Yankees: Good news and bad news in victory over Baltimore

New York Yankees, Jordan Montgomery

There’s just something about New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres and the Baltimore Orioles, he simply seems to be their kryptonite.

On Tuesday, the Yankees face off against Baltimore in their third spring training game of the off-season, and Torres produced two hits on two at-bats, scoring a run in the third inning. Torres has started spring training strong, with a .750 BA, despite a small sample size.

The 4–2 win was filled with positives for the Bombers, with the only negative coming from Jordan Montgomery in the first inning.

Good and bad news for the New York Yankees:

The Yankees posted a three-run third inning, which put Baltimore out of reach for the remainder of the contest. Sluggers Luke Voit and Mike Ford both earned an RBI and left fielder Clint Frazier also recorded an RBI, singling to left and driving in DJ LeMahieu in the 1st. It’s nice to see Fraizer get on the board early, especially with skipper Aaron Boone instilling his confidence in the Yankees’ new starter at the position.

Clint has taken over for veteran Brett Gardner, who is still confident he can earn consistent reps in the OF. Gardner offers plenty of value as a depth piece, especially if injuries and inconsistencies arise.

To add to the positives, the bullpen was phenomenal, as Luis Garcia logged two strikeouts and one walk over his sole inning of work. The trio of Brooks Krisme, Glenn Otto, and Trevor Lane didn’t allow a run, as Lane struck out three batters to close out the seventh inning.

The only con on the day was Jordan Montgomery, who allowed two hits, two walks, and one earned run in his first appearance of spring training. This is nothing to write home about, considering they have plenty of time to work out the kinks. Even Gerrit Cole struggled in his first action on Monday, so we can move forward expecting Monty to be just fine.

The Yankees are preparing to take on the Blue Jays on Wednesday at 6:35 PM, and new acquisition Corey Kluber will get the ball for the first time in pinstripes. This should be an exciting one to watch.

Yankees News: Outfielder waived and re-assigned, Gary Sanchez returns ‘revived’

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees enjoyed a victory over the Detroit Tigers on Monday afternoon, by a score of 5-4. Thanks to a home run by Chris Gittens in the fifth inning, the Yankees enjoyed their first win of spring training. While the pitching was a bit inconsistent, new starter Jameson Taillon was impressive in his lone inning of work.

However, the Yankees have already begun making moves as they waved outfielder Greg Allen and reassigned him to the Triple-A roster. He will remain in major league camp but as a minor-league invite. He has spent the last few seasons with the Cleveland Indians, posting a collective .239 average with eight total homers and 57 RBIs. An elevated 31.3% strikeout rate was a bit tumultuous in 2020, but he only played 16 games indicating a small sample size.

Allen has featured in more than 25 games just twice in his career, and during those seasons, he had a high of .257 and four homers. He’s not a slugger by any means but offers a bit of speed and decent contact hitting. He’s more of a defensive player who can provide consistency in that category rather than an offensive threat. The Yankees prefer to have elite offense over defense, which is why Allen will likely spend his days in the minor-leagues or as a depth piece on an alternative squad.

As per the Yankees:

OF Greg Allen has been outrighted off the Major League roster and onto the Triple-A roster. Allen remains in Major League camp.

The Yankees are optimistic that Gary Sanchez can finally return to form in 2021. He launched a mammoth home run against Detroit on Monday, clearing the centerfield wall and traveling 429 feet.

Sanchez has always lead the way with his bat, never recording single-digit homers in his career. After posting a 36% strikeout rate last season, decreasing that number and getting his contact rate up would help his offense return to normal. The coaching staff believes he is in perfect shape and should be far more productive this season, but only time will tell.

“I’ve seen a completely new and revived version of him,” Yankees catching coach Tanner Swanson told NJ Advanced Media.

Yankees: Good news and bad news after first win of spring training

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees faced off against the Detroit Tigers on Monday afternoon, securing a 5-4 victory in their first win of the 2021 spring training. The Yankees have a busy schedule ahead, as they take on the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday afternoon. However, this victory featured plenty of faces, including two starting pitchers for the Yankees who will have a significant impact on the season ahead.

Coming off a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, they rebounded nicely, with some depth pieces showing up offensively to give the Yankees a late lead.

Good news for the Yankees:

The good news for the Yankees comes in multiple ways. Gerrit Cole survived his first outing of the off-season, despite giving up a run and three hits in his lone inning. To see him walk away with some preparation under his belt and no injuries suffered is a positive sign, especially since he was batted around during spring training last year as well. Cole turns up the notch once the regular season starts, so I wouldn’t feel any discomfort from this small sample size.

One of the more exciting outings of the day was Jamison Taillon, who recorded one strikeout and enjoyed a 1,2,3 inning in the 2nd. Nestor Cortes Jr. was also solid in relief, recording two strikeouts in the sixth inning.

However, it was catcher Gary Sanchez who stole the show in the third, launching a 429 foot home run to dead center. Sanchez has obviously been mentioned quite frequently this off-season, especially coming off a disappointing 2020 campaign. Last year, he hit .147 with 10 homers and 24 RBIs. He recorded a career-high 36% strikeout rate and logged a negative WAR for the first time as a Yankee. This HR will hopefully start a new trend, one more positive and productive than in recent years.

We can’t forget about Chris Gittens either, who hit a Grand Slam in the bottom of the fifth to give the Bombers a 5-3 lead.

The Bad News:

The bad news for the New York Yankees is minimal, with most of it coming in the pitching department. Jhoulys Chacin allowed two earned runs and two walks over just one inning, watching his ERA spike to 18.00. His disappointing performance was accompanied by Cole, and Albert Abreu, who both allowed an ER in their lone inning of work. Offensively, Tyler Wade failed to get on base, but the batting order was composed mostly of reserve options.

With an extremely condensed schedule, the Yankees will have plenty of reps to iron out their depth pieces and starting roster.

Yankees News: Mike Tauchman a trade candidate, but should they pull the trigger?

Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees brought on several outfielders to compete during spring training this year, and it could create a more difficult situation for Mike Tauchman to make the active roster. From signing Jay Bruce to Derek Dietrich, the position bottle for a depth spot in the OF will be ongoing during spring training.

Currently, the Yankees have Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier, and Aaron Hicks as their expected starters for the 2021 season. The depth pieces include Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner, and a bevy of alternatives. Tauchman could be considered a trade piece given his value over the last two seasons, as he hit .277 in 2019 with 13 homers and 47 RBIs. An outrageous boost in slugging, Mike had never hit a major league homer until 2019, which could be coughed up to juiced baseballs.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal believes that Mike Tauchman could be cut due to depth in the outfield:

Brett Gardner, 37, would appear a lock to make the club after agreeing to a one-year, $4 million free-agent contract. Jay Bruce, who turns 34 on April 3, is in camp on a non-roster deal, but he offers one thing Gardner and Tauchman do not: the ability to play first base … Tauchman is out of options, so the Yankees cannot send him to the minor leagues without first passing him through waivers. A trade might be possible, particularly to a lesser team that could give him regular playing time. But the Yankees would need to be sure about Gardner and Bruce, both of whom are signed for only one year, to give up Tauchman’s four remaining years of control, including a salary in the range of the $570,500 minimum this season.

With the Yankees’ style of play, Jay Bruce may offer them a more productive alternative. He has hit double-digit home runs for the majority of his career, landing 26 two years ago. While he only played about half of the 2020 season, he recorded six homers.
Defense isn’t the hallmark of his game — he can contribute offensively and offer a lefty bat in the lineup. At 33 years old, Bruce is no spring chicken, but he might be a more beneficial add than Tauchman based on scheme fit.

Yankees’ Aaron Judge speaks out on long-term contract extension

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

Sooner rather than later, the New York Yankees are going to have to deal with Aaron Judge and his mega-deal. Judge, who signed a one-year, $10.175 million contract for the 2021 season, is arbitration-eligible in 2022 and a free agent in 2023.

It might be in the best interest of the Yankees to wait this upcoming season to see if he can remain healthy. Judge played in just 28 games last year out of 60, hitting nine homers and 22 RBIs.

Ultimately, Judge has struggled with injuries over the past three seasons, failing to play a healthy season’s worth of games. The most he’s played is 112 out of 162 in 2018, but that number has quickly decreased.

The hope is that new strength and conditioning director Erika Cressey is able to flip the script, utilizing more stamina-building workouts than muscle building and heavy lifting. That is what Matt Kraus was utilizing for the Yankee sluggers, who struggled to remain on the field for that reason.

Judge was asked about his future with the team and whether his representatives have spoken about a long-term extension. Judge didn’t seem to be phased, indicating that they had bigger fish to fry this off-season.

“Great question,” Judge said on Tuesday during a video conference call. “No we haven’t. Nothing on our end. Nothing from the Yankees.

“I think they had more important things to focus on this offseason, especially getting back DJ (LeMahieu), getting back (Brett Gardner), adding some special arms. Our time is coming down the road. It’s something I don’t really want to focus on right now. I’m focused on trying to win and that’s it. Just do my job and like I said, they’ve got other things to focus on right now, things that are going to help us be a better team.”

Considering Aaron has a portion of Yankee Stadium carved out for him, remain the face of the franchise is probably ideal. He is a moneymaker, but they must make sure he’s actually influential on the field before they offer him a monster extension. Judge understands the business aspect of things and knows that he has to put together a solid campaign before asking the big question.

Yankees News: Corey Kluber provides fantastic injury update

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman took significant risks this off-season trying to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold. With the Yankees trying to be financially responsible after the COVID-19 pandemic cut the season short, Cashman went after players coming off injuries.

Starting pitcher Corey Kluber was one of the players he targeted. Considering Eric Cressey was rehabilitating him following injuries in 2020, the Yankees had an inside scoop on how far along he was in the process.

Kluber signed a one-year deal worth $11 million this offseason, and the Yankees now have a two-time Cy Young award-winning pitcher on the roster. However, he’s only pitched 36.2 innings of the last two years, meaning he has barely featured on the mound since 2018.

Nonetheless, Kluber says he’s feeling great and should be ready for the start of the regular season in a few months.

“I feel really good right now. No issues with [my shoulder] now or anywhere along the rehab process. That’s encouraging,” he said. “I feel like I’m in a normal spot for spring training. I don’t feel like I’m still working on improving the shoulder or anything like that. I think it’s in a spot where, obviously, any part of your body, it takes maintenance throughout the year, but I’m not putting any more emphasis on that than anything else on this point.”

“Everything in the last few months has checked a lot of boxes as far as the things, first from Eric’s eyes, and then we got scouts’ eyes on him, now we’re getting our coaching staff and strength and conditioning and training staff on him. It’s February, but I would say we’re encouraged certainly and yesterday was another step in that regard.”

Manager Aaron Boone was optimistic that the starting rotation will come together nicely, but he expects Kluber and new acquisition Jameson Taillon to ease their way into shape this spring training.

As far as Kluber, he was extremely bullish on Kluber’s recovery:

“We have a lot of first-hand knowledge about where he was in his recovery and his training, kind of the measurables coming back from different injuries,” Boone said.

If Corey can return to form, he will likely slide into the second starting pitcher spot right behind Gerrit Cole. If all goes well, the Yankees could have one of the more intimidating rotations in baseball, but that would require a lot of things to go right, and historically over the past few seasons, the opposite has occurred.

Yankees: Gary Sanchez news you may or may not want to hear

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

The Gary Sanchez we witnessed in 2020 is one the New York Yankees would like to leave behind. Ever since leaving his mark on the 2017 season with a .278 average and 33 homers, the Yankees have been chasing Sanchez’s ghost. While their faith remains constant, he consistently disappoints with below-average defense and increasingly liable offense.

To finish the 2020 campaign, Sanchez earned a .147 average with 10 homers and 24 RBIs. If there’s any saving grace over the last few seasons, it’s that he’s hit double-digit home runs each year. The Yankees love his slugging ability, but his strikeout rate continues to balloon, as he landed at 36% last year.

Manager Aaron Boone spoke with the media during his opening press conference on Wednesday afternoon, and he expressed his confidence in Sanchez, who seems to be in a better place at this point in time.

“We had some really good conversations and put some really good things in place that will hopefully allow him to grow,’’ Boone said. “We demonstrated with our actions we believe in him. He can be a game-changer at the plate when he’s right. Hopefully, this is the year he puts it all together. We have a lot of confidence in that, but we’ve got to get it out of him, too.”

Surprisingly, the Yankees actually offered Sanchez a raise in 2021, seeing his contract to $6.35 million over one year. This seems to be their final throw of the dart, and if Sanchez can’t elevate his game, they will have to make a difficult decision to move on in 2022. At 28 years old, there is reason to believe he can pick up where he left off in 2017, as consistent injuries and a lack of confidence have influenced him significantly.

To finish last year, Kyle Higashioka actually played more postseason games and even became Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher. Boone was reluctant to name the starting catcher for the 2021 season, but it seems as if Sanchez will have a fresh shot at claiming the rights. However, it is fair to believe he is on a short leash, and there will be a good position battle moving forward.

“I don’t have a plan of pairing [Cole and Higashioka],’’ Boone said during his Zoom call with reporters from Tampa. “We’ll come in with the idea of Gary or Kyle will both work with all pitchers this spring in bullpens and into spring games.”

Yankees News: Surprise rookie projected to make the active roster come Opening Day

New York Yankees, Nick Nelson

The New York Yankees took multiple risks this off-season regarding starting pitching, acquiring Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon. With both pitchers coming off serious injuries, we should be cautiously optimistic when formulating our expectations for the 2021 season.

Both starters are above average when 100% healthy, there’s no guarantee they will return to full form and dominate at the level we know they can. With that being the case, the Yankees have several youth options that can fill roles in a worst-case scenario.

Last season, they were forced to elevate 21-year-old Deivi Garcia to the active roster, injecting him into the starting rotation despite minimal experience in the minor-league system.

Garcia finished the 2020 season with a 4.98 ERA and 1.194 WHIP. He secured three wins and two losses over 34.1 innings pitched, logging 33 strikeouts and 19 earned runs allowed. While he was batted around a bit at times, García showed he can compete at the highest level, and at such a young age, his ceiling is sky-high. However, there is one other youth arm that could get the call before García in 2021 under normal circumstances.

The Athletic’s Jim Bowden predicted which rookie will likely make the active roster in 2021:

The Yankees have five rookie pitchers who all have a shot of making their pitching staff out of spring training, but their preference would be to park them all in the starting rotation at Triple A. Nick Nelson might have the best chance of making the team in a bullpen role, thanks to his nasty fastball/changeup combination and how well he pitched in 2020. However, Clarke Schmidt and Deivi García could easily make the team’s starting rotation if Corey KluberJameson Taillon or Domingo Germán have some type of physical hiccup. Michael King could be valuable in a swing role as a sixth starter or long reliever. Luis Medina is a real long shot, but he actually has the best ceiling of any of their rookie pitchers; he dominated winter ball, leading most scouts to label him the best pitching prospect they saw.  Yankee fans can expect to see all five of these rookies at some point in the 2021 campaign.
Nelson, a 25-year-old native of Panama City, Florida, pitched 20.2 innings last season. He recorded a 4.79 ERA and 1.500 WHIP, striking out 18 batters and allowing 11 runs. While he had his ups and downs over a small sample size, Nelson is more prepared for the MLB compared to Garcia. Having been drafted back in 2014, he has been working his way through the minor-league system, spending time in Tampa, Trenton, and Scranton during the 2019 campaign.
In AAA ball, he recorded a 4.71 ERA over 21 innings but had a larger sample size of 65 innings with Trenton, where he secured a 2.35 ERA. The expectation is that he will be elevated at some point in the season, as injuries and fatigue inevitably take their toll.
He is a good option to consider, given his experience and the time he’s paid in the minor leagues.
Nonetheless, it is a surprise that the Yankees would consider Nelson over Garcia, and I would actually assume the opposite. García showed enough that I would rely on him as a back-end starter if necessary. His devastating breaking ball and solid velocity on his fastball can only be a positive influence. Giving him more experience and time at the major-league level will only spur his growth even further.

New York Yankees: What should fans expect from Gerrit Cole in shortened 2020?

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees are officially back in business, and they were shown on the field Thursday afternoon. Of course, the standout that everyone was excited to see is the Yankees ace, Gerrit Cole. The Yankees 326 million dollar man threw on Thursday against the likes of Aaron Judge and Luke Voit.

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Hot and Cole

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You can feel the excitement from Yankees fans everywhere about Cole’s debut later this month. Of course the expectations are high for Cole, but what should fans expect in this shortened season from the ace?

The reality is that fans need to be realistic with their expectations for Cole. In a 60 game season, Cole is currently scheduled to get 12 starts assuming he stays healthy. Cole is not going to go 12-0 with a 0.00 ERA. It will only take one bad start to really inflate the numbers to give the appearance that Cole isn’t having an elite season.

New York Yankees & Gerrit Cole realistic expectations

If we are looking at the 12 starts, I think that 8-3 with a 3.37 ERA is a realistic line for Cole in his first season in pinstripes. Yes, the ERA is significantly higher than it was last year, but you have to keep in mind that Cole will be pitching in a new environment with less room for error. He’s still going to show everyone that he is arguably the best pitcher in the game, but there might be a slip-up here or there.

I think the Yankees need to go into this season with a World Series or bust mentality. However, fans should be realistic on the expectations for the individual players. Aaron Judge is not going to hit 300 with 25 home runs, and Gerrit Cole is not going to have an ERA under one. This season is going to be fast and furious, and with less room for error, fans’ patience is going to be running thin in the pressure cooker that is New York. I think Cole is going to show out this year, but it’s important to be realistic about what we should expect as fans.

New York Yankees: The Hot Stove will be back! MLB trade deadline set for August 31st

New York Yankees, Brian Cashman

One of the most exciting parts of the season is the trade deadline. Every year, New York Yankees fans all congregate around to figure out who the Yankees might make a deal for. In the past couple of years the deadline hasn’t been the most exciting for Yankees fans, but it always keeps fans on the edge of their seats. With the shortened season, many were wondering about the trade deadline. With a 60 game season, would there be a trade deadline or would teams lose the opportunity to try to improve their team? Well, Tuesday evening we got our answer per Jayson Stark.

A little over one month after the season gets underway, we will see a trade deadline. This might be one of the more fascinating deadlines we’ve ever seen. It’s either going to be filled with rapid transactions or nothing will happen. Every year, Yankees fans start thinking about the July deadline. They think about the moves that Cashman can make the team better. They also start demanding that some players get traded after slow start. Well, normally players have a couple of months to go through up and downs. A player might have a down April, but if they really turn it on in the later months, they become a hot commodity on the trade market. We also see players start out incredibly hot, but fade quickly which makes them less hot on the market. Well, those hot starters are going to be the ones that teams are targeting if they need a boost in September.

Will the Yankees make any moves?

Given the current configuration of the Yankees roster, I doubt they try to make any big deals when this August deadline rolls around. Now, the injury bug could rear it’s ugly head in the first month which obviously could change things. The first month of the season is going to be wild. We are going to see teams going all out from the jump, and we are going to see trade conversations begin almost immediately. Get ready Yankee fans because this season is going to be fast and furious.