The New York Yankees Have the Key to Take the Astros Down

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees made their displeasure with the Houston Astros known. During the 2019 ALCS, the Yankees accused the Astros of using whistling to signal to the Astros hitters. And after the commissioners office confirmed that yes, the Yankees were indeed victims of cheating, guys like CC Sabathia were pretty ticked off.

But with the speculation that the Astros upped the anti by affixing their players with buzzers to electronically send them what pitch was coming, this truly has become the biggest scandal to hit baseball since the Chicago Black Sox.

The Newest Yankees Ace Could Put His Old Team to Bed

Some chastise former Astros pitcher, who was a part of that 2017 run, Mike Fiers, for saying anything publicly about what happened in 2017. But, in accordance with his on the record statements, Fiers told his teammates in Detroit, and Oakland, what to expect when they played the Astros before he told the Athletic what happened.

So, could Gerrit Cole follow suit and spill the beans on the Astros?

Apparently He Knows Nothing

Cole, shortly after signing with the New York Yankees, announced that he “didn’t see anything illegal”. But just because he doesn’t go public now, doesn’t mean he won’t tell his team.

In April, 2014, Michael Pineda started against the Boston Red Sox twice. The first time, on April 10th, the Red Sox wanted to check to see if Pineda was using pine tar to doctor the ball, but were too late. But, on April 24th that year, Pineda was spotted that game using pine tar, on the same place he used it during the April 10th game.

Nothing is stopping Gerrit Cole from telling the Yankees what to look out for when the team goes to Houston. That isn’t far removed from the Red Sox pinning Michael Pineda in 2014. Only time will tell.

The Yankees Would Have Still Lost to the Astros in 2017

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

Yankees fans will, justifiably, feel vindictive towards the Houston Astros in the wake of this cheating scandal. Now, fans will argue that the Astros were still cheating in 2019, as well as what happened in 2017. But, as Mike Axisa puts it, the investigation from MLB concluded that the Astros stopped cheating in 2019. So we were still going to fall short of the World Series this year, as the Astros weren’t cheating during the regular, or postseason.

And I feel that we were still going to lose in 2017, as we had every opportunity to beat the Astros, but didn’t.

We STILL Had to Beat the Astros Stellar Pitching

Verlander pitched a COMPLETE GAME in game 2, and pitched 7 shutout innings in game 6. He pitched to the tune of a 0.56 ERA in the ALCS, striking out 21, and giving up 1 earned run, that run coming in game 2. Dallas Keuchel, in 11.2 innings pitched, struck out 18, going 1-1 in the series. Between Keuchel and Verlander, that’s 3 wins right there. And Lance McCullers Jr., had a 4 inning save in game 7. There’s 4.

The Yankees out hit the Astros in the series (.205 team batting average to .187, Astros drove in 19 and the Yankees drove in 21, Yankees got 45 hits in the series to the Astros 40), and the Astros knew what our pitchers were throwing. Even our pitchers had a better team ERA than the Astros team ERA.

But the Yankees were struck out 70 times to the Astros 45. The Astros committed 2 errors in the season, the Yankees committed 6 over the series. The Astros still managed to get the hits when they needed, and the Yankees couldn’t. Judge hit .250 for the ALCS, Altuve hit over .320, with 5 strikeouts to Judge’s 11. By contrast, Gary Sanchez, whom Yankees fans deem completely inept in postseason hitting, struck out fewer times than Aaron Judge (even though he had a much smaller batting average). Didi Gregorius, Greg Bird, and Chase Headley were all more productive than Aaron Judge at the plate during the 2017 ALCS, but Judge drove in the most runs.

All of this and more leads me to believe that the Astros still would have won in 2017, even if they didn’t cheat. Sorry Yankees fans. I’m one of you, but these are my feelings based on facts.

The Phillies Are the Reunion Yankees Fans Want

New York Yankees, Yankees, Joe Girardi

Joe Girardi didn’t spend too much time outside of baseball after the Yankees let him go. It makes sense that a team would want to trust Joe Girardi after his impressive run with the Yankees. While there was only 1 World Series appearance/championship, Giardi never had a season below .500 as a manager. And the Yankees of the 2010s are all in on reuniting with their old skipper.

The Yankees Keep Coming to Philly

David Robertson, a fixture in the Yankees pen for much of the last decade, was with the Phillies since last season but missed most of his debut season due to Tommy John surgery. You know he’ll want to prove he was worth the contract, and Girardi certainly knows how to utilize him.

Then there are the Yankees recently departed shortstop, Didi Gregorius. Didi found his strength as an offensive player under Girardi. He was always a defensive whiz, but he became a FORCE once he came to NY. And after his injury-shortened 2019, where he struggled offensively and defensively after the All-Star break, you know he wants to prove he can still play.

And now, they have Ronald Torreyes. Yes, it’s a minor league deal, but it comes with an invitation to Spring Training. Toe was a viable backup, playing 180 games for the Yankees during Girardi’s last two years as manager, playing 108 in 2017 alone. I think Girardi trusts Torreyes enough that Toe will have a spot on the Phillies bench during the 2020 season. 

It’s going to be interesting to see just what the Phillies can do next season, especially with so many former Yankees on the team.

A 10 Part Breakdown of the Yankees Depth: Part 10, Relief Pitching

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

With the Yankees reporting to Spring Training in about a month, it’s time we wrap this up. While the Yankees will continue to improve their depth at all positions through trades, free agency, and the like, what we have now is probably going to be it coming into Opening Day. So how does our bullpen really look?

Pretty Good Sparky. Pretty… Good

You gotta feel good about Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, and Adam Ottavino (even if they’re all under contract). With the maximum of 5 more relievers, the race is truly on to see who has the best bullpen in baseball.

Rounding out our pen is Tommy Kahnle, Chad Green, Luis Cessa, Johnathan Loaisiga, Johnathan Holder, Mike King, Stephen Tarpley, and Deivi Garcia to name just eight.

Where the Pen Can Improve

Our starters had a bit of trouble in going deep into games. Let’s look at some of the numbers:

Masahiro Tanaka, in 11 of his 32 games pitched last season, didn’t make it through 6 innings 11 times.

JA Happ, in 21 of his 31 games pitched, couldn’t get through 6 innings, averaging about 5.

In 16 of James Paxton’s 29 games, he couldn’t get out of 6 innings.

13 times out of 27 games, Domingo German couldn’t get through 6 innings.

CC started in 22 games. He couldn’t get through 6 innings 16 times.

In other words, that’s about 332 extra innings the bullpen had to pitch last year. Most guys in the pen the Yankees leaned on were at best one-inning guys.

With the Yankees noted history of treating pitchers with kid gloves (they were talking about shutting down Severino in 2017, shut down Phil Hughes in 2010, and let’s not forget how ineffective Jobba Chamberlain became due to the Jobba rules), they need long relievers. Losing Nestor Cortes Jr., however ineffective he may have been, hurt. But, saving at least one spot in the pen to bring Jordan Montgomery up to speed as a pitcher, or to see just what Deivi Garcia can do, is the best thing for the Yankees this season. They need a long man out of the pen. Almost as badly as they needed Gerrit Cole.

A 10 Part Breakdown of the New York Yankees Depth: Starting Pitching

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

In the last few seasons, the New York Yankees starting rotation was not as well as people thought it was. Masahiro Tanaka, the teams imported ace, has been giving up (on average) 4.5-4.9 runs per game, with an adjusted WAR of -0.1, averaging a .500 record over that time span. Luis Severino is still trying to figure himself out. And while CC Sabathia is now retired, he… uh, wasn’t great.

What About Now?

Gerrit Cole is a big upgrade. Like… such an upgrade that we catapult ourselves to the top of the league in terms of starting rotation. Our starting 4 looks like this:

  1. Gerrit Cole: WAR of 12.1 in two seasons with Houston, with 602 strikeouts compared to the 734 strikeouts he recorded as a Pirate.
  2. James Paxton: 26-12 over the last 2 seasons, with 394 strikeouts, and a WAR of 5.1 in the same time span.
  3. Luis Severino: Last season was shortened to just 12 innings in September. He still managed a 34-15 record since 2017, with 467 strikeouts, and a 10.7 WAR.
  4. Masahiro Tanaka: a WAR of 5.7 since 2017, he still averages about 150 strikeouts per season, with at least 1 complete game shutout. This is great stats for a number 4.

So Who’s the 5?

Boy howdy do we have options.

We don’t know yet what’s going to happen to Domingo German. Chances are if MLB levees a suspension against German, he’ll have a reduced sentence for time already served. But that will mean we need to figure out how to bridge the gap between then.

Jordan Montgomery would be a great filler, but we’re talking about a team that developed the Joba Rules, shut down Phil Hughes during the best season he had as a Yankee starter (screwing him up for the end of his tenure), and at least one massive implosion from more than one member of our bullpen at the WORST time every year for the last 5 seasons. They aren’t going to let Montgomery throw more than 150 innings next year.

What would be a smart move is to have Monty serve as an opener. We know Monty can go more than the one inning they let Chad Green go on average last season. Slowly building him up to 5 innings, and complimenting him with Happ (if we can’t move Happ) would allow us to save our pen throughout the entire season, which would mean they get to stay fresher during a push into October.

We finally have a starting rotation that can complement one of the best bullpens in the game. Everyone should be happy about this! I know I am.

What the Yankees Should Learn from the Mets About Josh Hader

New York Yankees, Josha Hader

The Yankees offseason is now squarely rooted in relief pitcher, Josh Hader, of the Milwaukee Brewers. Hader is going to come with a hefty price tag, and, no, it’s not the generic “Yankee tax.” It’s “The Brewers know what they have, and they know everyone wants him. Why wouldn’t they ask for a king’s ransom for a guy who’s trade value is at ITS HIGHEST?!”

The Mets Went for Hader. Here’s What The Brewers Wanted

The Mets reportedly made a play for Josh Hader. The Brewers wanted first baseman Dominic Smith (.282/.355/.525 with 11 home runs in 89 games last season), Steven Matz (who plays a crucial part in the Mets rotation moving forward), and two “highly regarded prospects.” Could have been Ronny Mauricio, could have been Brett Baty, could have been Fransisco Alvarez, it could have been anyone. But with that kind of offer on the table, the Mets (understandably) went with Dellin Betances. 

Yankees Fans Should Take Note of This

The Brewers weren’t interested in Edwin Diaz, whom the Mets would probably like to unload after his abysmal 2019. They didn’t go for mediocre players who are, at best, average or over the hill. They didn’t go for guys who could be on the big club but aren’t because there isn’t room. They went for guys who are both A) Highly regarded, and B) Major League Ready.

That merely means offering Miguel Andujar, or Gio Urshela won’t cut it. And they won’t take Clint Frazier either because, with an outfield of Yelich, Cain, and former Yankee Ben Gamel, Frazier would downgrade their outfield. JA Happ wouldn’t interest them; they’d want Devi Garcia to go with the third baseman of their choice. They’d also want Johnathan Loaisiga, or Albert Abreu, as well as Estevan Florial, or Clarke Shmidt. 

The Brewers want a haul for one relief pitcher. We’re stocked to the gils with talent, and trading for a player shouldn’t require giving it all up. The Yankees realistically don’t need Hader. His effectiveness may plummet due to the fact he’s a National League pitcher, and his capabilities won’t fool American League hitters as much. 

If the Yankees need Hader, wait until mid-March to pull this trade. Striking when the value of a player is low makes more sense than giving up the farm for a relief arm that’s not a necessity. This only portrays the desperation of oner, Hal Steinbrenner.

The 10 Best Yankees Moments of the Last Decade

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

While the 2010’s was the first decade that the Yankees did NOT appear in a World Series since the 1910’s, there were still plenty of great moments that happened to our boys in pinstripes. And since everyone is reflecting on what happened to them this past decade, I thought I’d share my top 10 Yankees moments of the last decade.

10. Aaron Boone’s Hot Start

How many managers start their career with back to back 100 win seasons? I mean, seriously, how many managers start their managerial career’s with back to back 100 win seasons?! Aaron Boone’s first two seasons as skipper are about as productive as you can get for a manager. And this includes the copious amount of injuries the Yankees sustained in 2019.

9. Jorge Posada Clinches the Division

2011 was a crazy year for the Core Four. Andy Pettite was a year away from leaving retirement early. Derek Jeter got his 3,000 career hit on a home run in a 5-5 performance. And Mariano Rivera got career save 602. 2011 was also the last season for long time, home grown, Yankee catcher, Jorge Posada. Having a lackluster season, it was thanks to Jorge Posada that the Yankees clinched the 2011 AL East title.

8. The Emergence of the Baby Bombers

Gary Sanchez had a 2016 that would make Shane Spencer blush. In 53 games, he hit .299/.376/.657 with 20 home runs. 2016 also saw Aaron Judge’s first career at bat (I was there. Good golly that was a hot day. But such a majestic shot!). The very next season, the Yankees emerged as one of the most dominant teams in the American League. 

7. Mariano Rivera’s Final Game

It was crazy watching the Yankees pay to have Metallica play “Enter Sandman” exclusively for Mariano on Mariano Rivera day, but there’s just something about watching a grown man reduced to tears over something as simple as one of his lifelong friends saying “It’s time to go.” Watching Giarardi sending Jeter and Pettite out to pull Mo from his final appearance at Yankee stadium was a stroke of genius. But you just wish the Yankees were able pull out the win.

6. 2017 Wild Card Through ALDS

It seemed improbable that the Yankees were going to make it to the post season in 2017, a rebuilding year. But they did. And with their ace on the mound, Luis Severino, it seemed like a sure fire thing that the Yankees would dominate the Twins in the Wild Card game. They went down early. But thanks to Didi Gregorius, the Yankees mounted a first inning comeback to win. And then… there was the ALDS. Down 2 games to none, they improbably came back in 3 straight games to advance to win the series and advance to the ALCS against the 100 win Cleveland Indians.

5. Savages

Aaron Boone was ejected on July 18th. And in his parting rant left us with “savages”. The rest, as they say… is history.

4. Next Man Up

2019 was a disaster of a season with a complete roster of players (and not just any players our best players) ending up on the IL for lengths of time. But with the emergence of DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela, the team was able to stay afloat for the incredible 103 win season.

3. Derek Jeter’s 3,000 hit

5-5 with a home run to cross the 3,000 hit plateau… the Captain always had the flair for the dramatic.

2. CC’s Final Pitch

CC Sabathia was a warrior for the Yanks his entire stay. Through all his injuries, the decline in velocity, CC fought hard on every pitch for us in the Bronx. And when it came to Game 4 of the ALCS, literally throwing his arm out of its socket, the man left it all on the field in a way that made his former manager break down and cry on MLB Network’s coverage of the postseason.

Derek Jeter’s Final at Bat

Derek Jeter was the final member of the Core Four to retire. It was tough watching all those Yankees greats that I grew up with finally ride off into the sunset like the legends of baseball they became. So when it came time for Jeter’s final game at Yankee Stadium, people were obviously pretty upset watching how upset Jeter was for most of the game. They took a lead early, but gave it back late. And then, it was magic hour. Tied at 5, 1 out, runner on second, and Jeter lines a typical Jeterian single to right, winning the game. Watching reruns of that game to this day still causes me to tear up a little bit.

And those are my picks for the 10 best moments of the first decade the Yankees didn’t appear in a single World Series.

New York Yankees: Gleyber Torres Has Two Glaring Problems for 2020

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

At this point, it’s more than obvious that the New York Yankees intend to make Gleyber Torres the everyday shortstop for the Yankees moving forward. But, he has two massive problems moving forward, especially if we are to believe what the Yankees fans are saying on social media.

Defensive liability

Okay. So Gleyber Torres hasn’t been in the league for all that long. A two-year veteran is still pretty young. But, the problem is obvious at this point. Gleyber Torres is a better defensive second baseman than shortstop. Gleyber Torres is a league-average second baseman and a below-average shortstop. Like, when we look at his statistics and compare them to Miguel Andujar, Andujar is a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman by comparison.

But, based on what Torres is capable of doing at defense at second base, Yankees fans are more comfortable at seeing Torres at short than they are seeing Andujar at third. Tell me how this makes sense?

High strikeout rate

Gleyber is turning into an offensive marvel. A .275 career hitter, he went from 24 home runs in 2018 to 38 in 2019. But, he’s averaging 152 strikeouts PER SEASON! Yankees fans kill Stanton for how much he strikes out, just like they kill Sanchez. But if Gleyber is striking out over 150 times a season… it’s only 23 strikeouts BEHIND Sanchez per season.

So What Should the Yankees do?

Well, the obvious choice is that the New York Yankees will make him the opening day shortstop. But… with DJ as old as he is (he’s above the 30 years old line, which is a death sentence for most players), Gleyber will be moved back to second before 2025. So… while the Yankees may be shooting themselves in the foot for now… if the shortstops the Yankees have in the farms will be ready by 2022… it’s all for the best.

Do The New York Mets Benefit From Dellin Betances?

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Dellin Betances

The New York Yankees just lost Dellin Betances to the NY Mets. What does this mean for the power dynamics in the battle for New York?

The Yankees Bullpen

Dellin was a cornerstone of the Yankees bullpen for much of this rapidly ending decade. A 95+ MPH fastball, and a FILTHY curveball. But what Dellin always suffered from was a regular case of inconsistency. 2017 saw him losing immense control right up to the playoff push that season, complete with a 9.00 ERA, and a WHIP of 3.0000 in the 2017 ALCS. The Yankees were able to construct a more than capable bullpen built around Betances from 2014-2018, and we largely didn’t need Dellin last year when he was hurt. But 5 consecutive years with 66 minimum innings pitched, and 100+ strikeouts is a serious blow.

But Does it Help the Mets?

Betances provides some stability to a largely unstable Mets bullpen. Look at what Jeurys Familia is capable of. Some great things, and he’s also painfully inconsistent. Edwin Diaz had arguably one of the most horrendous 2019’s a closer could have. Lugo was easily the brightest spots in the Mets pen last year. But is that enough to hinge your bets on? Thor and deGromm both can go deep enough into a game to help keep the pen fresh. But Porcello, Wacha, and Matz having inconsistent to awful years last years, having 3 guys in your pen you can’t rely on to stay steady an entire season leaves one to suspect how bad things can get.

What Caused Betances Going to Queens?

The best rationale is two possibilities. We all know how the Yankees are trying to save the most money while putting the team from the last 2 seasons back on the field with the necessary improvements of Gerrit Cole. Betances wanted at least $10 million and got $10.5 for 2020. If the Yankees took that on, they’d be paying closer to $15 million for Betances alone after the 42.5% of the luxury tax kicks in.

The next is the Yankees looked at what Betances was able to do for the team over the years. You can’t ignore the 500+ strikeouts over 5 seasons, but if he lost it, it took him too long to get it back. And missing most of last season with problems in his shoulder, to then bust his achilles last year… why would an analytics based team like the Yankees take that kind of risk on a 31, soon to be 32 year old?

I’m sorry to see Dellin go, but unless he can turn it around in a BIG way next season, 2019 was the last time we saw Betances in pinstripes.

New York Yankees: Things To Do At Yankee Stadium

New York Yankees

We all love going to New York Yankees games at Yankee Stadium. But, for a Yankee game, it’s a sizable investment for many people just to go to one. So, here are some other ways to get your Yankee Stadium fix, while still saving a little bit of money.

NYCFC Matches

America is transfixed every 2 years with soccer. There’s the World Cup, and the CONCAFCA Gold Cup. But how many of you soccer fans know that you can catch a quality soccer match at Yankee Stadium? Home to NYCFC, you can get some of the best seats in the house for a fraction of the cost.

Through the NY Yankees website, field-level seating ranges between $85-280 for Yankee games. Through resale markets like Vivid Seats, those same prices are starting around $250, going high that triple the value for Yankee games. Through the NYCFC website, and those same resale market sites, the same field level seats start at $45-50. And with the length of games starting at 3 hours or more, taking the family to a 90-minute soccer match is a no brainer.

Concerts

Garth Brooks, Megadeth, Slayer, and other music acts that have performed at Yankee Stadium. Of course, venues are going to set up a stage to maximize total attendance without violating occupancy laws, so seats will be more affordable than for a normal game.

The Pinstripe Bowl

Held during Bowl Season, the Pinstripe Bowl returns football to Yankee Stadium. Dugout seats for the 2019 Pinstripe Bowl start at $42 for section 120A. Do you know where section 120A is? Right behind home plate! Tickets are still available for the 2019 game between Wake Forrest and Michigan State. Act now college football fans!

Charity Events

CC Sabathia’s softball game is a way to get into Yankee Stadium, the Runyon 5K is happening in August, Yankee Stadium offers up a plethora of charity events for you to attend.

This is just a small list of events you can attend at Yankee Stadium if you just need your fix in-between Yankee games.