Thoughts On The Aroldis Chapman Trade

How’s that for something unexpected?  I got a text from a friend yesterday afternoon while I was white-knuckling the drive home from work in a snow/sleet storm saying “Aroldis Chapman to the Yanks?” and I didn’t know how to take it.  I didn’t know if he was asking me if I thought it was a good idea, if there was a rumor out there I wasn’t aware of, or if he was just trying to start a hot stove conversation.  It didn’t occur to me that it might have actually been a trade the Yankees executed.  But they did and the 4-for-1 swap was quickly announced and confirmed by both teams.  This one really came out of nowhere.

Despite Chapman’s jaw-dropping on-field performance to date, this trade isn’t as fun to discuss as the Starlin Castro trade because of the circumstances surrounding Chapman presently.  Let’s be honest, those circumstances – the domestic violence allegations against Chapman and the potential impending suspension under MLB’s new domestic violence policy – are the only reason the Yankees made this deal and Brian Cashman openly admitted that in his statements yesterday.  … Click here to read the rest

Monday Morning Food For Thought: Hope For CC?

The news of CC Sabathia‘s early offseason progress came out last week and reaction among Yankee fans was understandably “meh”.  That’s what happens when you’ve had the kind of poor last few seasons that Sabathia has had, and it all seemed to come to a head in 2015.  The performance was still bad, the health was still not good, and Sabathia finally had to confront an alcohol problem that he’s been dealing with for the last few years.  There was already little reason to expect much from Sabathia in 2016, and it wouldn’t be completely unfair to say his latest problems make it even less likely that he’ll be a positive contributor.

And yet he will remain in the rotation.  Joe and Cash have each already said as much in previous interviews and meetings with the media, and the current state of the rest of the Yankee rotation pretty much necessitates it.  The depth isn’t there, the collective health and injury risk factor is sky high, and the Yankees are severely limited in what they can add to help those issues thanks to their trusty 2-way, self-enforced limitation on spending money and trading away top prospects.  … Click here to read the rest

What’s Up With The Yankees Attendance?

The only thing worse than how the New York Yankees played in their series against the Baltimore Orioles this week was the number of people in the seats.

The Yankees announced just over 31,000 people on Monday, and just over 30,000 on Tuesday and Wednesday. Quite frankly, those numbers seemed generous as to the amount of people actually there.

Empty seats have been an issue for the Yankees in recent seasons, but this was a new low. They’re averaging 40,007 fans this season, which is good for fourth in MLB, but nowhere near where they were in the previous decade when Yankee Stadium was sold out even in meaningless games. So, why the especially low turnout even for current times for these critical games?

When I was watching the Yankees on Monday I happened to flip over to the Mets and Nationals game in Washington, and it was right before Wilson Ramos hit a grand slam to put the Nationals up 5-4 after being down 4-1 in a huge game for them.… Click here to read the rest

Deja Vu in Atlanta?

Baseball is such a funny game with all its twists and turns, which is what makes the 162 game grind so exhausting on one hand, but so rewarding on the other hand if it ends up going your way.

The Yankees looked like an old, fragile and broken down baseball team heading into the deep south. It certainly seemed like things were just not headed in the right direction after losing five of seven games against Cleveland and Houston at home, which is a place they had been previously dominant all season long.

The Yankees were dominated by some great pitchers like Dallas Keuchel and Carlos Carrasco, but also could not hit against mediocre to poor ones like Josh Tomlin, Trevor Bauer and Scott Feldman. So even though the Braves are a bad baseball team, it wasn’t exactly reassuring. Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira had injuries and Alex Rodriguez was being replaced in the lineup by a pitcher (the wisdom of NL baseball at its finest).… Click here to read the rest

Looking At The Short And Long-Term Implications Of CC’s Latest Knee Injury

While we’ve all been calling for CC Sabathia‘s removal from the starting rotation for some time now, I don’t think any of us were rooting for an injury to be the reason he got removed.  Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened yesterday and now the Yankees are left to scramble again to keep their pitching staff whole while Sabathia is likely to hit the DL and ponder where he goes from here.

The condition of Sabathia’s right knee has been a red flag all year, with 2 drainings having already taken place and a cortisone shot administered recently.  In Andrew Marchand’s article on the injury yesterday afternoon, Sabathia himself basically admitted that he’s been protecting the knee all season and that his decision to say “screw it” and pitch as hard as he could without focusing on protecting it was the reason for his recent uptick in velocity.  There’s a lot of moving parts to this latest setback, so let’s break it down in terms of short and long-term effects to make it more manageable.… Click here to read the rest

Reasons To Be Optimistic Heading Into Cleveland

I don’t know what my deal was yesterday, but I was in a funk all day.  Syanpses weren’t firing upstairs, body felt tired.  Apparently I needed an off-day just as much as some of you more pessimistic readers did and just as much as the Yankees did after their stinkbomb of a weekend against the Blue Jays.  This morning I feel better, and that’s despite waking up at 2 AM and not really falling back asleep.  I’m taking that as a good sign and running with it, just as the Yankees hopefully take their off-day as a chance to hit the rest button and move on from last weekend.  With that now firmly in the rearview, here are some reasons to feel good about the Yankees as they head out to Cleveland to start 16 games in 16 days.

They Can’t Hit Much Worse Than They Have

Everybody knows the numbers by now and how far back some of them went in terms of describing the team’s historical offensive ineptitude over the past 4-5 games.  … Click here to read the rest

Has Alex Rodriguez Been What The Yankee Clubhouse Was Missing All Along?

Alex Rodriguez got an early 40th birthday present yesterday from his manager.  After having to take multiple brisk jogs around the bases on Saturday night, he got a day off in the series finale and watched his teammates put together another strong victory against a quality opponent.  Even though he wasn’t a direct participant in any of the on-field happenings, A-Rod did play a small part in the action by picking up Stephen Drew in a dugout pseudo-bear hug after his 2-run homer in the 6th.  It wasn’t all that different from the pseudo-bear hug he gave John Ryan Murphy after his 3-run shot completed the comeback on Saturday night.

In addition to the celebratory dugout hugs, we’ve seen A-Rod factor into a lot of the in-game team camaraderie stuff this season.  He’s always good for a laugh when he’s going first to third or second to home running the bases, and his rolling, tumbling, flop slide into home plate the other day on Chase Headley‘s 3-run double was a thing of comedic beauty.  … Click here to read the rest

Bad Defense Continues To Hamper The Yankees

Gardner-Jones Drop vs HOU

The look of surprise on Jones’ face is actually pretty funny. Courtesy of Getty Images

The Yankees dropped the series finale in Houston yesterday, and while there’s nothing wrong with splitting a 4-game road series against a division leader, yesterday’s game was another one of those frustrating “coulda, shoulda, woulda” losses that the Yanks seem to have a little too often.

They wasted a very good start by Michael Pineda (2 runs in 8 innings), didn’t muster but 2 hits against what has been a very hittable Colin McHugh this season, and they even committed a defensive error that was worse than anything you could see in the Little League World Series.  In the bottom of the 4th, Carlos Correa lofted a lazy fly ball to left-center field.  Brett Gardner had a bead on it, called for it, and then at the last second pulled back as Garrett Jones did the exact same thing coming for the other direction.  The ball dropped between them for what was scored a double, but then Gardner made things worse by kicking the ball to the wall in his attempt to pick it up.  … Click here to read the rest

Short Analysis: How Many Players of Tony Renda’s Height (5’8″) Make It?

[Note: I’m just under Renda’s height, so I have in-group privilege to make all the short jokes in this post.] Tony Renda seems mildly promising, from what I’m reading: a second-round pick who’s a solid contact hitter with a great eye; defense that’s not only solid, but improving, at a position of need; and someone who could earn promotion in short order, as a 24 year-old playing pretty well at AA. Conceivably he’ll grow into a AAA job when Refsnyder is promoted, and then who knows, he could be a utilityman after Ryan and Drew leave, or even a potential full-time 2B if Refsnyder stagnates. But Renda is 5’8″, so you fear his utter lack of power (4 HR in 1640 PA in A-AA) is a real sign, not something he’ll grow out of with better contact.

Yesterday I happened to be reading opinions about whether women will ever play in MLB, and I take this side: (1) yes; (2) the biggest barrier is how softball diverts girls away, but some girls do play little league through high school baseball; (3) fewer women are 6′ or musclebound, but some are, and you see plenty below 6′ in positions where agility and talent can thrive without raw strength and size – 2B, SS, LF, CF, and to an extent P.… Click here to read the rest