New York Yankees: COVID-19 Continues to Hinder One Yankee Prospect

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

As we continue into this COVID-19 world, it seems a little disingenuous to talk about the start to the New York Yankees season, when it’s not 100% clear if it will come before or after Memorial Day. But you gotta just look at what’s happening and say “The world is telling you, Cash, you got to make a decision about Clint Frazier.”

The Injuries That Helped Him Now Erased

If everything from MLB is to be believed at this point, there will be a couple of Spring Training games to get the players ready for the (ultimately) truncated 2020 season. We’re still a week away from April, with no real clear sight that the fluid restart to NBA, NHL, MLS, and MLB action is coming soon. So all it means is that Clint Frazier will, once again, start the baseball season in the minors.

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Stanton had a minor calf strain. Well, maybe not minor, but the least severe calf strain you could get. He was going to be ready by mid-April at the latest. Judge needs time for his lung and rib to heal. Well… he certainly has that in spades right now. With Gardner, Tauchman, Wade, and Andujar rounding out the depth in the outfield for the 26 man roster, the only question is just how slow it’ll take Judge to even begin working out again in the gym. Once we get that answer, Frazier won’t see the show again barring more injuries to Stanton and Judge. Gardner’s getting older, so he could see some time on the IL this season. But it’ll take 2 injuries to get Frazier some at-bats in the Bronx. And right now, that can’t be expected until June-August.

He’s Running Out of Options

He’s nearing the point where the New York Yankees will no longer be able to just call him up and send him back to the minors at will. He’ll need to be Designated for Assignment, then clear waivers. While his defense is still suspect, an AL team would jump at the chance to claim Frazier. Which makes moving him as the central piece in a trade all the more difficult for Brian Cashman. In the minor’s, he didn’t make the necessary improvements he needed in 2019 to show the big club his fielding blunders in 2019 were just a fluke. He also has some difficulty staying healthy. The time he missed due to concussion will give some teams pause as well when being offered a trade for Frazier.

I’ve said it before to my friends, and I’ll say it to you all today: If the Yankees had faith at all in Frazier’s defensive abilities, they’d have let Gardner walk in the offseason, and wouldn’t be training Andujar to be an outfielder. If 2020 isn’t going to feature Clint Frazier at all on the big club, Cashman needs to get the best offer he can for him, before they lose him to waivers.

The Blessing and Curse For the Yankees and COVID-19

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

Fans and members of the New York Yankees can talk all about one thing these days. COVID-19, aka the coronavirus. There are some good things to happen to the Yankees, and some bad things to happen to the Yankees, as more information comes out about the disease itself, as well as the future of the 2020 regular season.

Let’s start with the Bad

Denny Larrondo was the first major league baseball player to test positive for the novel coronavirus. As I’ve pointed out, the virus spreads faster than any of the other past diseases we’ve had to deal with in the past 20 years, making it possible that one regular-season home game for the Yankees could result in 30,000 people getting infected. But, as our own Alexander Wilson reported, a second minor leaguer tested positive with the coronavirus.

Furthermore, the baseball season won’t begin until (hopefully) sometime in May. If the season were to begin in May, and the full 162 game season be played, realistically the offseason would consist of one month before Spring Training resumes in February 2021.

What makes things even worse for all of baseball amid the uncertainty of players receiving compensation during the coronavirus lockout, is that the current baseball CBA doesn’t expire until December 2021. We’re applauding basketball teams, and players like Zion Williamson, who are paying the hourly employees at these stadiums their wages during this social distancing period. But things are much more uncertain in baseball, with the Mets setting the bar early. If baseball screws the pooch on the Astros cheating scandal, AND properly compensating their players during this confusing time for everyone, we may see another strike in 2022.

But There is Still Some Good… Even if Minimal

The impact of Luis Severino’s absence in our starting rotation will be greatly reduced. I stand firm that MLB has no other choice but to shorten the season as they did in 1995. With a shortened season, that’s less time to scramble and find an adequate replacement for Severino, who won’t be back in action until sometime in 2021.

Which will also mean more reinforcements arrive sooner, rather than later. Giancarlo Stanton wasn’t expected to make Opening Day due to his calf strain. Now, he’ll be fully recovered and ready to hit the ground running. James Paxton may have an opportunity to play a couple of the make up Spring Training games baseball is expected to put on, as a tune-up for all of the players to be ready for the 2020 season once we have a better handle on the current coronavirus situation. Gary Sanchez suffered ANOTHER injury setback, on top of a coronavirus scare of his own. This extra time away will give him the opportunity to recuperate, recover, and give us the closest thing to a full season of Gary Sanchez.

Then there’s Aaron Judge. His worst-case scenario was always going to be his rib being surgically removed. Now, he’s got an extra month to do everything under his power to rest and repair that fractured rib (Mayor DeBlasio is talking following San Fransisco’s approach to containing the spread of coronavirus. If that means he doesn’t go to the gym to keep aggravating that rib, GOOD!).

And the best possible news is that while it’s unfortunate that Yankee minor leaguers are testing positive for the coronavirus, the 40 man roster seems spared of contracting the disease. I wish the speediest and most complete recovery to the minor league Yankees who have contracted the disease, but with all the injury problems the 40 man has sustained on the Yankees since 2019, the 40 man roster needed this win.

All of us at EmpireSportsMedia.com will continue to give you updates as coronavirus effects our daily lives, and our sports teams. Stay safe, and stay healthy everyone.

Why Yankees Universe Shouldn’t be Concerned Over Stanton

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Santon

The New York Yankees are vexed. They came into spring full of optimism that the injury bug of 2019 was dead. Well, not so much. While the injuries is much smaller in 2020 compared to 2019, seeing Stanton, Judge, Paxton, Hicks, and Severino sidelined by injury is no less frustrating.

Many are complaining about Stanton’s fragility. But if ANYONE bothered to do some basic due diligence, this is par for the course in Stanton’s career.

Two Hurt Seasons, Two Healthy Seasons

Since Stanton came up in 2010, Stanton has had a hard time staying healthy. That is true. But it’s NEVER as bad as people think it is.

He came up in June of 2010, and played about as full a season as a rookie called up in June can play. The next season, he plays 150 games. Which, considering days off players get, is normal. 56 home runs over those two seasons is also numbers any team would take.

With 2012, we saw his first injury-shortened season. Knee soreness around the All-Star break resulted in surgery, forcing him to miss his first All-Star game.  2013 saw a hamstring injury that sidelined him for 6.5 weeks.

2014 saw another All-Star season for Stanton, including leading the NL in home runs, slugging, and total bases. And if it weren’t for taking a Mike Fires fastball to the face, he would have played over 150 games. Which, if Yankee fans arguing Judge isn’t injury prone because his wrist broke on a pitch, it means that Stanton wasn’t injury prone up to this point.

2015 was another injury-shortened season due to taking a pitch off the body awkwardly. Taking a pitch in a 9th inning at-bat, he broke his hamate bone (located in the wrist). 2016 saw Stanton winning the home run derby in San Diego that year, but a grade 2 hamstring strain.

Then, 2017 and 2018, Stanton didn’t play in all of 7 games. That’s right, in 2 full seasons, Stanton was rested for 7 games. 2017 saw his MVP season, and 2018 was his first year in pinstripes. And we all know what happened last year.

Now, knowing what is currently happening, and looking THAT in-depth at Stanton’s career, Stanton still has the ability to play more games this season than James Paxton (who has yet to pitch a full season without injury), Aaron Judge (whose injury is still a mystery to everyone), Aaron Hicks (who may miss the whole season depending on how long it takes him to recover from Tommy John), we shouldn’t be this concerned that he might miss the first week or two of the season. This is totally normal for him