Yankees News: Alex Rodriguez concerned about Aaron Judge’s chances of staying in Bronx

aaron judge, yankees

The New York Yankees are facing an uphill battle to extend star slugger Aaron Judge, especially after failing to offer him a reasonable deal before the 2022 season began.

General manager Brian Cashman presented Judge’s representatives with a seven-year contract that would’ve paid him $30.5 million per season.

Obviously, Judge declined that offer without hesitation, betting on himself in hopes of earning a deal upwards of $35 million per season.

So far, Judge is on the MVP trail, hitting .282 with a 36.2% on base rate and .619 slugging percentage. He has a 173 wRC+, the second-highest of his career, indicating he is 73% better than the average MLB player.

The Yankees should pay Aaron Judge:

His statistics mirror the contract extension he’s going to land, whether it be from the Yankees or another team. He features a career-best 60% hard-hit rate, 24.7% barrel rate, and 95.4 mph of exit velocity. He’s already hit 29 homers this season over 78 games, well on his way to recording over 60, which would smash his previous record of 52.

However, former Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez believes that Judge has only a “50% chance” of returning to the Yankees after they lowballed him prior to the beginning of the season (per the New York Post).

Rodriguez spoke about Judge’s impact in the Bronx and how he seamlessly fits their mold. Replacing a player like Judge isn’t so simple, especially since they’ve groomed him from day one to become one of the best players in baseball.

As the team’s 32nd overall pick back in 2013, Judge and the Yankees are now in the best scenario possible. The fact he’s in line to be one of the highest-paid baseball players in history is a clear indication that the Yankees developed him well, but Rodriguez still believes the probability of him leaving is quite high.

Unfortunately for Cashman, there is no replacing Aaron Judge beyond the 2022 season. The team will be a shell of itself without him, considering he’s contributing an unbelievable amount of production.

Just last week, Judge helped steal two games from the Houston Astros in a four-game series. He collected two walk-off hits, including a home run in extra innings. With that type of clutch factor and his reliable in the health department, the Yankees would be foolish to let him walk.

One talented prospect the Yankees should leverage at the trade deadline

New York Yankees, Estevan Florial

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is expected to be active at the trade deadline, whether that be acquiring an outfielder or starting pitcher.

The expectation is he will address multiple spots of weakness. Notably, the bullpen has been dealing with a bit of adversity lately. Rookie Ron Marinaccio was recently placed on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation. With Aroldis Chapman struggling after dealing with Achilles tendinitis, there’s no saying if he will make a full recovery to his previous form.

However, if Cashman does want to make a move, he should consider leveraging prospect Estevan Florial. He has been refused a legitimate crack at a starting outfield spot. Florial has been making supplementary appearances in the MLB since 2020. He played in 11 games last year and four games this year, so far.

With such a small sample size of reps at the big league level, it is hard to determine whether Florial will be successful in the MLB. His Triple-A numbers this year indicate he has a lot of potential left to untap.

There’s a lot to be desired with Estevan Florial:

Over four games with the Yankees this year, he’s been unable to record a hit, but with Scranton in Triple-A, he’s batting .308 with a 38.4% on-base rate and .521 slugging percentage. He’s hit 10 homers with 29 RBIs, stealing 26 bases. Florial is striking out at 29.5%, he’s been a bit more patient with a 10.7% walk rate.

There is legitimate value to Florial that Cashman can leverage in a prospective deal. Florial barely has any service time under his belt. At 24 years old, another team could see significant value in his qualities. He currently features a 139 wRC+, indicating he’s 39% better than the average Triple-A player. That would indicate he’s ready to make the jump to the MLB. Since Estevan doesn’t have exceptional power, the Yankees may not see him as a perfect fit in the outfield.

Defensively, Florial is capable of playing every outfield spot but mainly features in centerfield. With great athleticism and a solid arm, Florial could have plenty of value for a team that is eyeing a young player to take over in CF.

Since management refuses to give him an opportunity over a larger sample size, Cashman should utilize him in a trade at the deadline to improve the roster with more established talent. Given his numbers this year, they’d be selling high on him.

Yankees News: Michael Kay provides update on Aaron Judge contract extension

aaron judge, yankees

The New York Yankees would be a shell of themselves without star slugger Aaron Judge, who’s having an MVP-caliber season at the age of 30. Prior to the 2022 campaign, the Yankees offered Judge $30.5 million per season over seven years, which he graciously declined, taking a big risk on himself.

Judge has had his fair share of injury problems in the past, but he alleviated most of those concerns last year, featuring in 148 total games. The 6’7″, 282-pound power hitter batted .287 last season with a 37.3% on-base rate and .544 slugging percentage. However, he’s taking those numbers to another level this season, hitting .293 with a 36.8% on base rate and .638 slugging percentage.

To go with those incredible numbers, he’s launched 28 homers and collected 57 RBIs on a 24.6% strikeout rate, the lowest in his entire career. Judge is on pace for over 60 homers this season and has two walk-off hits in his last five games, both of them coming against the Houston Astros.

How can the Yankees properly evaluate Aaron Judge’s value?

There is no numerical value to gauge Judge’s value to the team, but general manager Brian Cashman and owner Hal Steinbrenner better be ready to open up the checkbook.

However, according to Michael Kay, the Yankees aren’t going to overpay Judge, who is seemingly deserving of every penny.

Similar to how the Yankees approached DJ LeMahieu’s contract last season, it seems as if they are lowballing Judge in hopes of settling on a more friendly deal. The only problem is that Judge has other suitors who would be more than willing to drop an exorbitant amount of cash to acquire his services.

Plenty of teams have already been thrown into the mix as potential free agent landing spots, notably the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants. Luckily for the Bombers, Judge has already indicated he wants to remain in pinstripes and loves playing in the Bronx.

If ownership is going to play a game of cat and mouse with Judge regarding his contract situation, they could end up losing out. Judge’s representatives aggressively declined Cashman’s offer just before the start of the regular season after he made the numbers public.

Things will likely operate a bit more low-key moving forward, but Judge wants upwards of $36 million per season, which would make him one of the highest-paid players in baseball. The question is, how many years does he want? At 30 years old, a 10-year contract would undoubtedly bite the Yankees in the butt down the road. A reasonable ‘out’ built into the deal should be a necessity.

Yankees might’ve landed another gem with flame-throwing relief pitcher

New York Yankees, Albert Abreu

When the New York Yankees realized they needed to add another catcher to the equation prior to the start of the 2022 season, they targeted Jose Treviño from the Texas Rangers. Luckily, Texas wasn’t looking for a massive haul, so the Yankees packaged together Albert Abreu and Robby Ahlstrom in exchange for the 29-year-old catcher.

Fast forward to late June and the Yankees now have Treviño and have brought Abreu back, essentially parting ways with Ahlstrom as the lone piece in the deal. Treviño has been phenomenal, posting a .270 average with a 32% on-base rate, six homers, and 23 RBIs. In fact, he’s blown everybody out of the water with his efficiency, both on offense and defense.

It was a testament to general manager Brian Cashman’s genius this past off-season watching Treviño catch Abreu on Monday night in an electric comeback win over the Oakland Athletics.

Abreu had been DFAd by both Texas and the Kansas City Royals before making his way back to the Bronx. He’s been lethal, throwing heat in the strike zone.

“When the news came that I was gonna come back and join the team again … it felt like hope, like I was getting hope again,” Abreu said through Yankees interpreter Marlon Abreu. “I had lost my confidence and just walking into the Stadium, walking through the doors, I felt a rush of energy and positive energy. And it just let me know that this is where I belong. I felt like a different person right there just walking in this clubhouse.”

The Yankees are getting the most out of Albert Abreu:

Management has been extremely happy with Abreu’s performance thus far. Over 3.1 innings for the Yankees, he features a 10.80 strikeouts per nine rate, 100% left on base rate, and is generating a 33.3% ground ball rate.

“Wow, I thought he was great,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He was pounding the strike zone. You see what he’s capable of when he’s pounding the strike zone. He’s efficient, his stuff was really good and it’s seven big outs.”

Abreu has primarily been utilizing his fastball and slider, essentially taking away his change-up. He’s been using his change up at 11.1% this year, which has dropped to 3.8% with the Yankees.

Pitching coach Matt Blake focuses heavily on sinker ball throwers, which is one of Albert’s primary pitches. Opposing batters are hitting just .190 with a .238 slugging percentage off Abreu sinker this year. Against his slider, they’re hitting .167 with a .222 slugging percentage, indicating great efficiency with both pitches.

Changing Abreu’s sequence strategy should help elevate his game tremendously. Especially as a relief arm that touches 98 mph on average with his fastball. There’s a lot of value left to untap. The Yankees have arguably the best pitching coach in baseball to help build on his skill set.

Yankees starting first baseman dodges injury bullet: ‘The whole arm just went dead there’

anthony rizzo, yankees

With the New York Yankees mounting a comeback against the Oakland Athletics on Monday evening, starting first baseman Anthony Rizzo stepped up to the plate in the 7th inning to try and make something happen.

Rizzo smashed a solo home run in the 1st inning to get the Yankees on the scoreboard, but down several runs and a chance to make a difference, he found his way on base, even if it stung a little bit. Rizzo was plunked in the elbow, staying in the game but was clearly in a ton of pain. Trainers helped him down the first baseline while he clutched his arm, waiting for the feeling to return.

“The whole arm just went dead there for a second,” Rizzo said. “I think when we just took the four-run lead there, just being smart. Going up to hit, I would’ve been fine to hit, but just being smart and getting on it right away definitely helped.”

The Yankees let him stay in the game to run the bases but pulled him in the 8th inning, slotting Matt Carpenter in at first base. When you are dealing with an impact player, it is always best to err on the side of caution.

“He got smoked pretty good in the elbow there,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Probably started to stiffen up on him. It was kinda like, let’s get him in, get some ice on it and try and nip this now.”

Rizzo has been a force for the Yankees in the batter’s box:

Rizzo has been phenomenal for the Yankees this season after signing a two-year, $32 million contract with an opt-out after the 2022 campaign. On the season, Rizzo is hitting .222 with a 33.7% on-base rate, 20 homers, and 50 RBIs. He is well on his way to smashing his personal record in the home run category (32).

Hopefully, the injury is nothing serious, and he can make a return on Wednesday against Oakland with Frankie Montas on the mound. The Bombers will need all of their best hitters available to gain leverage over a fantastic starting pitcher.

Yankees Rumors: Pirates star outfielder a ‘potential fit’ to replace Gallo

bryan reynolds, yankees, pirates

The New York Yankees have a big decision to make ahead of the trade deadline in the outfield: whether or not they should replace Joey Gallo.

Gallo has been awful this season as an offensive weapon, hitting a putrid .173 with nine homers and 18 RBIs over 207 plate appearances. Getting on base at a career-low 28.5% and slugging a measly .346, the Yankees shouldn’t have a problem deciding on Joey’s future with the team.

The question is, is there a team out there willing to trade for Gallo? He is under contract for the remainder of the 2022 season before becoming a free agent in 2023. Maybe the San Diego Padres are looking for a lefty slugger. They were interested before the season began after all.

The Yankees can go in a variety of different ways to replace Gallo, but one option that has bubbled to the surface is Pittsburgh Pirates star Bryan Reynolds.

Mark Feinsand of MLB.com believes Bryan Reynolds could be a perfect fit for the Yankees:

Reynolds’ name will continue to appear on lists of trade candidates for some time, as he remains under club control through 2025. But given the state of the Pirates’ rebuild and Reynolds’ recent play, GM Ben Cherington might find himself fielding very attractive offers. Reynolds got off to a dreadful start in 2022, but he’s been superb for the past month, slashing .304/.350/.563 in 29 games since May 25.

Reynolds hosts a .254 average with a 32.6% on-base rate, 12 homers, and 25 RBIs. His 23.7% strikeout rate has quickly been decreasing with great play in June. Offensively, he’s capable of providing fantastic production, recording a 38.3% hard-hit rate and 88.1 mph of exit velocity.

Defensively, Reynolds has spent time in center field and left field this season, earning a perfect fielding percentage in both. Theoretically, the Yankees could re-envisioned their outfield by acquiring Reynolds. They could transition Aaron Judge back to right field, inserting Reynolds in center, or do the exact opposite.

Aaron Hicks has voiced his displeasure over playing in left field to manager Aaron Boone, so he could move to right while Reynolds takes over in left, where he’s played 139 innings this season over 17 games.

The question is, how much would Reynolds cost the Yankees in prospects? The Pittsburgh Pirates have three years left of team control before Reynolds becomes a free agent in 2026. Acquiring him would cost an arm and a leg, specifically one of the team’s top young prospects and a package of notable players with upside.

It seems as if general manager Brian Cashman will take a more conservative approach at the deadline but expect rumors to be swirling as the Yankees look to make a World Series push after a phenomenal start to the 2022 season.

Yankees Injury Updates: Starting pitcher shines in rehab assignment, closer set for action

New York Yankees, Domingo german

The New York Yankees had an eventful Wednesday, packed full of positive news after winning the final game of the three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays down in Florida. With clutch hitting and great bullpen pitching, the team stepped up and showed once again how resilient they can be, despite losing two of their last three games prior to Wednesday’s win.

However, the team is also riding a high after starting pitcher Domingo German had a successful rehab assignment with single-A Tampa. German went three scoreless innings and is scheduled to make a return to the active roster within the next 30 days barring any setbacks.

“This is a big one,’’ Aaron Boone said after German’s outing.

What will German offer the Yankees upon his return?

German has been dealing with a shoulder issue for quite some time, posting a 4.58 ERA last season over 98 innings pitched. Domingo was a primary starter for the Bombers last year, but the rotation is set and his main impact may serve as a relief arm in the middle innings.

In 2021, German was only reaching 93.5 mph with his fastball, significantly down from 96.4 mph in 2017. With his velocity down, German is going to have to rely far more on his breaking ball, which could make him more hittable a few times through the batting order.

German will continue to work against live batters and prepare for a return next month.

Chapman is also fighting his way back:

In addition to German, closer Aroldis Chapman is also gearing up for a rehab game with double-A Somerset over the weekend. Chapman recently indicated that he will accept any role Boone wants to utilize him in upon his return. Chapman has already fought his way for the closer spot, similar to what Clay Holmes has achieved this season.

It is nice to see that Chapman is willing to give up the closer role to Holmes, helping the team wherever he can after spending a few weeks on the injured list with Achilles tendinitis. If the Yankees want a chance to win a World Series this year, some players are going to have to make sacrifices, and Chapman is willing to make a big one for the greater good of the team.

“I’ve already gone through that,” Chapman said of when he first became a closer with the Reds in 2012. “When I got to the major leagues, they gave me the opportunity to close and I took advantage of the opportunity. Pretty much the same thing is happening to [Holmes]. If he has that role, it is because he is doing well.”

The reason behind Jordan Montgomery dominating for the Yankees

New York Yankees, Jordan Montgomery

In 2021 Jordan Montgomery established himself as a solid starter for the Yankees. With a 3.83 ERA, 3.69 FIP, and 4.07 SIERA, he proved he’s more than just a 5 in your rotation. Montgomery had some doubters, but in 2022 he’s proving said doubters wrong. So far this season, he has improved on all of his peripheral and run prevention metrics, all while pitching deeper into games as well. This isn’t some fluke either, while I expect ERA regression from a 2.70 ERA, I also think he ends the season with a better ERA than what he had in 2021, even when adjusting for the low run-scoring environment in 2022. His pitch selection has improved, his stuff is better than ever, and Jordan Montgomery is here to stay.

Improved Sinking Fastball

Jordan Montgomery‘s sinker is moving more than it did in 2021, and it’s become his primary fastball. Montgomery’s sinker is much more equipped to jam hitters with 16.9″ of horizontal movement (also known as run) compared to 15.5″ the year prior. This has led to a spike in his groundball rate, with his 48.2% GB% ranking 16th in MLB. He avoids the barrel of the bat more than he did last year, boasting a mere 5.0% Barrel% (2.4% lower than 2021). His sinker bodes well in Statcast’s Run-Value metric as well, a metric that’s defined as “the run impact of an event based on the runners on base, outs, ball and strike count.” At -8 Run Value, his sinker is the 5th best pitch in terms of positively impacting run prevention. Last year, his sinker had a 5 Run Value, ranked 318th out of 353 pitchers.

The reason this is so important for Montgomery is that he’ll always be prone to bloop hits. When you give up a lot of soft contact, you’re prone to greater batted ball variance, leading to some unlucky hits. This is mediated when you give up a lot of groundballs and can get double plays instead of having to grind batter to batter to collect three outs when you’re getting blooped. No batted ball has a worse OPS than groundballs, and it’s been Montgomery’s calling card this season.

Attacking Batters More Than Ever

It’s no secret that getting ahead in a count is really important for good pitchers. Jordan Montgomery last year walked 7.7% of batters faced, an issue that stemmed from his habit of “nibbling.” In 2022 he’s attacked hitters more, as evident by his walk rate. In 2021 he walked 7.7% of batters, in 2022? A mere 3.8% BB%. When you’re a pitcher who relies on getting groundballs on your fastball and swings and misses on offspeed and breaking balls, it’s imperative to not allow free passes. His 3.8% BB% is the 5th lowest mark among qualified pitchers, and it’s allowed him to be hyper-efficient and pitch deeper into games. Part of being a frontline starter is the ability to provide volume on top of good per rate stats, and Montgomery has taken that in stride, and it’s a huge part of his progression.

He’s pitched like an ace this season, ranking 23rd in Win Probability Added among all qualified starting pitchers. If there’s a pitcher Jordan Montgomery bears the most resemblance to, it’s one of the greatest Yankees of all time.

Pitching Like Pettitte

In Andy Pettitte’s prime, from 1997-2005, he was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. Not only did he generate strong per rate stats, but he also had a ton of volume, which made him super valuable. Let’s take a look at his adjusted stats and compare them to Jordan Montgomery:

Andy Pettitte (1997-2005):
82 ERA-
79 FIP-
115 GB%+
106 K%+
81 BB%+

Jordan Montgomery (2021-2022):
84 ERA-
85 FIP-
105 GB%+
101 K%+
78 BB%+

Let me do a quick rundown of the stats listed here. ERA-, FIP-, and BB%+ are adjusted Earned Run Average, Fielding Independent Pitching, and Walk Percentage, they adjust for the run environment of your league, with the objective to be below 100 (which represents average). For example, Montgomery’s 84 ERA- means he’s 16% better at preventing runs than the average starter from 2021-2022.

K%+ and GB%+ are adjusted Strikeout Percentage and Groundball Percentage. Unlike with ERA-, FIP-, and BB+, you want this metric to be higher than 100. For example, Pettitte’s 115 GB%+ means his groundball rate was 15% better than the average starter pitching from 1997-2005.

As you can see here, obviously, Pettitte is the better pitcher; one is a borderline HOFer, and the other is a good pitcher. That being said, they pitch extremely similarly. Both rely on low walk rates, solid strikeout rates, and a ton of groundballs. Pettitte and Montgomery prevent runs at a similar rate, and both could grind through games to get outs. If Montgomery leans on this style of pitching going forward, he’s going to be a bulldog in this rotation and push to get big starts in October.

Jordan Montgomery has taken that next step as a starter for the Yankees, and it’s hard to imagine that after last year he could have gotten better, yet here we are. Gumby is that guy, and fans should take notice.

 

Good news and bad news as Yankees torch Ohtani in first leg of doubleheader

gleyber torres, yankees

The New York Yankees faced off against the Los Angeles Angels in the first leg of a doubleheader at 1 PM on Thursday afternoon. With a rain delay stopping the game at the top of the 9th inning, the Yankees were ahead by five runs by a score of 6–1.

If not for a miracle, the Yankees seem to have the game wrapped up ahead of the second leg of the doubleheader at 7 PM.

Good news and bad news as Yankees take first game of doubleheader:

In the 1st inning against SP Shohei Ohtani, newly signed infielder Matt Carpenter launched a second-tier blast to right field. The at-bat lasted 11 pitches, torturing Ohtani right out of the gate.

Shortly after Carpenter’s HR, Gleyber Torres recorded a solo shot, making it his third homer in five games. Torres is now hitting .256 on the season with a .500 slugging percentage. He recorded two hits and an RBI, doubling off the right-field wall in his second at-bat.

The Yankees recorded a total of 13 hits and six strikeouts. They got a ton of production from the bottom of their order, with Aaron Hicks, José Treviño, and Marwin Gonzalez combining for seven hits and an RBI.

The Yankees’ lineup has finally experienced a bit more consistency throughout, which has aided back-to-back stellar offensive performances. The Angels are currently on a six-game losing streak after the first game on Thursday, and the Yankees will be trying to piece together another win with Jameson Taillon on the mound in Game 2.

As for the team’s pitching, Nestor Cortes put together another excellent outing. He allowed five hits over 7.0 innings, walking two batters and striking out seven. Cortes currently has a 1.50 ERA on the season, but the bullpen quickly got into some trouble when Clarke Schmidt walked two batters and gave up two hits, allowing the Angels to get on the board with a run.

Luckily, Wandy Peralta was able to get through the rest of the inning without any further damage. The Yankees have now won two consecutive games and six of their last eight, somehow managing significant injury adversity.

Breaking down the New York Yankees starting infield for the 2022 season

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

After missing out on Freddie Freeman late Tuesday night, the New York Yankees went with their backup option, Anthony Rizzo at first base. It seems as if the 2022 starting infield is all but set. There is one remaining question, where is Gleyber Torres going to play?

If not for DJ LeMahieu signing a big contract extension last off-season, Torres would be slotted in at second base. LeMahieu could’ve started at first, leaving Torres at second, but the Yankees now have a big decision to make.

The Bombers may float the idea of trading Torres instead of trying to work around where he will feature this upcoming season unless they don’t plan on Josh Donaldson starting at third base, which would be incredibly foolish given the two years $50 million left on his contract.

Yankees starting infield for the 2022 season:

1B: Anthony Rizzo

Most would agree that Rizzo is a solid player that will hold down the fort at first for the next two seasons. On Tuesday, he signed a two-year, $32 million deal with the Yankees after hitting .249 with eight homers and 21 RBIs over 49 games last season. As a solid defender and good hitter, Rizzo could realistically hit 30+ homers at Yankee Stadium, but at 32 years old, we’ll have to wait and see if age begins to take its toll.

2B: DJ LeMahieu/Gleyber Torres 

Yankees currently have a pair of players at second base, LeMahieu, and Torres. Given DJ’s impeccable defensive acumen, that would suggest that Torres will be left off the starting team, which could indicate he’s used in a prospective trade this off-season.

Last year, Torres was moved from shortstop due to his poor defense, recording a .952 fielding percentage. Torres has a career .971 fielding percentage at second base, whereas LeMahieu features a .991 percentage. This is an easy decision for the Yankees regarding who will start, the more difficult one revolves around Torres and his value.

SS: Isiah Kiner-Falefa 

The Yankees were clearly hyper-focused on acquiring Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who was traded to the Minnesota Twins before making his way to the Bronx. Falefa has already indicated he’s been a Yankees fan his entire life, and after hitting .271 and posting fantastic defensive metrics during the 2021 season, he’s precisely what the Bombers were looking for in terms of a stopgap.

The Yankees will have two years of team control over Falefa before he hits free agency in 2024. That gives the team plenty of time to develop Anthony Volpe and prepare him for the big leagues.

3B: Josh Donaldson 

General manager Brian Cashman was forced to take on the contract of Josh Donaldson in the acquisition of Kiner-Falefa. A sizable amount, Donaldson has two years and $50 million left on his contract. As a primary slugger who hit 41 homers back in 2015, Donaldson fits the mold for the Yankees in the batter’s box. Last season, he smashed 26 homers and recorded a .247 average. Just two years ago with Atlanta, Donaldson hit 37 homers and 94 RBIs, posting a 15.2% walk rate to go with it.

At 36 years old, Donaldson is undoubtedly getting up there in age, which could impact his athleticism, but he can hold down the fort at third base in the meantime. Donaldson featured in 92 games last year at third, recording a .952 fielding percentage. That could be a justification for the retention of Torres since LeMahieu could shift over to the hot corner and supplement deficiencies if need be.