How Much Money do the Yankees and Mets Stand to Lose in 2020?

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius, Aaron Judge

Tomorrow would have been the first two games of the season at Yankee Stadium as the New York Yankees would have taken on the Orioles. Tonight would have been the New York Mets starting a 2 games series in Houston against the Astros. But, of course, none of that is happening as the coronavirus pandemic continues to make Sportsbot 5,000’s proclamation in Futurama’s 2008 mini film “The Beast with a Billion Backs” a reality.

Teams, like the rest of us, are struggling with the reality that we currently live in, where the primary goal is “flatten the curve” of the spread of the disease. Large gatherings, such as sporting events, become a harrowing ordeal, as you have to be just super cautious about who you let into the arena over fear that they may (or may not) have the disease.

So, with the baseball season still on hold, how much money would the Yankees and Mets lose should the season carry on outside of the Bronx or Queens?

Play All Games, for the Time Being, in Arizona?

New York is still, though some states are catching up, the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States. As a result, I’m resigning myself to the reality that the Yankees/Cubs game I have a ticket for would force me to travel elsewhere if I want to have it honored.

Now, some are asking “Why Arizona, where the Yankees and Mets have facilities in Florida?” Florida, in the infinite wisdom of the state’s governor, waited until April 4th to issue the same “shelter at home” orders Governor Cuomo ordered for his state. The state now has more than 10,000 confirmed cases of the virus, seeing as many as 1,000 confirmed cases per day. Arizona, meanwhile, has less than 3,000 confirmed cases of the disease, as well as being one of the key states where Spring Training is held. In fact, when you factor in Chase Field, Arizona has 11 stadiums where we can have games.

Now, it seems disingenuous to be talking about how much money these teams stand to lose as they deal with the coronavirus pandemic, especially since the groups that own these teams are worth billions of dollars. But, unless this whole pandemic changes what we prioritize in this world, we’re going to have to realize that guys like Aaron Judge and Noah Syndergaard won’t be able to get even half the contract value guys like them got just this past offseason.

So let’s say that the Yankees play 50 home games of a 130 game season at Salt River Fields. The facility holds 11,000 seat capacity. The Yankees have fans everywhere, so sellouts are likely. But, it’s likely they won’t receive 100% of the total ticket sales, concession sales, or merchandise sales, as the host site will take (let’s argue) 20% of the gross for all this revenue coming in. So let’s look at the averages for all three categories:

The average price of a Yankee ticket in 2019 was $52. At an 11,000 seat venue, that’s $572 thousand. Minus 20% and they get $457,600 per game, vs. the $2.8 million in ticket sales they receive for one sellout at Yankee Stadium. So the Yankees would stand to lose, potentially, $117.2 million in ticket sales alone.

Need I go on in calculating how much money would be lost in concession and merch sales?

Let’s say the Mets play the same number of home games at Surprise Stadium, a field that holds 10,714. According to Statista.com, the average price for a Mets ticket is $27.60. While you can fit 41,922 at sellout capacity in Citi Field, the Mets averaged 30,531, which was about 73% capacity. Since the Mets are an east coast team, and most of the teams they play are east coast teams, let’s argue that the Mets would see 75% capacity at their home games in Surprise Stadium, again, losing 20% of gross ticket revenue. That means the Mets would generate $11.8 million, as opposed to the $42.1 million for the same number of home games at Citi Field.

Now, lost in all of this, is the salaries of the seasonal workers who ensure that we can buy the peanuts, crackerjacks, hot dogs, drinks, cotton candy, ice cream, and everything else in between at the home games. Undoubtedly, the loss of their positions is inevitable, as the ownership groups will be desperate to recoup the millions, if not billions, of dollars in revenue they generate over the course of their 81 home games per season. Also lost in this are all the minor league players who are depending on things like Shin-soo Chu’s generosity as they wait for the season to start.

I’m hoping that we see a shift in focus on what’s important. Baseball players have a luxury compared to most other sports. NFL players deal with their teams being tethered down by the salary cap. Baseball players don’t. Does Mike Trout really need to be making $35.8 million per year under his 12 year contract extension? Does Giancarlo Stanton need to be making $26 million this year, and $29 million next year? Especially when so many more people who work at Yankee Stadium rely more on our butts being in those seats than Stanton does?

We’re all struggling right now. We want baseball back just as much as the players, owners, and seasonal employees want baseball back. And while it’s great to see us all banding together as we are, the importance of how much money is being lost right now can’t be stated enough. So many people who aren’t the Stanton’s, Gerrit Cole’s, and Mike Trout’s of baseball depend on these games to be played. It’s imperative that not only we get the season started soon, but we do it in a safe way to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved. The Nippon League is seeing a rough start to its delayed start to the season as there are players testing positive for the coronavirus. And while some states are being spared the same ravages the disease has inflicted on states like New York, California, and Louisiana, there’s no certainty that Arizona won’t become the new hotbed for the virus if all 30 teams are playing baseball in the state. That’s 780 players (under the new 26 man roster), plus all their coaches, training staff, scouts, and medical staff.

Here’s hoping something is figured out soon. Because I’m dying to go up to the ticket booth at a ball field and proclaim “Shut up and take my money!”

On this day in New York Yankees history, two players went down the tube

New York Yankees, Larry Rothschild

When someone flops in a New York Yankees, oh mein GOT, (That’s German for OH MY GOD!) it is a spectacular flop. While it may be meant to bring light to the suffering and misfortune of one former Yankee, this decision ultimately lead to the downward spiral of two once-promising careers. Not just as Yankees, but promising careers as major league pitchers that went kersplat.

Ten Years Ago, Phil Hughes Replaced Joba Chamberlain in the Rotation

God do I feel old.

Ten years ago today, while I was halfway through the spring semester of my junior year at college, the Yankees sent Joba Chamberlain to the bullpen in favor of Phil Hughes. Hughes, who was valuable as hell during their run to the championship a year ago, was ELECTRIC out of the pen since 2007. Joba, meanwhile, had one of his most lackluster seasons at that point in 2009, going 9-6 in 31 starts, with an ERA well above 4.

Hughes would have an All-Star season in 2010, going 18-8, with 146 K’s in 176.1 innings pitched, to an ERA of 4.19 (not great, but very few have the ability to maintain excellence throughout the entirety of a season. Look at Severino’s 2017 and 2018). Joba would pitch his final full season before needing Tommy John surgery. After that, he was never the same pitcher. Even with the Tigers, Royals, and Indians

What I firmly believe screwed up Phil Hughes was the Yankees insisting on following “the Joba Rules” to try and preserve Hughes as much as possible. The point remains, you don’t shut down someone with double-digit wins on the season because you’re “worried about his arm” or any poor excuse. Hughes, when it was announced his season would end early in 2010 (his only All-Star season) was never the same again. He was inconsistent at best the remainder of his time in New York.

So, 10 years ago today, the Yankees may have had an unspeakable negative impact on not just one, but two promising major league pitchers.

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.

Twenty Years Ago, the New York Yankees Pulled off an Unlikely Win

New York Yankees, Larry Rothschild

It’s hard to comprehend that it was 20 years ago since the New York Yankees beat the New York Mets in the Subway Series. Sure, there were news and highlights from the series at large, from Clemens throwing a piece of a baseball bat at Mike Piazza, to “El Duque” Orlando Hernandez being handed the first postseason loss of his stellar Yankee career. Even Derek Jeter hitting that leadoff home run during Game 1.

But when you look at how the Yankees limped into October, it’s amazing the team got out of the Championship Series at all.

A Terrible Finish

The Yankees, playing only 161 games that season (one game was rained out against the Miami Marlins that could never get rescheduled), were arguably one of the weakest teams on paper. Bouncing back from a dismal June (playing 5 games under .500), the team was 74-56 going into their September 1st game against Minnesota. They would then go 13-18 between September and October, losing 15 of the final 18 games they played.

It also hurt that Clemens was trash in the ALDS against the Oakland Athletics. Going 0-2, with an ERA over 8 (Dwight Gooden was the only one worse on the rotation), the Yankees were absolutely trashed in Game 4, setting up Game 5 in Oakland.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m bringing all of this up. Well, it’s always much more about HOW you finish the season than how well you did that season. The Chicago White Sox had the best record in the American League that year. Both the A’s and Mariners had better records and stronger finishes than the Yankees had. Hell, even the 2019 Washington Nationals ended up finishing only 4 games behind the Atlanta Braves last season, finishing red hot. They finished so hot, it carried them all the way to upsetting the Houston Astros at home in Game 7.

So when the Yankees, who had won 3 World Series titles in 4 years at this point, limped as poorly as they did into October, with such a lackluster performance from their All-Star pitcher they had acquired the year before from Toronto in Clemens, all we can do is raise a glass and toast the way the Yankees capped off that 2000 season. Because all logic would dictate that the Yankees should have been bounced in that ALDS against Oakland.

New York Yankees Spring Training Recap 2/24-3/1

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

So the New York Yankees made it through their first full week of Spring Training. While much has been made of Giancarlo Stanton’s calf strain, and Aaron Judge still being bothered by that shoulder/pectoral of his, some good came out of last week.

Montgomery Makes His Case

With the Yankees needing to patch things together in their starting rotation until James Paxton and Domingo German come back in June, there’s added pressure being put on the young potential starters called to Spring Training. Jordan Montgomery is putting himself head and shoulders above the rest.

With 6 K’s over 6 innings pitched, Monty is currently outperforming our $300+ million aces, Gerrit Cole (who has 4 over 4.4 innings pitched).

Yank’s Getting Back to Winning Ways

After dropping the first 2 games of exhibition, it’s cool to see the Yankees fire off 6 straight wins after the draw against the Pirates. While a 6-3-1 record of purely exhibition matches aren’t anything to get too excited about (as exhibition games don’t count toward the 162 game regular season), it’s cool to see this happen after the brew-ha-ha surrounding the ALCS.

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Higgy Feeling the Heat?

As I suspected, Kyle Higashioka is floundering this spring. Iannetta, Thole, and Kratz are all outperforming Higashioka this spring, performing better defensively than Higashioka (who does have an error charged against him), and are on base more than Higashioka. The only catcher performing more poorly than Higashioka is projected starting catcher Gary Sanchez.

Now, again, it’s Spring Training. The New York Yankees are not going to be sending Sanchez down to the minors because of a bad spring performance. But someone like Higashioka, a career minor leaguer aspiring to be a backup, maybe feeling the pressure if he can’t turn it around sooner rather than later. Iannetta is currently in possession of the best batting average on the team this spring.

A New Path for Andujar?

Depending on how bad Judge’s shoulder is, the New York Yankees may need to find replacements for BOTH corner outfield spots for some time to start the 2020 campaign. While still getting used to the outfield, Andujar is looking competent in the outfield. And, depending on how bad Stanton’s calf ends up being, and whether or not it is a recurring season-long fiasco, Andujar may see most of his playing time coming out in the left field.

Garcia Looks Good in Spring Performance

Giving up 2 runs in 2 innings pitched against the Braves, Deivi Garcia still looked impressive for someone not legally old enough to drink in the states yet. The battle for the 5th spot in the rotation is sure to heat up over the next couple of weeks. Especially with the rumors about Steven Matz.

Let’s look forward to the next week of games for our boys in pinstripes.

Are the Yankees Doomed to Repeat 2019’s Injury Problem?

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Santon

The New York Yankees saw an All-Star team’s worth of talent on the injury list last season. After an overhaul of the strength and conditioning staff, we were all lead to believe that things would be different this season.

Oh, how wrong we were to assume.

Who’s Hurt/Missing So Far

Aaron Judge has yet to play in a Spring Training game. He’s hitting, he’s throwing, but if he’s healthy, why not start? Domingo German won’t be here until June, and he was told to stay in the Dominican Republic for Spring Training. Speaking as someone with chronic back pain, you CANNOT underestimate the severity of nagging back pain that will follow James Paxton the remainder of the season after having that cyst surgically removed. Aaron Hicks may not even be back at all this season, depending on how slow he is recovering from Tommy John. Luis Severino is gone until 2021. And now, Giancarlo Stanton has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 calf strain.

How Much Has Changed and How Serious is It?

That’s 5 high profile players who will be missing an impressive amount of time in 2020, which is still a far cry from the twenty-some-odd players we had on the IL last season. And there’s no guarantee that Stanton will miss more than a week or two at the start of the season. But good Lordy is it still frustrating. The new staff was supposed to change this, right?

But it isn’t as serious as people want to believe.

Look at how well we ended up doing last season without Severino until September. Piecing it together in the rotation until about June is manageable, especially with so many prospective starters in the house to fill in till then. We have Tauchman, we have Frazier, and we have Tyler Wade and Miguel Andujar. So our outfield is safe if Stanton AND Judge miss a chunk of the early season. We still will see more players go on the IL throughout the year.

But it’s important not to panic right now. It’s February, not June. Cashman will figure something out. We’re still a full month away from Opening Day of 162. And we’re still the team to beat in the east.

New York Yankees: Former Yankee Killed His Hall of Fame Chances

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Carlos Beltran

More reports surfaced this week about former New York Yankee, and mastermind of the Astros sign-stealing scandal, Carlos Beltran. If former Yankee, Roger Clemens, and home run king, Barry Bonds, are being kept out of the Baseball Hall of Fame over their involvement with, and suspected use of steroids, Carlos Beltran secured his permanent exclusion from Cooperstown over new, damning information.

Astros Felt Powerless to Stop Beltran, Who Said He Saw a “Better Way to Steal Signs”

According to a report from the Athletic, when Beltran got to Houston in 2017, he told the team their sign decoding operation was “behind the times”. He was so instrumental in implementing and orchestrating the electronic sign stealing, he would shut down anyone who asked him to stop it. That includes former Yankee teammate (and the Astros 2017 catcher) Brian McCann, or even his manager, AJ Hinch (remember how he supposedly destroyed the monitor on two separate occasions).

Beltran was considered the “godfather of the dugout by his teammates. His will was the law. And now, he’s put his entire baseball future in jeopardy over (supposedly) his desire to win just one championship.

But Where Did He Get the Idea From?

Beltran, allegedly, saw what became the Astros operation “somewhere else”. Many are suspecting that he saw it during his 2.5 years in New York, with the Yankees. But the Yankees were middling at best when Beltran was on the team. Going into the video replay room, something the Yankees admitted to doing but stopped several years before electronic sign-stealing became illegal, is still a far cry from banging a trash can in real time to tip a hitter off. There was still one more pit stop before Beltran became an Astro, and that was the Texas Rangers.

But all this is speculation over whether or not every team in baseball was, in fact, stealing signs the way that the Astros were. It was definitively proven that the Astros set up a camera in center field, someone decided the signs in real-time and relayed that information to the hitter. The Red Sox didn’t use a trash can, they used Apple smartwatches. So… is Beltran a dirty cheater who tried to get the Yankees to implement what the Astros implemented, or is he just a terrible liar (he did tell the NY Post he didn’t know about a center field camera in Houston in November)?

No matter the answer, it’s a terrible stain. Not just on the man’s career, but on the sport, he represented for 20 years so admirably. I think this is the end of Beltran’s career in baseball once and for all, with an unofficial banishment from Cooperstown.

New York Yankees: Key Position Battles for Spring Training

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

New York Yankees fans can rejoice. Spring training is… well, pretty much here. Pitchers and catchers report today. It’s now interesting to see just how many position battles are brewing before the Spring Training season officially begins. Here’s a quick rundown:

Number 5 Starter

With James Paxton out until May/June, and Happ sliding in for Domingo German until his suspension is over, there’s an opening in the rotation for the next couple of months. Jordan Montgomery is the odds on favorite, but Luis Cessa and Johnathan Loaisiga have a distinct edge. That edge being… they aren’t coming back from Tommy John Surgery. Devi Garcia is also coming to camp for the first time and can make a legitimate claim for the spot, leapfrogging over the three veterans.

Third Base

Rightfully, third base is Gio Urshela’s to lose. However, Miguel Andujar, who will be tried out at several other positions, will have a chance to take it back. His rehab for his labrum tear began in earnest in September and has more on his side than Urshela. Urshela has to prove that his subpar defensive statistics for 2019 were an anomaly and that his offensive output can be maintained throughout the 2020 campaign.

4th Outfielder

Until Aaron Hicks can come back from Tommy John surgery, the likely outfield configuration will be Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, and Giancarlo Stanton. Countless Yankee fans want to see Clint Frazier given his opportunity, that his bat is worth the chance in the outfield. But if he can’t improve his defensive capabilities, why would the Yankees need him? Urshela and Andujar will see some time in the outfield, Tyler Wade can play outfield in a pinch, and you’ll have Stanton, Andujar, Voit, and Sanchez all seeing regular time in the DH slot. Where does Frazier fit in if his defense is just as sloppy as it was in 2019?

Backup Catcher

The Yankees have been STOCKPILING on backup catchers in the past few months. This is after Brian Cashman admitted that he’d be comfortable with Kyle Higashioka as the backup after Austin Romine left for the Detroit Tigers. You just signed 3 veteran catchers, all of whom could easily be backups for Gary Sanchez. If they REALLY were feeling comfortable with Higashioka at the backup role, you wouldn’t go out of your way to sign three catchers. I am seriously beginning to question if Higashioka will make it out of Tampa.

These are just some of the position battles to keep an eye on as Spring Training progresses. New York Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka feels Astros cheated them out of World Series

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?

How Guilty Are the New York Yankees of Electronic Sign Stealing?

New York Yankees, Aaron boone

Carlos Beltran’s tenure with the New York Yankees is becoming more and more complicated since the Astros sign-stealing scandal became public. Many people brought up the fact that the Apple Watch debacle between the Yankees and Red Sox a few weeks before Manfred officially made electronic sign-stealing illegal. Now, veteran sportswriter, Peter Gammons, have found a new level to the sign-stealing the Yankees may or may not have been guilty of.

Former Yankee Chris Young Spills the Beans

Playing for both the Yankees and Red Sox in his career, Chris Young was interviewed about his involvement in the Apple Watch practices employed by the Boston Red Sox. Young was later revealed to be one of the masterminds for the entire scheme. And according to Gammons, Young “got it from when I was with the Yankees.”

It’s important to reiterate that before Manfred’s memo in 2017, players going into the replay room to learn what the signs were wasn’t illegal. The New York Yankees did it. This has been proven. However, what got exacerbated was how the Red Sox decided to employ similar practices. Young, instead of going to the replay room, had received texts FROM the replay room (once the sequence was deciphered) sent straight to the dugout. And so, the commissioner’s decree of electronic sign-stealing being illegal came to be.

What’s interesting is who in the Yankees got the team to start deciphering catcher signs in the replay room. No evidence came out of Andy Martino’s article for SNY reporting what Peter Gammons revealed today about who got the Yankees to start deciphering signs. But it’s worth noting that Beltran WAS on the Yankees when Young was a Yankee. Beltran heralded for his sign-stealing abilities, would be the likely mastermind, especially with what we know about his orchestrating the Astros sign-stealing scandal.