Yankees Off Season Thread

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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby T15D23 » Tue Dec 24, 2019 10:48 am

Yankees current payroll could derail plans for contract extensions
Mike Calendrillo

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The Yankees will have several high-priced free-agents following the 2020 season and a few players amid their arbitration years. So if you thought that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman had his work cut out this winter, just wait until next.

Every team has a World Series window of opportunity — that they can take advantage of because of budding stars still within their arbitration years, or by acquiring low(er) cost players that blossom before they are set to re-enter the open market. That’s where the Yankees currently find themselves.

Although the Yanks have not reached a Fall Classic since winning it all in 2009, in two out of the last three seasons, the Bombers have met the Houston Astros in the ALCS, only to come up short.

Signing Gerrit Cole to a nine-year, $324 million contract with a fifth-year opt-out and full no-trade clause, hopefully, gets this club over the October hump.

However early as it may seem to talk about next offseason, D.J. LeMahieu, James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka will become free agents.

LeMahieu was the steal of the decade last winter when he signed a two-year, $24 million deal. If he can duplicate his level of production from ’19, he’s in line for an enormous payday.

Tanaka is on the books for one last payment of $23 million, and Paxton is in his final year of arbitration, where he is estimated to command close to $13M.

While Tanaka was average during the 2019 regular-season, he’s been outstanding in the playoffs since joining the club in 2014. As for Paxton, a slow start to ’19 culminated in 10 consecutive wins down the stretch where he showed all the signs of a legit No. 2 that should benefit pitching behind Cole immensely.

Although Tanaka has learned how to pitch with a partially torn UCL effectively, he’s a ticking time bomb — and at 32, he’d need to take a drastic pay cut to stay in the Bronx.

Therefore, it may be more advantageous for the Yankees to give that extra money to Paxton and move No. 1 prospect Deivi Garcia into the rotation (if he’s ready). The club should still have Jordan Montgomery and Domingo German at its disposal as well — to round out the rotation.

Naturally, you’ll hear plenty of clamoring for the Yanks to buy out the remaining arbitration years with long-term contract extensions for the likes of Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and even Gleyber Torres, who is still pre-arbitration. It’s a growing trend in baseball that a team like the Braves has taken full advantage of with Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies.

However, low-cost salaries are the reason why Cole was signed, Aroldis Chapman re-signed, and Adam Ottavino inked last winter. Sure, it makes sense to lock up Judge and Torres, especially, for the next 7-10 years, but that will increase their salaries beginning in 2020, substantially. In turn, that could lessen the chances of bringing back LeMahieu, Paxton, or Tanaka next year due to the rising luxury tax threshold.

This isn’t the NFL; players aren’t going to hold out or demand a trade because they want their money now. While it may be in the clubs best interest to sign a young player sooner rather than later as to avoid extra millions, at this time, an exception exists.

As of today, the Yankees’ payroll is $240M. Throw in another $15M in player benefits, and $2.5M in minor-league salary, and the Yanks’ total luxury tax allocation is $258M — some $50M over the initial penalty. If the organization exceeds $248M (the highest penalty tier), not only would they incur a 75 percent penalty, but their top draft pick in 2021 would fall 10 spots.

Winning a World Series could change Hal Steinbrenner’s stance on any penalty he’s likely to incur next season. Because what’s an estimated $7M luxury tax bill when you’re making hundreds of millions in revenue due to championship No. 28. It worked out just fine for the 2018 Red Sox.

And it’s not like salary won’t come off the books. As you read this, Cashman is trying to unload J.A. Happ and his $17M contract this year (plus a vesting option for another $17M in 2021).

While Giancarlo Stanton could opt-out of the final eight years on his contract, I don’t see him leaving a $233M on the table — especially if 2020 resembles anything like last season.

Zack Britton also has a player option for $13 million in 2021; however, considering the ever-increasing price teams are giving to relief pitchers, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Britton pass on the final two-years, $27 million ($14M team option in ’22) to hit free agency in search of closer-type money.

Sure, Brett Gardner may retire following the 2020 season (or sign another one-year deal), and the Yanks will be entirely out from under Jacoby Ellsbury’s burden (depending on the outcome of the MLBPA grievance). Even still, the Yankees will be hard-pressed to re-up any players until the roster has been flushed out following next season. It’s a risk they’ll be forced to take unless Steinbrenner allocates even more funds for players already signed.
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby T15D23 » Tue Dec 24, 2019 10:50 am

New York Yankees news, rumors: Depth troubles, Josh Hader, when do the Yankees report?
Alexander Wilson

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Avoiding premium level free agents can be the difference between winning a World Series and falling short of one, which is the reality the New York Yankees faced in 2019. Signing Patrick Corbin last offseason might have given them the extra starter to make their goals attainable. While the rotation performed well in the playoffs, one dominant performance could have separated them from success.

General manager Brian Cashman didn’t let the luxury tax scare him away this year, as he inked Gerrit Cole to a nine-year, $324 million deal, and he might not be done yet. Milwaukee Brewers’ Josh Hader has developed into a hot commodity on the trade market, and Cashman is exploring a potential deal that would likely include Miguel Andujar, per Jon Heyman.

Yankees remain interested in Josh Hader and could begin a package with 3B Miguel Andujar (Brewers don’t really have a set 3B). Interested teams still aren’t totally convinced Milwaukee would move the star closer though.


Hader, 25, has four years of team control remaining on his contract, which makes him an even more enticing piece to add to the Yankees’ already finished puzzle.

This leads us into our rumors/news of the day:

The depth for the Yankees at catcher is problematic, as Kyle Higashioka will replace Austine Romine as the backup. Erik Kratz, 40, was also added to the team in hopes of extracting a bit of veteran savvy during the 2020 season. However, neither of these two players can be trusted to supplement Sanchez’s offensive production. The inevitable groin injury will force Higashioka into a more normalized role, and that could be ambiguous.

Cashman had choice words for Kyle, though, despite his lack of offensive efficiency last season. He stated that the reserve catcher had “elite power vs lefties.” His three home runs last season and .214 batting average might indicate otherwise. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bombers brought in another catcher to compete for the backup spot.

The Yankees get their spring training schedule:

Yankees pitchers and catchers report: Wed., Feb. 12

Major League pitchers and catchers first workout: Thurs., Feb. 13

Major League position players report: Mon., Feb. 17

First Yankees full-squad workout: Tues., Feb. 18
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby T15D23 » Tue Dec 24, 2019 10:52 am

The Blue Jays are a looming threat
Derek

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Quick note: things will be pretty quiet around here for the next few days. From everyone at the Views team: we hope you have a great holiday season and a happy new year!

A new team has entered the Yankees’ rearview mirror: the Blue Jays. Now, Toronto isn’t ready to challenge for the division title just yet. However, the club is on a trajectory to do so in the not so distant future. Already loaded with a stellar position player core, the Blue Jays are making a concerted effort to improve its pitching staff this winter. And it’s more than just a few free agent signings that point to a bright future.

We’ve already heard aplenty about guys Toronto’s position player core. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette are going to terrorize opponents for the next decade. But Toronto’s young pitching? Not so much. So, the Jays basically remade its rotation of the last two months. Hyun-Jin Ryu is not only the latest addition, but also one of the top pitchers in all of baseball. It’s the kind of move that can accelerate the start the team’s contention window.

Ryu is the reigning ERA champ and will be in Toronto for the next four years. They’ve signed him through his mid-30s, so there’s sure to be some decline in that run, but it’s a big addition nonetheless. And by adding veterans like Tanner Roark and Chase Anderson, they’ve raised the rotation’s floor. The moves have also given the team more time to develop young pitching internally. Namely, Nate Pearson, a consensus top-100 prospect who reached Triple-A this year.

This winter’s spending is a reminder that Blue Jays aren’t some small market franchise, by the way. If this developing core and revamped pitching staff mesh well in the coming years, the team shouldn’t have a problem keeping the gang together. Rogers Communications, a massive telecom company that generated $1.7 billion of free cash flow in 2018, owns the team. That makes the Blue Jays a rounding error. Now, Rogers’ willingness to spend on the team has been suspect. They’re not exactly in the baseball business, but perhaps this winter’s behavior is a sign of change. In any event, Toronto is capable of playing on the same financial playing field as the Yankees.

The Blue Jays may not threaten the Yankees for the division title in 2020, but they’re going to be a pest. And it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere for the early portion of the next decade. They still have a ways to go to catch the Yankees, but it’s not hard to envision Toronto fighting for division titles in the not too distant future.
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby T15D23 » Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:48 am

Mickey Mantle cried after strikeouts and 8 other surprising things Sam Miller learned this year
Sam Miller ESPN.com

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Mickey Mantle cried after strikeouts and 8 other surprising things Sam Miller learned this year

Bettmann via Getty Images
A nice thing about baseball is that, with scores of past seasons, thousands of past players and hundreds of thousands of past games -- in the majors alone! -- there's always backstory to catch up on and extended universe to fall into.

So this year, while we were enjoying the drama, superlatives and weirdness of the 2019 season, we were also continually learning new bits of drama, superlatives and weirdness from baseball's long past.

Here are nine totally unexpected things I learned about baseball this year:

1. In its first few years as home of the San Francisco Giants, Candlestick Park was blamed for as many as 19 fatal heart attacks.

The team's owner, Horace Stoneham, liked Candlestick Point for his new stadium in part because of how much room there was for parking. But those parking spaces (as well as the public transit drop-offs) were a long incline from the main entrance, and until the team built giant escalators, fans had no choice but to climb. Within weeks of the stadium opening, writers noticed a lot of people were dying at it. Among the fatalities, according to the book "Death At The Ballpark":

Columnist Herb Caen is generally credited with giving the slope its name: Cardiac Hill.

Before that park opened, the Giants had already hosted one fatal cardiac arrest: Francis Ahern, the city's police chief, died of a heart attack in the stands that might have been caused by a 15th-inning rally. According to "Death At The Ballpark," Ahern "had a heart attack while cheering a close play at the plate during the 15th inning of the second game of a doubleheader between the Giants and Dodgers at Seals Stadium on Sept. 1, 1958. With the score tied at 4 and the bases loaded for the second consecutive inning, Ahern stood with the crowd to yell as the Giants' Willie Kirkland raced for home. Just as the player was called out on what would have been the winning run, Ahern collapsed to the floor in front of his seat. After being administered last rites by two priests, the chief was taken to a first-aid station where he was pronounced dead." The Giants won in the bottom of the 16th.

2. Mickey Mantle sometimes cried when he struck out.


It's not uncommon to read of the sadness of retired athletes: Fame and mission dissipate, their marvelous physical machines break down, and long-term effects of pain and medication and surgery accumulate. We rarely get the glimpse of how sad great athletes are while they're playing -- but, of course, they sometimes are, just as we all sometimes are. Mantle cried when he struck out, according to his manager Casey Stengel, quoted in a Sports Illustrated profile in 1959. When the Yankees lost the 1960 World Series, Mantle "couldn't stop crying." And Jane Leavy writes in her Mantle biography, "The Last Boy": "Frank Petrillo kept him company one evening after a particularly trying day at the ballpark. 'He was actually crying,' Petrillo told his son. 'I can't perform any better than I'm performing, and it's not good enough.'"

Like every kid, I sometimes cried when I struck out. And I felt ashamed that I cried in front of teammates, that I'd been caught being sad. Then one time our best player, who seemed so much more confident and grown-up than I felt, also cried after he struck out. What a relief that was. And now Mickey Mantle, too! And, for that matter, in his own way, Babe Ruth. This is how he reacted to a disappointing 1922 season, according to Leigh Montville's biography, "The Big Bam": "He wondered if the critics were right about 1922 and if he was indeed finished. He was afraid 1923 wasn't going to be any better. He thought that people hated him, despite the attention and the cheers.

"He said he pretty much hated himself."

3. Hideki Matsui asked his hitting coach to listen to his swing over the phone.

That's from Robert Whiting's book "You Gotta Have Wa": Matsui "was such a perfectionist about proper form that he once telephoned his former manager and mentor Shigeo Nagashima back in Tokyo to have him listen to the sound of his bat as Matsui swung it. Did it cut through the air with the proper 'whoosh,' he wanted to know."

Nagashima -- perhaps the most popular player in Japanese baseball history; his wedding, in 1965, was "the most-watched TV program in Japan that year" -- was a perfectionist in his own right. He built a room in his house just for practicing his swing.

Image
Sam Jones, pictured here before a game, was pitching for the Giants in 1959 when a collision required a trainer to dislodge his trademark toothpick from his throat. Bill Bridges/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

4. The pitcher known as Toothpick Sam for his omnipresent toothpick chewing actually pitched with a toothpick in his mouth.

This is just terrifying to me. Toothpick Sam Jones wasn't some knuckleballer or control lefty who threw with 70 percent effort. He was a hard thrower who led the league in strikeouts three times in the 1950s (and in walks four times), and he did it all while a potentially lethal dagger was balanced about two inches away from his throat.

My initial hypothesis was that toothpicks in the 1950s must not have been like they are now -- surely Jones was gnawing on some flimsy, reedy toothpick, far more benign than the modern little spears we chew today. But that is definitely not true, says Henry Petroski, a professor of civil engineering at Duke and the author of "The Toothpick: Technology and Culture."

"Toothpicks in 1950s America were much better made than those of today," he told us. "The older picks were made domestically -- almost exclusively in Maine -- and the better brands, at least, were of high quality control. Today, virtually all toothpicks sold in America are made abroad, mostly in China. They break easily. Old American toothpicks did not have these deficiencies. ... The sharpness of good old toothpicks could be a hazard, as you suggest. I have an entire chapter on the dangers of using toothpicks and relate stories of deadly accidents involving them." (A researcher in 1984 estimated 8,000 toothpick injuries per year, including some deaths by swallowing.)

Jones did eschew what he considered the most dangerous toothpicks -- "those perfumed quill kind," he told Time magazine; he also never used the gold toothpick the Cubs gifted him, according to Cubs historian Ed Hartig -- but his preferred flat-style toothpicks did impale him at least once. Rory Costello, who wrote Jones' SABR biography, passed along this anecdote:

"Another example of his competitive fire was visible on Aug. 6, 1959. Against Milwaukee, Hank Aaron's fifth-inning blooper dropped into short left field. Jim Davenport and Ed Bressoud collided, Aaron motored for third, and Jones covered. Aaron came in hard, spiking the pitcher's right knee -- and driving Sam's toothpick into his throat. Trainer Bob Bauman dislodged the pick, though, and Jones went on to record a 7-1, complete-game win."

After Jones retired, U L Washington -- a speedy utility player -- became the toothpick guy: "U L always played with a blade of Bermuda grass in his mouth in high school. He kept up the habit in the minor leagues. Kansas City had artificial turf, so the toothpick was his adaptation to not having a blade of grass available." According to Petroski's book, Washington quit the habit because mothers worried their children would emulate him. The most recent example of toothpicking ballplayers is probably the Cuban hurler Jonder Martinez, who was spotted pitching with a toothpick in a 2015 international tournament and in a 2016 exhibition between Cuba and Tampa Bay.

5. In 1974, an umpire called pitches while the manager was on the field, about one foot away, still arguing.

The manager was Jim Marshall, who had just been hired by the Cubs midseason to his first managerial job. The umpire was Shag Crawford, most famous for being the home plate umpire in the Juan Marichal/John Roseboro game. The batter was the Cubs' Bill Madlock. He and the pitcher, Al Hrabosky, were engaged in a battle of stalls, each one taking long walks just when the other was ready. Crawford ordered Madlock into the box, and Marshall ran out to argue. The umpire told Hrabosky to pitch, and with Marshall standing over him, Crawford called Hrabosky's high fastball a strike. This set off pandemonium: Jose Cardenal jumped into the batter's box -- the wrong batter -- and, as Hrabosky wound to throw another pitch, Marshall moved in front of the catcher to prevent it. Then Madlock ran into the batter's box, apparently intent on swinging at the pitch, even though his teammate Cardenal was also in the box. The catcher, Ted Simmons, shoved Marshall aside to catch the pitch, which (thankfully) came in too high and tight for Madlock to swing at. The catcher then punched Madlock, and then there was a brawl. Roger Angell wrote about it. It's wild.



Mickey Mantle cried after strikeouts and 8 other surprising things Sam Miller learned this year

Bettmann via Getty Images
A nice thing about baseball is that, with scores of past seasons, thousands of past players and hundreds of thousands of past games -- in the majors alone! -- there's always backstory to catch up on and extended universe to fall into.

So this year, while we were enjoying the drama, superlatives and weirdness of the 2019 season, we were also continually learning new bits of drama, superlatives and weirdness from baseball's long past.

Here are nine totally unexpected things I learned about baseball this year:

1. In its first few years as home of the San Francisco Giants, Candlestick Park was blamed for as many as 19 fatal heart attacks.

The team's owner, Horace Stoneham, liked Candlestick Point for his new stadium in part because of how much room there was for parking. But those parking spaces (as well as the public transit drop-offs) were a long incline from the main entrance, and until the team built giant escalators, fans had no choice but to climb. Within weeks of the stadium opening, writers noticed a lot of people were dying at it. Among the fatalities, according to the book "Death At The Ballpark":

Columnist Herb Caen is generally credited with giving the slope its name: Cardiac Hill.

Before that park opened, the Giants had already hosted one fatal cardiac arrest: Francis Ahern, the city's police chief, died of a heart attack in the stands that might have been caused by a 15th-inning rally. According to "Death At The Ballpark," Ahern "had a heart attack while cheering a close play at the plate during the 15th inning of the second game of a doubleheader between the Giants and Dodgers at Seals Stadium on Sept. 1, 1958. With the score tied at 4 and the bases loaded for the second consecutive inning, Ahern stood with the crowd to yell as the Giants' Willie Kirkland raced for home. Just as the player was called out on what would have been the winning run, Ahern collapsed to the floor in front of his seat. After being administered last rites by two priests, the chief was taken to a first-aid station where he was pronounced dead." The Giants won in the bottom of the 16th.

2. Mickey Mantle sometimes cried when he struck out.

It's not uncommon to read of the sadness of retired athletes: Fame and mission dissipate, their marvelous physical machines break down, and long-term effects of pain and medication and surgery accumulate. We rarely get the glimpse of how sad great athletes are while they're playing -- but, of course, they sometimes are, just as we all sometimes are. Mantle cried when he struck out, according to his manager Casey Stengel, quoted in a Sports Illustrated profile in 1959. When the Yankees lost the 1960 World Series, Mantle "couldn't stop crying." And Jane Leavy writes in her Mantle biography, "The Last Boy": "Frank Petrillo kept him company one evening after a particularly trying day at the ballpark. 'He was actually crying,' Petrillo told his son. 'I can't perform any better than I'm performing, and it's not good enough.'"

Like every kid, I sometimes cried when I struck out. And I felt ashamed that I cried in front of teammates, that I'd been caught being sad. Then one time our best player, who seemed so much more confident and grown-up than I felt, also cried after he struck out. What a relief that was. And now Mickey Mantle, too! And, for that matter, in his own way, Babe Ruth. This is how he reacted to a disappointing 1922 season, according to Leigh Montville's biography, "The Big Bam": "He wondered if the critics were right about 1922 and if he was indeed finished. He was afraid 1923 wasn't going to be any better. He thought that people hated him, despite the attention and the cheers.

"He said he pretty much hated himself."

3. Hideki Matsui asked his hitting coach to listen to his swing over the phone.

That's from Robert Whiting's book "You Gotta Have Wa": Matsui "was such a perfectionist about proper form that he once telephoned his former manager and mentor Shigeo Nagashima back in Tokyo to have him listen to the sound of his bat as Matsui swung it. Did it cut through the air with the proper 'whoosh,' he wanted to know."

Nagashima -- perhaps the most popular player in Japanese baseball history; his wedding, in 1965, was "the most-watched TV program in Japan that year" -- was a perfectionist in his own right. He built a room in his house just for practicing his swing.


Sam Jones, pictured here before a game, was pitching for the Giants in 1959 when a collision required a trainer to dislodge his trademark toothpick from his throat. Bill Bridges/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images
4. The pitcher known as Toothpick Sam for his omnipresent toothpick chewing actually pitched with a toothpick in his mouth.

This is just terrifying to me. Toothpick Sam Jones wasn't some knuckleballer or control lefty who threw with 70 percent effort. He was a hard thrower who led the league in strikeouts three times in the 1950s (and in walks four times), and he did it all while a potentially lethal dagger was balanced about two inches away from his throat.

My initial hypothesis was that toothpicks in the 1950s must not have been like they are now -- surely Jones was gnawing on some flimsy, reedy toothpick, far more benign than the modern little spears we chew today. But that is definitely not true, says Henry Petroski, a professor of civil engineering at Duke and the author of "The Toothpick: Technology and Culture."

The good, the bad ... and the Tigers

Ranking all 30 MLB teams based on their 2019 goals. Sam Miller »
"Toothpicks in 1950s America were much better made than those of today," he told us. "The older picks were made domestically -- almost exclusively in Maine -- and the better brands, at least, were of high quality control. Today, virtually all toothpicks sold in America are made abroad, mostly in China. They break easily. Old American toothpicks did not have these deficiencies. ... The sharpness of good old toothpicks could be a hazard, as you suggest. I have an entire chapter on the dangers of using toothpicks and relate stories of deadly accidents involving them." (A researcher in 1984 estimated 8,000 toothpick injuries per year, including some deaths by swallowing.)

Jones did eschew what he considered the most dangerous toothpicks -- "those perfumed quill kind," he told Time magazine; he also never used the gold toothpick the Cubs gifted him, according to Cubs historian Ed Hartig -- but his preferred flat-style toothpicks did impale him at least once. Rory Costello, who wrote Jones' SABR biography, passed along this anecdote:

"Another example of his competitive fire was visible on Aug. 6, 1959. Against Milwaukee, Hank Aaron's fifth-inning blooper dropped into short left field. Jim Davenport and Ed Bressoud collided, Aaron motored for third, and Jones covered. Aaron came in hard, spiking the pitcher's right knee -- and driving Sam's toothpick into his throat. Trainer Bob Bauman dislodged the pick, though, and Jones went on to record a 7-1, complete-game win."

After Jones retired, U L Washington -- a speedy utility player -- became the toothpick guy: "U L always played with a blade of Bermuda grass in his mouth in high school. He kept up the habit in the minor leagues. Kansas City had artificial turf, so the toothpick was his adaptation to not having a blade of grass available." According to Petroski's book, Washington quit the habit because mothers worried their children would emulate him. The most recent example of toothpicking ballplayers is probably the Cuban hurler Jonder Martinez, who was spotted pitching with a toothpick in a 2015 international tournament and in a 2016 exhibition between Cuba and Tampa Bay.

5. In 1974, an umpire called pitches while the manager was on the field, about one foot away, still arguing.

The manager was Jim Marshall, who had just been hired by the Cubs midseason to his first managerial job. The umpire was Shag Crawford, most famous for being the home plate umpire in the Juan Marichal/John Roseboro game. The batter was the Cubs' Bill Madlock. He and the pitcher, Al Hrabosky, were engaged in a battle of stalls, each one taking long walks just when the other was ready. Crawford ordered Madlock into the box, and Marshall ran out to argue. The umpire told Hrabosky to pitch, and with Marshall standing over him, Crawford called Hrabosky's high fastball a strike. This set off pandemonium: Jose Cardenal jumped into the batter's box -- the wrong batter -- and, as Hrabosky wound to throw another pitch, Marshall moved in front of the catcher to prevent it. Then Madlock ran into the batter's box, apparently intent on swinging at the pitch, even though his teammate Cardenal was also in the box. The catcher, Ted Simmons, shoved Marshall aside to catch the pitch, which (thankfully) came in too high and tight for Madlock to swing at. The catcher then punched Madlock, and then there was a brawl. Roger Angell wrote about it. It's wild.


I learned so many good stories about brawls, fights, unprovoked attacks, fan violence, and so on:

6. Orlando Cepeda sued a magazine for saying he wasn't very good.

According to James Hirsch's "Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend," the article in Look magazine was based in part on Giants manager Alvin Dark's "secret grading system" for his players, which involved a series of pluses and minuses for virtually anything Dark could think of. Dark concluded that Cepeda had a lot of minuses, and Look quoted him.

So Cepeda sued the publishers of Look for $1 million. The original article had come out just before the Supreme Court case New York Times Company v. Sullivan was decided, codifying a much higher standard for libel against public figures, and after that decision Cepeda had a difficult case to prove. Mays and Giants owner Stoneham, among others, testified in court on Cepeda's behalf, but a jury ruled against him. An appeals court in 1967 agreed. "About the only satisfaction that Cepeda received came when a judge ordered [article author Tim] Cohane to spend 10 days in jail for refusing to answer questions in federal court about the story. Cohane would not reveal the names of his sources, the ones that had criticized Cepeda."

7. Marshall McLuhan also said baseball was dying.

In his 1964 book "Understanding Media," the famous media theorist -- "The medium is the message," "Annie Hall" -- wrote that baseball was not a suitable sport for television, or for a television era.

"The removal of the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles was a portent in itself. Baseball moved West in an attempt to retain an audience after TV struck. The characteristic mode of the baseball game is that it features one-thing-at-a-time. It is a lineal, expansive game which, like golf, is perfectly adapted to the outlook of an individualist and inner-directed society. Timing and waiting are of the essence, with the entire field in suspense waiting upon the performance of a single player. By contrast, football, basketball, and ice hockey are games in which many events occur simultaneously, with the entire team involved at the same time. With the advent of TV, such isolation of the individual performance as occurs in baseball became unacceptable. Interest in baseball declined, and its stars, quite as much as movie stars, found that fame had some very cramping dimensions."

He goes on from there but, of course, baseball did, too: Attendance per game is more than double what it was in 1964, and TV revenue has made it a $10 billion-a-year game.

In the same genre -- famous experts trying, with mixed results, to apply their expertise to baseball -- here's the current director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, in 1992. He was then the chief economist for Bear Stearns, and he was forecasting the sport's doom based on rising salaries:

"In the 1980s nobody thought you could pay too much for real estate, but by the end of the '80s that bubble had burst. Baseball is not immune to speculative bubbles that burst. Any business that continues to permit high cost increases year in and year out becomes a suspect business. Look at [General Motors], at Ford." McLuhan's theory remains arguable today, though changing media obviously didn't destroy (or necessarily even damage) baseball. Kudlow got it all the way wrong.

8. The fan who showed up at SkyDome in Toronto in 1995 with a loaded handgun and declared she was there to kill Roberto Alomar was banned from the stadium -- for three years.

The fan was convicted and sentenced to nine months in prison and three years' probation, and prohibited from receiving a handgun permit for 10 years. The sentence the Blue Jays handed down is fascinatingly forgiving in comparison. If she had violated her probation, she could have been legally imprisoned longer than she was prohibited from seeing Pat Kelly.

I doubt it's the intentional point, but baseball occasionally makes rather bold decisions that nobody should be deprived of it. In September 1929, the Yankees' manager, Miller Huggins, died in the middle of a game. (He wasn't at the game -- he was hospitalized with "blood poisoning brought on by an infection beneath his left eye.") This was an awfully emotional time. The Yankees' owner said Huggins was less like a manager than a son. Lou Gehrig said he was less like a manager than a father. So it's the fifth inning, and this beloved manager had just died, and they called the Yankees together to tell them, and they halted the game -- for exactly one minute, timed on an umpire's stopwatch. Then they started playing again!

As the New York Times' account jarringly put it: "They stood at the home plate, a few fidgeting with their toes in the dust, some with their shoulders or heads quivering but most of them stonily immovable. Then they turned and trudged back to their dugout on the third-base flank of the grand stand. The scene became a ball game again." The Yankees won in extra innings and, as the next day's headline proclaimed, clinched second place.

9. One major league baseball will travel as much as 30 feet farther than another baseball in the same batch, based on minute physical differences nobody in the manufacturing process can really control -- and which, in fact, scientists still haven't identified.

It's not just that the physical characteristics of the baseball used in the major leagues seem to have changed from year to year recently, leading to huge spikes in home run rates in 2017 and 2019. It's that the ball changes from batch to batch, and from ball to ball within a batch, suggesting that a fair amount of what happens on a particular swing is based on which of five or six balls in his pouch an umpire puts in play. And it has probably always been this way: "That is kind of fundamental to the equipment choice we've made," said Morgan Sword, senior VP of league economics and operations. "I mean, it's always been the case. The baseball has varied in its performance probably for the entire history of our sport."

So: Babe Ruth's called shot might have been merely an embarrassing fly out had the umpire grabbed a different ball. Willie Mays might have had plenty of time to casually flag down Vic Wertz's fly ball in the 1954 World Series -- or no chance to reach it at all if the pitch before had simply been fouled out of play. When Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball was sold for $3 million, the buyer didn't get just a memento of the record, but, perhaps, an actor in it.
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby T15D23 » Thu Dec 26, 2019 12:08 pm

Yankees YES network ratings plummet – welcome to Major League Baseball 2020
The Yankees, despite winning 103 games last season, took an astounding 17.6% drop in the viewing of their games on YES. It's not their fault, though...

Steve Contursi

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The Yankees appear to be in a panic mode as they see ratings drop dramatically from 2018-2019 in games televised by their child YES Network.

The impending deal with bemouth Amazon is enough to send chills running down the spine of any Yankees fan – and what it will mean to everyday access to Yankees’ regular-season games.

Yankees and YES – fitting the square peg in a round hole

But the fact is the Yankees, along with Major League Baseball (MLB) itself, may merely be trying to put a square peg in a round hole when they seek ways to increase television viewership.

Even as MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred continues his controversial quest to reduce the time it takes to complete a major league game.

But in the end, what does it matter? A slicing of ten minutes is supposed to mean something to fans?

Much like NFL games, major league contests are a three-hour commitment of a fan’s time -give or take a minute or two.

The inconvenient marriage of baseball and television

The similarities end there, though. Football has a clock and three downs to continue possession, while the only watch on baseball is three outs.

A half-inning can take two minutes or twenty minutes on the viewer’s clock.

Hold on if you think I’m going there. The absence of a governing clock is the beauty of baseball contained in the theory that a single game could last – forever in time and space.

But we’re talking about sitting down in our favorite chair or couch – and today on our laptop or phone – to watch a Yankees game on YES or any regional sports network.

Baseball affords us a minimum of eighteen opportunities between innings during a telecast to change the channel, get up to pursue another activity or chore, or spend some time with that ignored special someone.

Yankees – Too much of a good thing

And that, of course, doesn’t include interruptions (i.e., commercials) during pitching changes and replays.

The entire episode with YES is odd not only because the Yankees are a winning team, and we can only imagine what’s going on with the ratings in Detroit, but because baseball is (regretfully) not conducive to television.

Radio? – Absolutely. And there’s nothing better than sitting on the back deck on a warm summer night sucking on a beer – while the world and the day’s stress stands still – listening to the strum of ball one, just a little off the plate.

And before anyone goes there, the YES crew of broadcasters that includes the banter between David Cone and Paul O’Neill is among the best in baseball.

I consider myself an avid fan of the Yankees, and except for West Coast games, always tuned – but only for a portion of the televised games on YES.

I can’t remember the last time I saw the winning run cross the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning of a game played at Yankee Stadium when I tuned in from the first pitch of the game. And I don’t suspect I am alone.

Remembering we are trying to put a square peg in a round hole, there are a few things YES and other regional networks can try to “liven things up.”

Changes? Mmm, not so easy…

Why not, for instance, in the middle of the second, fifth, and seventh innings – instead of a commercial offer a profile on – take your pick of any player in the game that day?

And in between the third, sixth, and eighth innings – charge the analysts with recapping the game from a player’s perspective and what might be coming up in the game?

Less is more. Fewer commercials translate into increased viewership (ratings), which in turn become a higher asking price for each ad. What’s so hard about that?

I can’t imagine how a nineteen-year-old Yankees fan, with all that pent-up energy, can be expected to sit through a 3:10 or even a 2:38 game on Television as it’s presented to us today.

At 72, I can recall the days when less was more – and what a treat it was to watch televised games on weekends only. Overexposure is ruining YES just like MTV ruined Boy George. Why is anyone surprised?

(BRONX ZOO NOTE: The decrease in viewership was primarily due to the inordinate amount of rain delays as well as rain outs that baseball experienced in 2019, not lack of viewer interest)
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby T15D23 » Thu Dec 26, 2019 12:11 pm

Yankees fans will throw Gerrit Cole’s $324 million contract in his face, Bernie Williams says
Brendan Kuty

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New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole tries on his cap as he is introduced as the baseball club's newest player during a media availability, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 in New York. The pitcher agreed to a 9-year, $324 million contract. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

There might be times when making $324 million might not feel so great to new Yankees ace Gerrit Cole.

If Yankees legend Bernie Williams is right, fans will look to bash the right-hander over his record nine-year contract — if he doesn’t live up to sky-high expectations.

“He’s a player that has come into the city with a lot of expectations,” Williams said a video published on MLB.com on Dec. 16. “Obviously, every time he doesn’t do well with side of the expectations, they’re going to throw his contract in.”

Williams’ borderline Hall of Fame career saw him spend 16 years playing in the Bronx and winning four World Series titles.

The six-time All-Star center fielder made $103.1 million from the Yankees, according to Baseball Reference.

He knows something about playing with big contracts, too. After the 1998 season, the Yankees gave Williams a seven-year, $87.5-million deal. It was a monster-sized contract at the time.

The Yankees think Cole is a good bet, however. And for good reason. At 29 years old, Cole should be smack in the middle of his athletic prime, and last year he went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA in 33 starts with the Astros last year.

“But he just has to stay the course,” Williams said. "He obviously has a lot of confidence in his ability to play the game and to pitch. New York is going to challenge that ability and confidence, in many ways.

“So, I think, in order for him to be successful, he just has to go back to what made him successful and stick with that plan and no matter what happens, no matter what the distractions and everything New York can throw at him, he has to stay firm with his course and have that confidence in his ability that brought him in the first place to New York.”
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby T15D23 » Thu Dec 26, 2019 12:13 pm

New York Yankees starting pitcher welcomes Gerrit Cole with open arms
Alexander Wilson

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The moment the news broke that New York Yankees signed star pitcher Gerrit Cole to a nine-year, $324 million deal, the starters in the rotation began to celebrate with joy, starting with Luis Severino via Twitter. Adding such a lucrative arm to the mix should give the Bomber’s a significant boost in the efficiency department, and it should make their playoff hopes even more realistic.

Cole, 29, earned a 2.50 ERA with 326 strikeouts in 2019, both career-highs, which makes him not only the best pitcher on the Yankees but arguably in all of baseball. Some might believe that the other starters on the other team would feel threatened by his presence, but most were happy to realize they are in line to contend for a World Series title in 2020.

James Paxton, who will likely slot in as the No. 3 starter, was excited and welcoming to Cole.

“I heard the rumblings,” Paxton told MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM recently. “I was excited about it. I know Gerrit from quite a few years ago, we spent some time together. Obviously, the best pitcher on the planet, and I’m really excited to learn from him and pitch with him as well.

“I’ve watched other guys have some great runs and I think Gerrit was unbeaten for quite a long time last year. I think he lost a game in May and then not until the postseason he lost again.”


The pressure that accompanies playing in New York hasn’t escaped Paxton’s conscious, as the expectations fro Yankee fans are forever increasing, and adding Cole only contributes to that reality.

“I feel like when you’re playing in New York that there’s a little extra pressure because you know you’re supposed to win,” he said. “You know that everyone expects us to win so there’s just that extra little bit of pressure you put on yourself and sometimes that can be hard to get used to.”


With a rotation including Cole, Severino, Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Jordan Montgomery, and potentially J.A. Happ/Michael King, the Yanks are in an advantageous position moving forward. Add new pitching coach Matt Blake to the mix, and the progression of the unit should take a significant step in the right direction.
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby T15D23 » Thu Dec 26, 2019 12:14 pm

Yankees new pitching coach Matt Blake has some learning to do in spring training
Kristie Ackert

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Yankees new pitching coach Matt Blake, l, has something work to do to help new pitcher Gerrit Cole, c, and the rest of the arms in the Bronx. (Mike Stobe/Getty)

Gerrit Cole cut to the chase. The Yankees had brought a contingent out to Newport Beach to try and impress him. Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone were there to do the heavy lifting. They brought along Andy Pettitte to talk to him about a transition from Houston to the Bronx. They even included newly-hired pitching coach Matt Blake to show the 29-year-old right-hander they were on-board with the advances in pitching that he had access to with the analytics-driven Astros.

Yet, Cole had one very pertinent question for Blake: Have you ever gone out to a mound and had to help a pitcher in game?

“I said, ‘Not at the major league level.’ In joking I hope he is not worried about me needing to make mound visits with him,’’ Blake said last Wednesday at Cole’s introductory press conference. “I am inexperienced, and that’s something we need to embrace. Inexperienced in some ways but experienced in others, just understanding the information and the tools that are available.”

Cole raises a concern the Yankees will have to address head-on going into spring training. Blake comes in to replace veteran pitching coach Larry Rothschild with high praise from the role of pitching coordinator in Cleveland — but no experience in a major league dugout.

Blake is well versed in the use of high-tech cameras and technology to improve pitching and with a degree in psychology from Holy Cross, he is praised for his ability to take the big data now used in baseball, and boil it down to understandable and useful information the pitchers can implement.

Blake has worked with major league pitchers, mostly at the minor league level and outside of organized baseball. His work was seen with Cleveland’s 2019 team, with five young starters — Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac, Adam Plutko and Aaron Civale. They combined to produce a 13.3 WAR, according to Fangraphs, over 107 games in 2019.

“We went through a pretty rigorous process," Boone said of his hiring, "interviewing the different candidates and really got excited about what we saw from Matt, and his potential, and the impact he’s already had as a young man and in this profession. We feel like he played a big role in some of the Cleveland stuff that’s gone on and feel like he has a chance to really grow into being really special in this position.”

The Yankees committed $36 million (Gerrit Cole’s AAV) into pitching for the next nine years after already investing heavily into their bullpen. The Yankees are turning the reins to that stable over to the analytics department and a young man who has yet to prove himself.

Cole is a pretty self-developed pitcher. He described himself as more of an “art” of pitching guy who uses the “science” to back up his work and it seems Blake will just have to support his work.

“I have a wealth of knowledge that I have accumulated over the last seven years," Cole said. “And I like to make adjustments, and then watch the analytics prove me wrong or prove me right. I don’t like to really look at the analytics and try to make an adjustment or make a craft kind of that way. I like to really focus on the art first and let the data back it up.”

If Blake can just keep Cole on the track he has been the last two years, he will be hailed as a genius.

In the last two years he went 15-5 with a 2.88 ERA in 2018, then 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA a major league-high 326 strikeouts last season, finishing second to teammate Justin Verlander in AL Cy Young Award balloting.

Blake seems to understand the bottom line is Cole can make him look good at his new job.

“Anytime you think about being a pitching coach you want the best tools and the best players," Blake said. "When [Brian Cashman] called after we were close to an agreement, he said, ‘I think we might have made you a better pitching coach.’ I think that is an understatement.’’
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby T15D23 » Thu Dec 26, 2019 12:19 pm

Injuries Cost Dellin Betances A Long Career With The Yankees & The Mets Are Banking On His Past Dominance
Larry Fleisher

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NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 3: Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees pitches

The expectations were high right after his first pro season when Dellin Betances was named by Baseball America as the third-best Yankees prospect following the 2006 season. This was just a few months after the Yankees drafted him as an eighth-round pick out of Brooklyn’s Grand Street Campus and gave him a $1 million signing bonus for him to forgo a commitment to Vanderbilt where he would have been a college teammate of David Price, Mike Minor and Pedro Alvarez.

Scroll further in Baseball America’s mention of the 2006 top Yankees prospects, Betances was projected by the publication to be the Yankees’ third starter in the 2010 season.

Between the time of his first pro season and by the time he became a dominant late-inning reliever in 2014, Betances was regarded as the seventh-best prospect entering 2008, back to No. 3 entering 2009 and not on any prospect list going into 2010 due to injuries. After the 2010 season, he was back to No. 3 following a impressive recovery and going into 2012 – following a brief cameo in 2011 in the Bronx – he was No. 3.

Things often don’t work out as projections or forecasts. Just ask some of the other prospects who have come and gone over the years for the Yankees such as the other members of the “Killer B’s – Manny Banuelos and Andrew Brackman but for Betances, with the exception of an injury-plagued 2019, they worked out well except as a standout reliever starting in the 2014 season and it what the Mets are banking on when they signed him to a one-year, $10.5 million on Tuesday.



Coming off some of those seasons, it was natural to think Betances would command the kind of contracts the Yankees gave to Adam Ottavino (three years, $27 million) or Zack Britton (three years, $39) or the contract David Robertson commanded (four years, $40 million) with the Chicago White Sox following the 2014 season when he successfully succeeded in the closer’s role after Mariano Rivera retired.

The Yankees are already well fortified in the bullpen and once the injuries hit it seemed unlikely Betances would be re-signed. It also seemed unlikely Betances would get similar money as Ottavino or Britton and that turned out accurate when terms of his contract were released, giving off the impression the Mets are proceeding with caution in assessing Betances’ value.

Before the injuries, Betances was a dominant reliever for five seasons and made the All-Star team in four straight seasons. He pitched to a miniscule 2.22 ERA with a dominant 14.6 strikeouts per nine innings even with the occasional struggles and the struggles in the 2017 postseason.

He was poised to get one of those bigger deals coming off the 2018 season when he fanned 115 in 66 2/3 innings with a 2.70 ERA. In those five seasons, he struck out 100 batters each time, appeared in no less than 66 games, never had an ERA under 3.08, never recorded a WHIP over 1.22 and never allowed more than seven homers despite pitching home games at Yankee Stadium.

All of those gaudy numbers came as he pitched 373 1/3 innings – the most amongst any reliever from 2014-2018. Those accolades and numbers to a crashing halt when his velocity was noticeably down during spring training and he was diagnosed with right shoulder impingement — the same injury that has sidelined Nets star Kyrie Irving since Nov. 14.

Then came more injuries as Betances also sustained a lat injury and positive news about his progress was slow to develop. He was activated from the injured list Sept. 15 when manager Aaron Boone said:

“Hopefully these couple final weeks of the season, he'll get some significant outings and continue to get built up and be a big part of what we do moving forward in the month of October,"

And those comments never worked out as planned as Betances tore his Achilles’ by doing of all things celebrating getting his first two strikeouts of the season.

By the time the playoffs rolled around, Betances was in crutches cheering on his teammates against the Twins and Astros.

And two months later, the five years Betances produced as an All-Star reliever are the basis for a contract in New York – just with the Mets, who cited that in their press release.

“Dellin is one of the elite relievers in the game with an incredible track record of pitching on the biggest stage and in playoff games,” Mets Executive Vice President and General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen said in the press release. “This is a tremendously exciting gift for Mets fans this holiday season in our championship pursuit.”

It wasn’t long ago to think the Yankees might make similar statements upon re-signing Betances, at least those not named Randy Levine, who famously sparred with him in a contentious arbitration hearing in Feb. 2017 that ultimately paid the right-hander $3 million and not the requested $5 million. This came after Betances produced a third straight All-Star season while being paid $507,500 in 2016.

Ultimately the injuries cost Betances a chance to carve out a long and storied career as a Yankee. The reputation and experience gained from five dominant seasons helped him get a chance at bouncing back from a serious injury and one New York team was willing to keep the former New York City Public High School League star at home.
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Re: Yankees Off Season Thread

Postby T15D23 » Thu Dec 26, 2019 12:20 pm

The Blue Jays will be the Yankees’ biggest AL East competition in the 2020s
With a core of superb young talent, Toronto will be on the rise in the next decade.
Joe LoGrippo

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Throughout most of the 2010s, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees ran the American League East. Boston won the division four times, while the Yankees took home the title three times. In fact, they were the only teams in the AL East that won the division more than once over the last 10 seasons. The Rays, Orioles and Blue Jays all captured one division title. However, the Toronto Blue Jays have built a young core with uber-talented players who have just finished their first season together. Both Toronto and New York could be running the AL East in the 2020s.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio are seemingly who the Jays have built their future around. Guerrero and Bichette are 20 and 21 years old, respectively, and both received some Rookie of the Year votes. Biggio is slightly older at 24 years old, but was also a rookie in 2019. With the potential and talent that they all displayed in the first season, they will be a scary core for years to come.

Guerrero Jr., son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerreo, had a decent first year in the big leagues. He slashed .272/.339/.433 with a 105 wRC+ in 123 games. He showed off (to a degree) what he will soon be most known for: his power. He smashed 15 bombs throughout the season, but did put on one of the most entertaining Home Run Derby performances in recent memory. With his talent at such a young age, we have yet to see what’s to come.

Guerrero Jr. isn’t the only Blue Jay with his dad as a former player. Bichette, whose father is Dante Bichette, may be the best player out of all of Toronto’s young players. In his rookie campaign, he hit for a .384 wOBA, .930 OPS, and 142 wRC+. Although it was in a mere 46 games, he showed how dangerous of a player he can be. He recorded a hit in his first 12 games, including 10 extra-base hits in his first nine games, becoming the first player in MLB history to do so. Speaking of records, Bichette had 39 hits in the month of August, which was the most by a Blue Jays rookie ever. Guerrero Jr. may have a lot of the public hype, but don’t forget about Bichette.

Oh, how about another son of a former player? This time it’s Craig Biggio’s son, Cavan. Playing 100 games in his rookie season, Biggio recorded an impressive 114 wRC+ and a 2.4 fWAR. He has shown his versatility in the field by getting some time at first base, second base, left field and right field. The one thing that stood out that the 24-year-old needs to improve on is his tendency to strikeout often. His strikeout percentage was 28.6%, or 123 in 354 at-bats. But being so young, he has time to adjust.

It’s a good time to be a Blue Jays fan. Along with Gurrero Jr., Bichette and Biggio, the Blue Jays have Lourdes Gurriel Jr and their top prospect Nate Pearson is set to make his major league debut in 2020. Between Toronto’s and New York’s young core’s, they are set up to battle for the division title for at least the next ten years.
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