Spring training is in full swing and the Yankees are opening their Grapefruit League season in three days. The first four spring games will be televised. Hooray for that. Here are some thoughts.
1. I do not have much to say about Manny Machado's signature with the Padres. His independent agency (and Bryce Harper) was exhausting. There is not much to say except that the Yankees should have signed Machado. This is an established 26-year-old star who fulfills a position of need and whose summit perfectly aligns with the window of the Yankees championship. The Yankees should always be on players like this. Alas. What is the long-term plan on the left side of the infield? Let's hope that Miguel Andujar can be average to third base, and hope that Didi Gregorius, a post-Tommy John surgeon, signs an extension and ages gracefully? Gleyber Torres is available as a short-stop backup plan, although it opens one hole to the second. Machado in short until the return of Gregorius, then Machado in third base made sense. The championship window is as open as possible and maybe the Yankees will surprise us all and sign Harper. I do not count on it. The Yankees developed a local core and reset their luxury tax rate, then spent their free agent dollars for J.A. Happ, DJ LeMahieu and a surrogate couple. An offseason of half-measures.
2. The Yankees form a ranking and trial team. After filing salary arbitration figures, they broke off the talks and appeared at a hearing. But they broke up to sign Luis Severino's four-year extension last week. minutes before the scheduled arbitration hearing. Joel Sherman said that the Yankees only wanted to discuss an extension of several years after the publication of wage data, not a one-year contract. So let's call them a modified case and trial team. Anyway, after the Severino affair, the next question is: who is next? The Yankees have several players worthy of expansion on the list. My intuition is that this is their list of priority extension:
- Aaron Hicks (free agent after 2019)
- Didi Gregorius (free agent after 2019)
- Aaron Judge (free agent after 2022)
- Dellin Betances (free agent after 2019)
- Gary Sanchez (free agent after 2022)
- Gleyber Torres (free agent after 2024)
- Miguel Andujar (free agent after 2023)
Who plays in the center after 2019 otherwise Hicks? The judge can play at the center here and there, but I would not want him to stay full time. Idem Clint Frazier. Re-signing the contract with Brett Gardner, 36, and placing him in the center full-time gives me a boost. If they need to replace Hicks, I would prefer that the Yankees roll the dice on a cheap guy like Byron Buxton rather than having someone like Leonys Martin sign it. However, they should just sign Hicks again. He is in his heyday and he is one of the best players in the center. Sir Didi's elbow complicates things, but the Yankees love him and I think they want to keep him in the long run. I have Betances lower than Judge only because Dellin can be unpredictable and he will be 32 years old on the opening day of 2020. Maybe Betances will immediately accept a good shot, about three years, at $ 9 million per season. Otherwise, I think the Yankees will wait. As far as the judge is concerned, the sooner the Yankees sign it, the bigger the discount will be in theory. If he repeats his 2018 season in 2019, minus the wrist injury, he will be entitled to something like $ 10 million on his first trip to arbitration next winter. It is not crazy to think that his arbitration salaries could reach $ 10 to $ 20 million to $ 30 million. To what extent are the Yankees willing to grant an extension to the judge now and increase his luxury tax number this year – to the best of our knowledge, neither the judge nor any other player eligible for the preliminary arbitration signed another contract in 2019 – because an extension would push them to do so in the second luxury tax bracket, that is, every dollar donated to Judge equals $ 1.32 of salary plus the luxury tax. Keep in mind that Judge already has lucrative approval contracts with Adidas and Pepsi. Locking this first big baseball contract may not be a top priority. My intuition is that unless the judge wants to accept a discount that is too favorable (5 years at $ 15 million per season?), The Yankees will benefit from its last year of pre-arbitration before seriously committing to the extension. next year. The priority is likely to be impending free agents, especially Hicks and, to a lesser extent, Gregorius.
3. The Yankees have a lot of candidates for the title of Player of the Year back, huh? I did not realize it until I looked at the list of players the other day. Troy Tulowitzki has not played a major league match for nearly 20 months, making him the best player of the year candidate for the team's comeback. Once again, Gregorius will come to Tulowitzki's job at some point, which will have disastrous consequences. Danny Farquhar would be the best player of the year in most teams, but he is not sure he will make a jump for the Yankees this year. The pen is stacked, so he could go to Triple-A and end up with another club in mid-season after using the churn clause that I suppose is in his contract. Is Gary Sanchez a candidate for the title of player of the year? Or is it just a young player who has had a second year crisis? I think a player needs to have a longer and more established history to win this award. Not just a good year and two months from another world. With a good season though, I certainly could see Sanchez become a little bit the best player of the year. Jordan Montgomery will be back too late in the season to qualify, but if he is great after his return and helps the Yankees reach the playoffs, he will receive support. I guess we could include Tommy Kahnle in the mix, even though it seems unlikely that a middle replacement wins him. Jonny Venters did it last year, but it's only after his return from three (!) Tommy John surgeries and a fourth elbow surgery. I do not think Judge (injury) or Severino (bad second half) are candidates for the player of the year in return. They were too good overall. Frazier is recovering from concussion problems, but he is not a well-established player, so he can not win the prize. He would be just a young player bursting. Tulowitzki and I guess Sanchez offers the Yankees two potential candidates for player of the year. Farquhar is a possibility and Montgomery is a long shot. Two Yankees have been named New Year Players (Jason Giambi in 2005 and Mariano Rivera in 2013), but they have not had a serious candidate for the award since Alex Rodriguez in 2015 – Prince Fielder l & # He won and deserved to win that year. , by sparing the MLB to award the prize to a guy returning from a suspension of performance-enhancing drug – hopefully, this year will change. Tulowitzki and Sanchez fighting for the price would be good for the Yankees. (My money is on Miguel Cabrera and Yu Darvish, who have won both the player of the year award of the comeback.)
4. I am sure to mention Tyler Wade every time we discuss the place of the open bench. Still, he still feels like a man forgotten for me, so much so that I totally forgot about my list of the top 30 prospects two weeks ago. Well, more precisely, I mistakenly assumed that he had exhausted his eligibility for the prospects and I did not bother to check. It's my bad. Wade has only 124 big league players in career, just under the limit of 130 rookies, so he is eligible. (Wade has exhausted his rookie eligibility since starting his service last year.) Anyway, I went back and I added him to the top 30 list, so go see that. Regarding the open bench place, I think Wade could get it by default. As Jacoby Ellsbury is still not in good health, Wade's main competitors are Clint Frazier and Greg Bird. Frazier lost so much time last year with injuries that it makes more sense, at least in the beginning, to send him to Triple-A to regularly play the attack, rather than to use it part-time or in a bunch in the big leagues. No matter what you want, the Yankees will not trade Brett Gardner for Frazier. Not at the beginning of the season. Triple-A is the best place for Frazier to start the year considering the time that he missed last year. Thairo Estrada is in a similar situation. In addition, Aaron Boone hinted last week that the Yankees would not wear both Bird and Luke Voit on the list. Two men of first base only is not a good idea at the age of eight and three men. This leaves the final place to Wade, Kyle Higashioka (nah), a guest not listed in the composition (maybe?) Or a player to acquire (which probably will not happen). Whoever gets the last place on the bench does not feel like playing a lot. Giancarlo Stanton will participate in the meeting. If a field player has to sit down, DJ LeMahieu will do it. Given the current makeup, the last player on the bench is an emergency player, which the Yankees do not think strategically use at this point. often. Wade can at least run and play in defense, and I guess the Yankees are willing to let him sit on the bench for days at a time, be they Bird, Frazier or even Estrada. All this seems to indicate that he would get the last place on the bench, at least during the opening day.
5. At its early spring press conference, Boone stated the following: he went to the Dominican Republic to visit Gary Sanchez during the winter. He also said James Wagner that he went to Adam Ottavino's pitching lab to watch him throwing a pen. A few weeks ago, Boone reportedly visited Miguel Andujar in the Dominican Republic to check his defensive work. Joe Girardi was a good manager, but I feel we've heard more about Boone touring players this year than Girardi's ten years of managing the Yankees. Maybe Boone is just more willing to talk about these visits. However, Girardi was the manager for a decade. You may think that news of an off-season visit would be broadcast at some point. I spent time googling without finding anything. According to Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner, the main reason the Yankees broke away from Girardi was communication. They have a young team and fear that the manager will not talk to them. It may be unfair to say, but Boone builds relationships with his players in a way that Girardi has never seemed. Boone had terrible playoff moments last year. Believe me, I know. In general, he and Girardi were certified copies on the field in the regular season. Same composition, they aligned their markers in the same way, they left a lot of players. This is probably because reception has more of a responsibility than we realize. The difference between the two is what's going on behind the scenes, and Boone has gone during the off season to meet his players. I do not remember Girardi doing that. Will this be equal to victories on the field? Who knows. The Yankees clearly believe that it will help the team.
6. The other day, I watched a video showing James Paxton starting a session at the corros; in the background, we could see that the Yankees had a camera equipped with their analysis teams who collected data. Rotation rate, axis of rotation, all that. George King and Dan Martin say it's an Edgertronic camera – the Yankees also have one in the Yankee Stadium compound – one of the many high-speed gate cameras that capture data. Rapsodo is another popular. Mike Petriello started a Twitter feed showing different teams using these cameras during their first spring training sessions. With all due respect, the news is not about teams using Edgertronic or Rapsodo. These are the teams that are not. By 2019, each team should use this equipment, otherwise they are in the Stone Age. The way in which data is analyzed and applied differs from one team to another, and this is what distinguishes large teams from smaller ones. At a minimum, each club should collect this information. I am happy that the Yankees have their Edgertronic installed in the spotlight area George M. Steinbrenner Field. It would be more remarkable if it were not, and I'd love to learn more about how the Yankees (and other clubs) use the data they capture. Good luck to make them raise the curtain on this.
7. Now that the 30 teams have opened spring training, we have a pretty good sample of team leaders and leagues who say silly (if not infuriating) things to defend the lack of spending in the # 39, all of the league. Some examples:
- The owner of the Cubs, Tom Ricketts: "We have no more money to spend. We must have flexibility in the future. " [Bob Nightengale]
- Brave GM Alex Anthopoulos: "Did we promise we were going to spend more money, or had we promised we would have more flexibility?" [Jeff Schultz, subs. req’d]
- Commissioner Rob Manfred: "I reject the idea that payroll is a good measure of what a team is trying to do or its success."[[[[Jeff Passan]
The league leaders have quickly become defensive of their expenses and, frankly, these comments are not just an insult (how much do they think the fans are stupid?), They raise other questions. What's wrong with the Cubs' business model that they can not afford to increase their payroll three years after an exceptional Manna World Series? What is the point of payroll flexibility if the Braves do not spend it while their core is young and cheap? If the commissioner rejects the idea that the payroll is a success, why does the league need what is literally called the competitive equilibrium tax (or luxury tax)? ? The Yankees are not exempt either. In a recent MLB.com video, Hal Steinbrenner said that the Yankees were selling Manny Machado and Bryce Harper because their main need was that "this season is not a field player or a field player" is great. So, why did they sign two infielders and an outside player, and get the best starting pitcher then? MLBPA Chief Tony Clark issued a statement responding to Manfred's comments and stated that MLB was operating in an environment in which an increasing number of clubs appear to be making little effort to improve their alignment, compete for a championship or justify the price of a ticket. "I'm glad he mentioned ticket prices. The union must have the support of its supporters and point out that they are paying more than ever for tickets even though only a few teams are trying to win, that's a good start. The leaders of teams and leagues are on the defensive against their lack of expenses to the point of making rather stupid comments and treat supporters like idiots, which tells me that they hear the complaints. Will this change their consumption habits? Goodness no. They will live with bad press in exchange for more dollars. In the end, I do not see anything changing before each team has a reason, a need, to try to compete. Being bad is too profitable nowadays.