremetrics has validated this fact, and typically young players will see a decrease in doubles (typically balls hit into outfield gaps) as they learn to pull and drive more pitches out of the ball park.

There is no reason not to expect to see Andujar follow this same path and have his doubles drop down into the low 30’s, and to see his home run totals shoot up into that same area.

If you put two and two together there is an obvious conclusion here:

I think Andujar ends up a .270-.280 hitter with an OBP around .330 who averages out at 30 HRs and right around 100 runs batted in each season. That’s a valuable player, particularly when he’s 5-years from being anywhere near free agency and you have Aaron Judge, Luis Severino and Gary Sanchez all to come.

Trading him for equal value seems unlikely when you take in the full picture, so what do you do with him? Maybe his defense improves and you leave him at third, but improvement would take him from terrible to just bad and I don’t think below adequate is the Yankees’ goal for him.

A move across the diamond accomplishes several things:

First it give Andujar a home, ends the trade speculation and allows him to settle in and just hit. Second it opens up the Yankee infield to multiple options with LeMahieu, Torres, Gregorius, Tulowitzki and whoever else they bring in.

Finally it lets Yankee fans spend next offseason reliving the Machado let down with Nolan Arenado as the free agent who totally wants to be in NYC until he doesent.

Everyone’s a winner in this scenario so let’s do it Yankees, lets break the cycle of first base futility with a young home-grown star. Just to be safe though, it wouldn’t be the worst thing to perform an exorcism at first base just in case.

New York Yankees Taking Interesting Approach Toward 2019 Season

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

While teams like the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox battle it out for the signature of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, the New York Yankees have sat idly by and taken the market-fluctuations one day at a time.

General manager Brian Cashman has looked toward proven veterans this offseason to develop his team and improve the overall defense of the infield. For a veteran minimum deal and $12 million per-season he has acquired five total Gold-Gloves and added them to a young, struggling infield.

Players like Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres have had issues at their respective positions – the addition of Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu should contribute to a better unit with fewer errors (as reserve options). Combined, Torres and Andujar recorded 30 total errors to contribute towards one of the worst defensive infields in the league.

Have the Yankees improved this offseason?

The big question is – are the Yankees a better team after the moves they’ve made this offseason? The starting pitching rotation will likely be the same with the addition of the oft-injured James Paxton in 2019. While the team didn’t have J.A. Happ for the entire season last year, he will play a more prominent role, likely being considered the team’s best option moving forward.

They will expect Luis Severino to make the jump to ace in the season ahead. He was stellar before the All-Star break in 2018, earning a 2.31 ERA before losing his control and struggling down the stretch. If he can correct his mishaps and eradicate the “tipped pitches,” Severino could develop into a true No.1 option. The Yankees need him to take that step forward if they wish to make a serious run at the World Series.

With the starting pitching rotation being a question mark, it’s safe to say that Cashman is betting on his luck. In regard to batting, he will stick with Luke Voit and Greg Bird at first-base, two inconsistent players that have flashed potential. Voit will be the clear-cut starter to being the season after posting a .333 batting average last season.

A cost-efficient offseason:

The Yankees have taken a more monetarily quiet route this offseason, staying away from big name free agents and silently stealing some valuable veterans in free agency. LeMahieu is only two years removed from winning the National League batting title with a .348 BA. He will be a great resource if the infield defense continues to struggle. Additionally, he’s a fantastic base-hit batter – he’s not a slugger that will hit 30 homers every-year, but his ability to get on base will help players like Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge ‘earn more RBIs.

New York Yankees To Use DJ LeMahieu As Glorified Utility Man In 2019

The New York Yankees certainly surprised the MLB with the signing of 2016 National League batting title winner DJ LeMahieu, especially in the midst of Manny Machado talks. The value they will receive from LeMahieu might be even more than Machado when you factor in his price-tag and length of contract.

The Yanks and DJ came together to sign a two-year, $24 million deal, with the expectations that the former Rockie would act as a glorified utility-man in 2019. LeMahieu is a three-time Golden Glove winner which will undoubtedly help an infield that ranked towards the bottom of the league in runs allowed and defensive efficiency.

New York currently has their infield starting lineup set – 1st base: Luke Voit/Greg Bird – second base: Gleyber Torres – shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki – thirdbase : Miguel Andujar. With the starting unit set, LeMahieu will offer immense value as a rotational piece and a player to fill in due to injury or lackluster play. Second and third-base feature sophomore players coming off questionable defensive seasons. This fact alone makes DJ an essential addition that can contribute to both spots.

Andujar struggled in 2018 with 15 errors. If his defense hasn’t improved the Yankees might look to LeMahieu to fill in while Andujar features as a designated hitter.

Another option for the Yankees with LeMahieu:

The 30-year-old infielder might act as a “healer” for the Bombers – moving from position to position in the infield allowing the every-day starters to rest and stay healthy throughout the year. This would allow for a delay in fatigue and prepare the team for a potential playoff push.

The new acquisition has a great bat:

DJ is a solid hitter, slashing .276/.321/.428 with 15 homers, 62 RBI, and 90 runs scored for the Rockies last season. He doesn’t exactly fit the model of “home-run hitter” for the Yanks but he offers plenty of quality in regard to getting on base and slapping the ball to the opposite side of the field.

New York Yankees Could Still Swoop In And Sign Quality Relief Pitcher

The New York Yankees recently lost relief pitcher David Robertson to the Philadelphia Phillies, forcing them to retain Zach Britton and look for a replacement in free agency.

Thus far, general manager Brian Cashman has sat idly by while the market dwindles – only Adam Ottavino and Craig Kimbrel remain as top-options. Ottavino is undoubtedly the cheaper option and could be a great option for the Yankees if they wish to bolster the rotation.

The New York Yankees would be smart to keep as many players as possible:

In 2018, the Yankees’ relief rotation was one of the best in baseball, ranking fourth in the league in ERA and third in batting average against.

The unit consisted of Dellin Batances, Robertson, Aroldis Chapman, and Britton. They were stellar until the ALDS where Boston out-schemed the entire team.

What would Adam Ottavino bring to the Yankees?

The Bombers would be adding a breaking-ball specialist to their rotation – he allowed a BA of .158 against his sinker and .149 against his slider (2018 stats), according to FanGraphs. Despite Ottavino being rather inconsistent throughout his career, he earned an ERA of 2.43 last season. Can the Yankees count on him to be consistent in Pinstripes? Personally, I believe they can.

If Cashman elects to sign Ottavino, he would effectively be thinning the reliever market and forcing other teams to spend more money on lesser talents. Robertson still needs to be replaced and the former Rockie might even be an upgrade at the position.

New York Yankees Proving To Be Super Cheap In 2019

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

With history telling us the New York Yankees have been one of the more high-spending teams in Major League Baseball, we expected a bit more of the same in 2019. General manager Brian Cashman took a more savvy approach to the offseason this year, passing on players like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper to sign cheaper veteran options.

Cashman brought on Troy Tulowtizki on a veteran minimum deal and DJ LeMahieu on a two-year, $24 million deal. While the latter appropriated some cash to the free agent pool, the investment wasn’t mind-blowing. Machado was in the market for a 10-year, $300 million contract, a deal the Yankees clearly weren’t interested in.

Have the New York Yankees been cheap this offseason?

Besides making Machado a legitimate offer, they elected to hang back and snag some veterans to improve the defense in the infield. Additionally, they took starting pitcher Luis Severino to arbitration over 850k. Severino was asking for $5.5 million while his expected rate was $5.1 million. The Yanks offered just $4.4 million which sent both parties to arbitration.

The 24-year-old earned a 3.39 ERA with a 2.95 FIP over 191.1 innings in 2018. The first half of the campaign was CY Young award-worthy, while the second saw him tumbling towards the bottom half of the league in overall pitching-quality.

Personally, I think the Yankees should have met in the middle of his asking price to instill confidence in the young pitcher, but they decided to make a problem out of less than $1 million.

What have the Yankees done so far?

By signing Tulo and LeMahieu, the Bombers have added five Gold-Glove awards to the infield without breaking the bank. My biggest argument is that the organization isn’t giving the players their piece of the pie, electing to take a more cost-efficient route, making the Steinbrenner family more rich and putting the Yanks in a more difficult position heading into what most thought to be a World Series contending year.

 

 

New York Yankees: There’s Something About Manny – Union Over Before It Started

New York Yankees, Manny Machado

First things first, everyone needs to breathe. Now take a second breath, feeling better yet? Maybe some herbal tea is in order something to relax the nerves as it becomes apparent the New York Yankees will NOT be signing Manny Machado. That’s right folks, Manny may want to be in the Bronx, but apparently the Yankees were not interested at the price tag he required.

Unless the earth tilts off its axis, or maybe the Yankees sign Manny’s third cousin to be the bullpen catcher, Manny will choose dollars over pinstripes.

The New York Yankees need some help…or luck:

I guess if you squint hard enough you could see a scenario where LeMahieu becomes a Ben Zobrist type super-sub, the Yankees end the Tulo experiment before it begins (which might be the case anyway) and they still bring in Manny, but…I doubt it. Like that high school crush you never quite got over, Yankee fans are already missing a player they never had in the first place, maybe in a few years they can have Matt Dillon look him up and see how he’s doing.

In this post apocalyptic wasteland left in Mr.Machados wake the Yankees can possibly trot out a three-time gold glove winning batting champion, two rookie of the year candidates and either Greg Bird or Kevin Maas, I mean Luke Voit at first base.

First base seems to be the Yankee equivalent of drumming for spinal tap, didn’t Dustin Ackley actually spontaneously combust in 2016 in a game? But that’s a discussion for another time.

My point is it’s not like the team is closing its eyes and sprinkling pixie dust over Tyler Wade hoping he’ll become a real boy this season. Plan B is actually something that could result in better campaign than last year. When Didi comes back LeMahieu can shift to third, Andujar to first, and barring Andujar falling into the Springfield Mystery Spot the Yankee infield will be set for the next few years.

Will the Yankees sign more free agents?

What does this mean for the “fully operational death star” for the rest of the offseason? I think they may sign another starter and Adam Ottavino as spring training nears, but that’s not going to move the needle for fans crushed by missing out on Machado.

There is still one big fish floating around though, that the Yankees could sneak in Teixiera style and grab at the last-minute. Bryce Harper in left, with Brett Gardner going into a 4th outfielder/soccer mom type role would still very much be a viable option. The left-handed bat would be a better fit than Manny in the lineup, and while his valleys may be lower his peaks are way higher than Machados.

I’m not sure how you can have too many outfielders when Gardner is old, Frazier missed an entire season from concussions, and Jacoby Ellsbury is….Jacoby Ellsbury.

The Yankees actually played regular season games last year with Shane Robinson (24), Neil Walker (16) ,and Tyler Wade (7). That’s 47 games that Gardner or Frazier could start this year, without factoring off days for regulars. There’s plenty of room in the Yankee outfield for one more player. Hey Mr.Cashman, I have two propositions for you, one is Bryce Harper in left field on opening day, the other is six-minute abs. If you’re not interested in either than please…step into my office.

The New York Yankees Need Aaron Boone To Limit His Mistakes in 2019

The Alex Cora and Aaron Boone competition has only contributed to the New York Yankees Vs Boston Red Sox rivalry. Both managers had stellar campaigns with their respective teams last season, with Boone winning 100 games and Cora earning a World Series title.

The New York Yankees need their manager to improve:

While the Yankees have worked tirelessly on improving the defense of the infield, their manager will need to contribute to the betterment of the team as well – by means of turning his previous mistakes in 2018 into successful actions.

In the ALDS against the Red Sox, Boone allowed a struggling Luis Severino work through a tough three innings and start the fourth. He allowed six runs on seven hits and two talks. His outing was disgraceful in a playoff game, but that’s besides the point.

Boone should have been aware that his accuracy and location weren’t consistent though the first two innings. While it’s unreasonable to expect the Yankees to have relievers warming up in the second-inning, there should have been a plan in case Severino struggled out of the gate.

To make matters worse, Severino loaded the bases immediately in the fourth-inning and Boone elected to bring in converted starter Lance Lynn and leave strike-out specialist Chad Green on the bench. Green strikes out 33.3% of the batters he faces with Lynn striking out only 22%.

Preparation and efficiency:

This decision was simply bad and was only one example of the speculative season Boone had. He needs to be more efficient and prepared when it comes to facing adversity. Now, of course it was his first season as a head coach in the MLB and all of these mistakes were lessons-learned, he must eradicate these mishaps in 2019 completely – especially if he wants to contend for a World Series title.

 

New York Yankees Address Their Weakest Unit With Perfect Execution

At the beginning of the 2019 offseason, New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman made it known that he would approach the winter hot-stove months with caution. He wanted to stay away from pricey players and take a more cost-efficient, savvy route.

How did Yankees’ Cashman follow up those statements?

The Yankees’ pursuit of Manny Machado seemed like a market play, driving up his price-tag and quietly making back-end deals to secure quality veterans that could help a young team build upon the success they enjoyed in 2018. Players like Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu fit the bill perfectly.

Both are stellar defensive players on the back-end of their careers. The value left is what the Yankees were trying to extract, as they signed Tulo to a one-year veteran minimum offer-sheet and LeMahieu to a two-year, $24 million deal.

The Blue Jays will be paying Tulo his $20 million while the Yankees reap the benefits. An extremely savvy move by Cashman, who has seemingly used the media to his advantage in the talks.

The Yankees improve their weakest unit:

The Bombers had one of the more questionable infield units in the league last season. Looking into the rankings for each position — Greg Bird and Neil Walker, who both spent time at first-base, ranked 21st in the MLB. Gleyber Torres at second-base ranked 23rd, and third-base ranked dead last with Miguel Andujar surrendering 15 errors. Upgrades were needed and Cashman addressed the deficiencies accordingly.

He added Tulo who has two Gold-Gloves and LeMahieu who has three. Two affordable signings added five total Gold Gloves to the infield with solid hitting abilities. DJ is only two seasons removed from winning the National League hitting title with a batting average of .348.

Another stroke of genius from the Yankees’ prized general manager.

How do you think Cashman has performed this offseason so far? Comment below!

 

 

Why The New York Yankees Bowing Out Of Manny Machado Race Was The Right Thing

When a player enters the free agency market the ultimate goal is to sign a deal worth as much as humanly possible – the New York Yankees are often suitors. Reports of a 10-year, $300 million deal for Manny Machado have been one-sided, as in Machado is putting his asking price out there and teams are nibbling but not biting.

The Yankees haven’t officially made an offer to the generational talent, and I wouldn’t expect them to if he’s seeking that type of money. The Bombers brought on Giancarlo Stanton and his massive contract from the Miami Marlins – 13-years, $325 million.

Is it the New York Yankees, Manny Machado, or the MLB that’s dictating the market?

The MLB is an interesting organization, simply because they’re all about making money and not spending it on the players, lowering their market value and in terms not giving them their piece of the pie. Alex Rodriguez stated recently that Major League Baseball is a greedy industry that doesn’t give the players what they deserve. The Yankees have been one of the only teams to spend the money necessary to win and place a value on talent.

But, trading for Stanton has limited their monetary investment in players this offseason. Realistically, they could grab Machado and walk into the sunset, but they’ll be locked into a 8-10-year contract that will likely bite them in the butt down the road. In the short term, they could very likely win a World Series or two with his abilities featuring in the infield and batting order.

Can the Yankees win without the prized free agent?

An argument could be made that the Yankees could win a World Series without him. They already have players like Aaron Judge, Stanton, Gary Sanchez…not to mention their youth stars like Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres. They have the skill to be a playoff team, but they must click on all cylinders. No Greg Bird hitting for .199 as the starting first-baseman, and no Sanchez hitting .186 and allowing 18 passed balls behind the plate.

Injury concerns need to be alleviated and put in the past. This alone is reason for optimism, simply because Bird will be one-year removed from a bothersome foot injury and Sanchez shoulder surgery and two irritating groin injuries.

The Yankees don’t ‘need’ Machado, and if they did, he would likely already be off the market.

 

New York Yankees Sign One Of The Best Defenders In MLB DJ Lemahieu

The New York Yankees have signed one of the MLB’s top defensive players in DJ LeMahieu. The deal is worth two-years, $24 million.

What does DJ LeMaheiu have to offer the New York Yankees?

After seven solid seasons with the Colorado Rockies,  LeMaheiu will join the Bombers in New York as a solid rotational piece moving forward. He has two All-Star selections, three Gold Gloves awards and the 2016 National League batting title.

At 30-years-old, the defensive maestro will offer extreme value to the Yankees. He can move around the infield despite being a natural second base-man. With the young Gleyber Torres featuring at second, it’s a good insurance policy to have LeMaheiu as an option.

Additionally, he can play third-base and fill in for Andujar if they choose to DH him and utilize his bat over his glove.

When the former Rockie won the batting title in 2016, he hit .348 and has a career average of .298. His career high home-run total is 15, but is known to be a slap-hitter to the opposite side of the field which could be extremely beneficial for the Yankees moving forward.

This move almost guarantees that the Yankees are out of the race for Manny Machado.