Bronx Pinstripes | BronxPinstripes.com http://bronxpinstripes.com Bronx Pinstripes - A New York Yankees Community for the Fans, by the Fans Wed, 27 Jan 2021 19:52:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.4 http://bronxpinstripes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/cropped-BP-Icon-Retina-32x32.png Bronx Pinstripes | BronxPinstripes.com http://bronxpinstripes.com 32 32 Report: Yankees to Sign RHP Darren O’Day http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/report-yankees-to-sign-rhp-darren-oday/ Wed, 27 Jan 2021 19:45:49 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83730 Following the out-of-the-blue Adam Ottavino trade, the New York Yankees have reportedly agreed to a deal with reliever Darren O’Day, according to Lindsey Adler of The Athletic Sources: Yankees in agreement on a deal with relief pitcher Darren O'Day, pending physical. — Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) January 27, 2021 O’Day receives $1.75M in 2021 There is a $1.4M player option for 2022 or a $700G buyout. If O’Day declines the option, the Yankees have a $3.15M option. — Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) […]

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Following the out-of-the-blue Adam Ottavino trade, the New York Yankees have reportedly agreed to a deal with reliever Darren O’Day, according to Lindsey Adler of The Athletic

While he isn’t an elite reliever, he fills a hole left by Otto. At a mere $2.45 million ($1.75 million plus $700K buyout) AAV towards the luxury tax, the Yankees get a solid reliever for very cheap. The Yankees signing a reliever was expected, and O’Day is a great fit for their bullpen. He’s a veteran arm who adds a different look to the bullpen and has been sneaky good as well.

Yankees Pick Up an Underrated Arm

O’Day is known as a submarine arm, and Yankees fans will remember him from the Orioles. Since 2018, he’s been sneaky good — with a 2.38 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 3.74 xFIP, and 2.84 SIERA since 2018.

He’s been someone who also keeps the ball in the ballpark, with a mere 0.86 HR/9, something that should help him at Yankee Stadium. The big difference between him and Ottavino is that unlike Otto, O’Day doesn’t have the painfully annoying base-on-balls problem. At a 5.8% BB%, he’s been a reliever who keeps the ball in the strike zone. He also struck out 32.2% of all batters he’s faced from 2018-2020. He’s what you want in a reliever.

Darren O’Day Ages Like Fine Wine

Despite the fact that O’Day is 38, he’s been as effective as ever recently.

While he isn’t a power arm like Chad Green or Aroldis Chapman, he is a funky reliever who gets the job done.

At $2.5 million, the New York Yankees are getting a good bargain. O’Day has a lot of experience and will replace Ottavino at 1/4th of the cost. January has been the month of Brian Cashman, as he’s just rolling out move after move, and reminding us why he’s referred to as Cashgod.

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The upside and downside of Jameson Taillon http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/the-upside-and-downside-of-jameson-taillon/ Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:07:57 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83615 The Yankees may have just acquired the proverbial Robin to their Batman. On Sunday, the Yankees swung a trade for starting pitcher Jameson Taillon for four minor league prospects as outlined by Bronx Pinstripes writer Delia Enriquez. The trade represents a much anticipated move to bolster the rotation with an arm capable of slotting into the rotation behind Gerrit Cole. The trade is a high risk, high reward gamble for the Yankees. There is upside in the skillset but downside […]

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The Yankees may have just acquired the proverbial Robin to their Batman.

On Sunday, the Yankees swung a trade for starting pitcher Jameson Taillon for four minor league prospects as outlined by Bronx Pinstripes writer Delia Enriquez. The trade represents a much anticipated move to bolster the rotation with an arm capable of slotting into the rotation behind Gerrit Cole. The trade is a high risk, high reward gamble for the Yankees. There is upside in the skillset but downside in the health history of Taillon. Let’s breakdown the potential and red flags of the new Yankee’s pitcher.

He’s built for Yankee Stadium

Since debuting, Jameson Taillon’s calling card has been groundballs and soft contact. In his last full season, 2018, he was comfortably above league average in groundball percentage (46.2% vs 43.2%), hard hit percentage (30.1% vs 35.3%), and HR/FB percentage (11.7% vs 12.7%). The groundball percentage and hard hit percentage wouldn’t be directly affected by Yankee Stadium, but we could see an uptick in HR/FB percentage simply because Taillon will be going from the pitcher friendly confines of PNC Park to the hitter’s dream in the Bronx.

Using park factors generated with data since 2008, we find that PNC park was 7% worse than average for home runs and 8% worse for average for runs in general. For Yankee Stadium, home runs were 10% better than average and 1% better than average for general runs. It’s safe to assume that there will be a jump in HR/FB percentage for Taillon in 2021 but he’s got a solid enough profile that he’ll probably settle right around league average with the Yankees.

The injury history

Taillon has a checkered injury past. He’s a two-time recipient of Tommy John Surgery. His first bout with TJS came when he was still a minor leaguer in 2014. Then in 2015 he was forced to miss the entire season due to sports hernia surgery. He eventually made his debut in 2016 starting 18 games. In 2017 he made Pirates rotation right out of spring training but was forced to miss most of May and part of June after undergoing surgery for testicular cancer. He didn’t show any ill effects after returning to the rotation on June 12, and ended up making 25 starts in his sophomore season.

2018 was Taillon’s finest year in terms of on-field results but more importantly in terms of health. Taillon made 32 starts pitching 191 innings while putting up his best single season ERA at 3.20. Looking to build off his best full season, Taillon was unfortunately only able to make seven starts before being placed on the injured list with flexor strain that would eventually lead to his second Tommy John Surgery. He’s currently rehabbing from that surgery and did not pitch in 2020.

It was reported back in December that Taillon was on schedule to return to start 2021 but nothing is for certain given this is his second TJS. Taillon will be the second pitcher returning from TJS for the Yankees in 2021 with the other being Luis Severino. It seems quite risky to place a bet on two pitchers returning to form in order to round out your rotation in 2021 but the Yankees are doing it anyway.

He found a new pitch and adjusted his usage

Back in 2019, Jameson Taillon told MLB.com that he was excited to continue the development of a slider that he began using in May of 2018. He didn’t really get that opportunity as his 2019 season was cut short but there is solid data to support that the slider is big reason why Taillon put up his best season in 2018.

Prior to that season, Taillon was primarily a four seam, sinker, curveball pitcher that would throw in a show me changeup once in a while. Eventually, hitters started to spit on his curveball and look for that fastball. Taillon had to adjust and did so by adjusting his grips on his breaking ball until he discovered a slider/cutter hybrid. He’s always had good velocity on his fastball averaging 95 MPH on his fastball/sinker and some of that velocity translates over to his slider as well. He averaged 90.46 MPH and 89.44 MPH on his slider in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

There is a catch here though. Since he is recovering from a second TJS, there’s no way of knowing if the velocity will come back. Some pitchers do get most of their velocity back and some don’t. Taillon did return from his first TJS with good velocity but that was over five years ago and we just don’t know if it will happen again. Let’s assume he does get that velocity back in a best case scenario. In 2018, Taillon threw his slider 14.24% of his pitches which resulted in a whiff rate of 16.4%. That whiff rate was higher than both his changeup (14.29%) and his curveball (14.5%). The next season, he beefed up the slider usage even more to 27.87%. There is some correlation, but not necessarily a causation, between increased slider usage and the frequency of arm injuries so it may be something the Yankees are afraid to continue given Taillon’s status.

Taillon made another change to his repertoire though. He cut his sinker usage from 33.3% to 19.68% while increasing his four seam usage from 29.74% to 38.16%. The results of the change were mostly good. His overall groundball percentage remained mostly the same while his line drive percentage went down and his fly ball percentage went up but both of those changes were only slight changes. Looking at the sinker and four seamer specifically, his batted ball data changed dramatically in 2018. His groundball rate on his sinker and four seamers in 2018 were 72.22% and 37.10% respectively up from 59.49% and 33.33% in 2017. His fly ball percentages on those pitches remained basically the same.

The biggest number I can throw at you to show the effect the fastball adjustment had on Taillon is his batting average against. In 2017, his BAA on his four seamer and sinker were .268 and .276. In 2018, they were .194 and .216. It’s just one full season but it seems that the adjustment allowed Taillon to get better outcomes when opponents did put balls in play against him. In 2019, his groundball rates returned to rates similar to 2017 but his BAA actually looked better than it did in 2018. Keep in mind he only made seven starts in 2019 but it’s still somewhat encouraging that he built off his improved batted ball data.

There is obviously a lot of upside in Jameson Taillon. Since the trade, it has come to light that Taillon and Gerrit Cole have been talking all offseason and are excited to be back together in the same uniform.

Could Gerrit Cole have some pitching insight to provide to Taillon in order for him to take the next step and become the Yankees second ace? Anything is possible, I guess. Taillon could become a top of the rotation starter or spend the majority of his time in pinstripes on the injured list. The Yankees will have two years of team control to find out.

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2021 BP Team Hall of Fame Ballot http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/2021-bp-team-hall-of-fame-ballot/ Tue, 26 Jan 2021 14:54:36 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83704 Later today, the 2021 MLB Hall of Fame results will be announced. This has been a momentous day the past few years, with beloved Yankee legends Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, and Mike Mussina getting inducted. This year, however, will probably be a different story with nobody likely to get elected. Below you can see where the votes lie on public ballots, bearing in mind players need to clear the 75% threshold to gain election. As you can see, nobody is […]

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Later today, the 2021 MLB Hall of Fame results will be announced. This has been a momentous day the past few years, with beloved Yankee legends Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, and Mike Mussina getting inducted. This year, however, will probably be a different story with nobody likely to get elected. Below you can see where the votes lie on public ballots, bearing in mind players need to clear the 75% threshold to gain election.

As you can see, nobody is above the 75% threshold, and it is likely nobody will because non-public ballots are notorious for being stingier than public ballots. According to that 538 article, it is doubtful anybody will get elected this year. However, that didn’t stop your dutiful BP scribes from filling out our own Hall of Fame ballots and weighing in on who we would induct if we had the power. Thanks to our writing team for filling out the ballot, you can find them on Twitter @tqua2ci @Sleonardi11 @mikegwizdala @NkirbyNYY @rohanarcot20 @mypinstripes @SashaLueck @ncostanzo24 @jefeoriginal  Here are our voting results:

Unlike the actual Hall of Fame, we are inducting Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Both players are marred by PED controversies, with their vote totals stagnating in the upper 60/low 70 percentages the past few years. With only one year of eligibility remaining, we will have to see if these two can overcome the anti-PED crowd and gain induction. Hopefully the BBWAA voters listen to Tiana who told me “Steroid users should be in the hall of fame. I want that stated as my opinion in the article lmao.”

The biggest difference between our ballot and the public ballots is for Curt Schilling who by most metrics is absolutely a Hall of Famer based on his play alone. However, he is a professional asshole (I promise that was the nice version) who our writers did not feel is worthy of baseball’s highest honor.

Former Yankees

There are several former Yankees on the ballot, most notably Core Four (should be five including Bernie Williams) member Andy Pettitte. Unfortunately, he will not be joining his buddies in Cooperstown on either the real ballot or our fake one. Andruw Jones briefly played for the Yankees as his career winded down, and if he gets elected it will be for his incredible play with the Braves in the late 90s and 2000s. Outfielders Bobby Abreu and Nick Swisher also got some love from our team. Abreu has the better overall case, though if we really want to celebrate baseball, I can’t think of anyone who better personifies energy than Nick Swisher. He’s a hall of famer in my book because of how much fun he is, to the point that my sister became a Yankee fan because of him. This is the type of guy I want in the HOF:

 

You can contact Rohan on Twitter @rohanarcot

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Yankees trade Adam Ottavino to Red Sox http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/yankees-trade-adam-ottavino-to-red-sox/ Mon, 25 Jan 2021 18:12:24 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83685 For the first time in seven years, the Yankees and Red Sox have agreed on a trade. Lindsey Adler of The Athletic reported that the Yankees have traded Adam Ottavino, prospect Frank German and $850,000 in a salary dump to Boston, who will take on most of the money remaining in Ottavino’s contract. The Yankees will receive cash considerations or a player to be named later. Source: The Yankees have traded Adam Ottavino to the Red Sox. — Lindsey Adler […]

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For the first time in seven years, the Yankees and Red Sox have agreed on a trade.

Lindsey Adler of The Athletic reported that the Yankees have traded Adam Ottavino, prospect Frank German and $850,000 in a salary dump to Boston, who will take on most of the money remaining in Ottavino’s contract. The Yankees will receive cash considerations or a player to be named later.

This is big for two reasons. One, because the Yankees and Red Sox historically do not trade with each other anymore. This is the first trade between the two teams since 2014 when Boston traded Stephen Drew in exchange for Kelly Johnson.

Two, Ottavino was due $8 million this year, $9 million that would count against the luxury tax. The Yankees trading Ottavino frees up money for them to go out and make another signing while staying under the luxury tax threshold. Another lefty bat and/or a reliable reliever to replace Ottavino seems like a real possibility.

After a strong first year with the Yankees, Ottavino derailed in the 2019 playoffs and his struggles continued into 2020.

In 2020, he had a 5.89 ERA, 25 K, 20 H .375 BABIP, 1.58 WHIP and a 0.2 WAR in 18.1 IP. Boone lost trust in him late in the season and as a result, he only appeared in one postseason game and pitched 0.2 innings and gave up 1 run.

He had some great moments in New York, but Ottavino could never get back to his 2019 self. Following this move, look for the Yankees to make another signing or two in the coming weeks before pitchers and catchers report to camp.

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8 things the Twins could have bought for $8 million instead of JA Happ http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/8-things-the-twins-could-have-bought-for-8-million-instead-of-ja-happ/ Mon, 25 Jan 2021 15:05:24 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83669 Last week, the Minnesota Twins announced signing disgraced Yankees’ starter JA Happ to a 1-year deal worth $8 million. Not only will Happ make $8 million, but the Twins even gave him some incentives…that he will never reach. JA Happ: $8M plus awards bonuses (100K Cy Young, 100K WS MVP, 50K LCS MVP, etc.) #MNTwins — Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 22, 2021 While $8 million might not be a ton for a Major League Baseball player, it probably could have […]

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Last week, the Minnesota Twins announced signing disgraced Yankees’ starter JA Happ to a 1-year deal worth $8 million. Not only will Happ make $8 million, but the Twins even gave him some incentives…that he will never reach.

While $8 million might not be a ton for a Major League Baseball player, it probably could have been better spent.

1. Chicken Buckets from Yankees Stadium

Everyone knows the most famous food at Yankees Stadium is the famed chicken bucket. Not only do you get chicken, but you also get fries and a pretty cool bucket for only $20. Instead of getting one year of JA Happ, the Twins instead could have bought 400,000 buckets of chicken from Yankee Stadium. As of 2020, Google estimates the population of Minneapolis to be just over 420,000 meaning the Twins could have, and probably should have, bought just about the entire city chicken buckets instead of getting JA Happ.

2. Babe Ruth….64 Times

Back on Jan. 25, 1920, the Yankees purchased Babe Ruth for a whopping sum of $125,000. JA Happ is apparently worth 64 more times than the Sultan of Swat. Now granted, inflation does change things as Ruth’s sale price would be $1.62 million as of 2020. At that rate, the Twins could have bought four Babe Ruths and had just over 1.5 million left over.

3. Stock in Amazon

As of Sunday afternoon, the price for one stock in Amazon is $3,292.23. The Minnesota Twins could have instead purchased 2,429 shares in Amazon and had $3,173 leftover. I guess since Minneapolis has Target’s headquarters, they didn’t consider this smarter option.

4. Jose Quintana

Later on the same day that the Twins signed JA Happ, the Los Angeles Angels signed Jose Quintana for the exact same amount of money. Despite playing in 70 fewer games than Happ, Quintana has accumulated a total of 1.5 more WAR according to Baseball Reference. While both are bounce-back candidates, Quintana is eight years younger and statistically been a better pitcher.

5. 207 Washington Nationals’ World Series Rings

Following the 2019 World Series, the Washington Nationals spent $38,500 per World Series ring to celebrate their players’ accomplishments. At that price, the Twins could have simply designed their own rings and given them out to their players, front office, the entire staff, and just random people on the street. Yes, the rings wouldn’t have really meant anything but it’s hard to see the Twins winning a World Series with these types of decisions.

6. Jay-Z’s Car

Last year, Jay-Z announced that he had purchased a Maybach Excelero for $8 million. The car was famously featured in Jay-Z’s 2006 music video for Lost One and is still one of the rarest cars in the world.

 

7. Money for Bronx Pinstripes’ Fans

Watching Happ struggle for the last two seasons was extremely frustrating for Yankees fans. Not only did Happ fail to live up to his contract, but his consistent poor attitude earned him the wrath of Yankees fans everywhere. Instead of wasting their money on Happ, the Twins could have instead sent every follower of Bronx Pinstripes on Twitter $72 for pain and suffering.

8. Nothing at All

Sometimes the best investments we make in life are the times we hold onto our cash. Instead of getting Happ, the Twins should have simply just kept the money in their pockets. Maybe buried it in the backyard or in a shoebox under a mattress.

Conclusion

Look, I get the Twins trying to find a bounce-back candidate to improve their rotation. But after constantly watching Happ flail around on the mound, I can’t help but feel bad for fans of the Twins. Now with that said, I am so excited for facing them in the playoffs again and hearing the Boo Birds in the Bronx as Happ walks out to the mound.

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Yankees acquire Jameson Taillon from Pirates http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/report-yankees-acquire-jameson-taillon-from-pirates/ Sun, 24 Jan 2021 18:11:35 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83663 Following the addition of free agent Corey Kluber, the New York Yankees have once again bolstered their starting rotation. According to Jeff Passan, the Yankees have acquired Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Miguel Yajure, Rosansy Contreras, Maikel Escotto, and Canaan Smith. The New York Yankees have acquired Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Miguel Yajure, Roansy Contreras, Maikel Escotto and Canaan Smith, sources tell ESPN. — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 24, 2021 Taillon did not […]

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Following the addition of free agent Corey Kluber, the New York Yankees have once again bolstered their starting rotation.

According to Jeff Passan, the Yankees have acquired Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Miguel Yajure, Rosansy Contreras, Maikel Escotto, and Canaan Smith.

Taillon did not play in 2020 due to undergoing Tommy John Surgery for the second time, but has a 3.67 ERA and a 8.09 K/9 in four seasons with the Pirates. Taillon becomes the third major move for the Yankees this offseason; the team re-signed D.J. LeMahieu on a six-year deal, and inked Kluber for a one-year deal. Taillon also joins ace Gerrit Cole in the starting rotation; Cole and Taillon were both on the Pirates in 2016-2017.

The Taillon trade comes off the heels of J.A. Happ signing a one-year deal with the Minnesota Twins, and the Yankees’ uncertainty of bringing back Masahiro Tanaka. The Yankees will also be without Luis Severino until the middle of the 2021 season. Despite having Jordan Montgomery and Deivi Garcia, the team could benefit from one more arm in the rotation. The Yankees are also looking at picking up an outfielder before heading into Spring Training. They have been linked to names such as Yasiel Puig and their old friend Brett Gardner.

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Underrated Yankees: Roy White http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-history/underrated-yankees-roy-white/ Fri, 22 Jan 2021 17:33:24 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83652 Every Friday, we will be taking a look back at the career of a critical player in New York Yankees history that doesn’t quite get the recognition they deserve. When looking at the storied history of the Yankees names like BabeRuth, Mickey Mantle and Derek Jeter quickly come to mind. Today, we will be looking at those players who played a critical role. Simply put, without these individuals, the Yankees wouldn’t have been the Yankees. You can find the previous […]

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Every Friday, we will be taking a look back at the career of a critical player in New York Yankees history that doesn’t quite get the recognition they deserve. When looking at the storied history of the Yankees names like BabeRuth, Mickey Mantle and Derek Jeter quickly come to mind. Today, we will be looking at those players who played a critical role. Simply put, without these individuals, the Yankees wouldn’t have been the Yankees.

You can find the previous editions here:

Elston Howard
Chris Chambliss
Mario Duncan and Luis Sojo
Frank Crosetti
Graig Nettles

Today we will be looking at left field. The position has been home to many great Yankees including Hideki Matsui, Charlie Keller, Lou Piniella and even Babe Ruth (depending on the direction of the sun). But today we will be looking at one of the quiet leaders who helped bridge the gap from the 1960s into the 1970s: Roy White.

Early Life

White was born in Compton, Calif. on Dec. 27, 1943. After his parents separated, he was raised by his mother and along with his little brother played baseball in one of the nearby vacant lots. In his neighborhood, instead of a baseball, they would fill a sock with rags and use tape to help form a ball, which made it difficult for pitchers to throw fast. Instead, they learned that it was very easy to throw breaking balls. As a result, White developed his batting eye and his unique batting stance.

As a child, White was a standout athlete and had offers to join UCLA for baseball and Long Beach State for football. However, the Yankees signed him to a minor league deal in 1961 for just $6,000. Initially, White struggled in the minors, but in 1965 he established himself as a top prospect. With Triple A Columbus, White, a promising second baseman, hit .300, with 19 home runs and earned the league’s MVP award and a September call-up to the Bronx.

White played the 1966 season with the Yankees, but he and the team struggled. After his career, White stated that the allure of the short porch caused him to change his swing, and in 1966 and 1967 he struck out more than he walked.

Everyday Player and a Position Change

The 1968 season saw White as a backup infielder and late game pinch hitter. However, White started the season off hot and forced Yankees manager Ralph Houk to find him a position. With the infield full, Houk challenged White to learn to play left field. White took over the cleanup spot in the lineup from Mickey Mantle and finished 12th in the American League MVP voting. However, the Yankees dynasty of the early 60s was becoming a distant memory as the team struggled to win games.

Despite the lack of team success, White established himself as a premier player in baseball. 1969 saw his first All-Star game appearance and 1970 would see his second. Meanwhile, in 1970 he hit .298 with 22 home runs while stealing 24 bases. After the season, now former teammate Mickey Mantle would state that White was every bit of a Yankees star and one of the best players in baseball.

While White continued to elevate his play (he led all of MLB with 99 walks in 1972) the Yankees continued struggling. By the end of his career, White had walked over 200 more times than he struck out as an MLB player. Out of his 15 seasons in baseball, White struck out more than he walked just four times.

New Owner and New Expectations

In 1973, CBS sold the Yankees to George Steinbrenner. With the new owner, the Yankees looked to recapture their glory days, and new talent and a new stadium was brought into the Bronx. White especially enjoyed playing for Billy Martin, starting in 1975. Both men were focused on walks, stolen bases and good defense and Martin moved White to the number two position in the order. Batting between Mickey Rivers and Thurman Munson, White led MLB in runs scored in 1976 and the Yankees found themselves battling Kansas City with a chance to go to the World Series.

In Game One, White clinched the game with a big two run double in the ninth. In the final game, White had a hit, two walks and scored twice as the Yankees beat the Royals on a Chris Chambliss walk-off home run. Unfortunately, White and the Yankees would struggle against the Reds in the World Series.

The following season, White was given a three-year contract but would start to decline with age. Despite being an everyday player during the season, he only had seven at-bats in the 1977 postseason. Meanwhile, the Yankees won their first World Series in over a decade. 1978 saw the emergence of Lou Piniella, and the two would split left field. However, White caught fire late in the season, hitting .337 in September as the Yankees tried to run down the Red Sox. In the famous one game playoff at Fenway Park, the Yankees were down 2-0 in the seventh. White, with one runner on, ripped a double to center setting the stage for Bucky Dent’s heroic homer.

Later Career and Going Abroad

White struggled in 1979, and Piniella played more and more in left. After a disappointing season for both White and the Yankees, the two parted ways after the expiration of his contract. Despite multiple offers to stay in the big leagues, White shocked many by signing with the Yomiuri Giants. He soon found himself batting cleanup in Japan providing protection for Japan’s home run king, Sadaharu Oh, just like he did for Mantle many years earlier.

In his first year in Japan, White hit over .300 with 29 home runs. He followed that up with 23 home runs and a Japan Series win. He stayed in Japan for one final season and finished his three-years with a .296 average with over 60 home runs.

Post Playing Days

White would return to the Yankees as the hitting coach from 1983 through 1986. Under his guidance, Don Mattingly won an MVP award and become one of the best hitters in baseball. White stayed close to the Yankees and became a trusted advisor to George Steinbrenner. Notably, he served part-time as a scout and was part of the team that first travelled to Japan to scout Hideki Matsui.

Outside of baseball, Roy White created a foundation with the goal of helping to provide financial resources to young adults in New York City who cannot afford college on their own.

While White was not as flashy as some other Yankees greats, he was one of the most impactful players to wear pinstripes. Perhaps Reggie Jackson said it best when he said the following about White:

“Sometimes management can’t accept his kind of player because they’re looking for loud players, guys who do things in a big way. If you really don’t watch him, and you really don’t figure out what he does, he can easily be overlooked. But his biggest asset to the club, is that here’s a guy who’s going to do his job and not make mental mistakes, a guy who will bunt, hit a grounder to the other side to advance a runner, hit a sacrifice fly, get you a quiet single and get on base.”

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Henrich’s Heroics: A look at the first walk-off homer in World Series history http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-history/henrichs-heroics-a-look-at-the-first-walk-off-homer-in-world-series-history/ Fri, 22 Jan 2021 17:04:39 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83569 Baseball offers us few things as thrilling as a walk-off win. While all victories may count the same, walk-off wins come with a certain drama that makes them sweeter and more satisfying than the rest. When the climactic, game-winning hit comes courtesy of the long ball, it only adds to the excitement. Interestingly, there were no walk-off home runs during the first 45 World Series (1903-1948). During that stretch there were several walk-off base hits in the Fall Classic. In […]

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Baseball offers us few things as thrilling as a walk-off win. While all victories may count the same, walk-off wins come with a certain drama that makes them sweeter and more satisfying than the rest. When the climactic, game-winning hit comes courtesy of the long ball, it only adds to the excitement.

Interestingly, there were no walk-off home runs during the first 45 World Series (1903-1948). During that stretch there were several walk-off base hits in the Fall Classic. In 1939, Yankee catcher Bill Dickey ended Game 1 of the World Series by smacking an RBI single to centerfield. Earl McNeely of the Senators (1924), Bing Miller of the Athletics (1929), and Goose Goslin of the Tigers (1935) also ended World Series games by delivering walk-off base hits.

Nevertheless, the first walk-off home run in World Series history proved to be elusive. Elusive, that is, until Tommy Henrich accomplished the feat in Game 1 of the 1949 Fall Classic.

An Underrated Yankee

Tommy Henrich is one of the many underrated players in Yankee history. Nicknamed “Old Reliable,” Henrich spent all of his eleven MLB seasons in pinstripes. As a member of the Yankees, Tommy won four championships and was selected for the AL All-Star team five times. He never garnered as much attention as his superstar teammates, but he was a key contributor on several great Yankee teams.

Besides putting up consistent numbers, Henrich also developed a reputation for performing under pressure. He had several critical hits in the unforgettable 1947 World Series, which the Yankees won over the Brooklyn Dodgers in seven games. In fact, Henrich’s penchant for coming through when it mattered most earned him another apt nickname, “The Clutch.”

Battling Brooklyn Again

The 1949 World Series was the third championship matchup between the Yankees and Dodgers. While the Bombers had emerged victorious in 1941 and 1947, things looked promising for Brooklyn in 1949. Since 1947, the Dodgers had added legendary catcher Roy Campanella and star pitchers Preacher Roe and Don Newcombe to their roster. Brooklyn’s ’49 squad also featured emerging centerfielder Duke Snider. Snider had been a rookie in 1947, and he didn’t see the field during the Dodgers’ World Series loss.

The 1949 Dodgers were retooled and reloaded. They were hungry, ready to win their first championship and eager to knock off their crosstown rivals.

Henrich’s Historic Blast

Characteristically, Game 1 was billed as a tone-setter for the rest of the series. Would the Yankees continue their historical dominance, or would the Dodgers prove that 1949 was finally going to be their year?

In a battle between All-Star aces, the Yankees started Allie Reynolds while the Dodgers countered with Don Newcombe. Both pitchers turned in electric performances. Reynolds hurled a complete game, struck out nine, and allowed just two hits. Newcombe, in his first World Series appearance, managed to match Reynolds every step of the way. Through eight inning he allowed just four men to reach base.

In the bottom of the 9th, the score still square at 0-0, the stage was set for a dramatic finale. With nobody on and nobody out, Tommy Henrich stepped into the batter’s box. Newcombe, who had been nearly perfect all game, hung a curveball at the worst possible moment. Henrich didn’t miss it.

“Old Reliable” whipped his bat through the strike zone and hammered Newcombe’s pitch into the Old Stadium’s short porch. It was a historic moment—the first walk-off home run in World Series history. The Yankees won the critical opening contest and took the series in five games.

There have been 15 additional walk-off blasts in the World Series since Henrich hit his in 1949. Yankee players (Mantle in 1964, Curtis in 1999, and Jeter in 2001) have hit three of them. With four World Series walk-off dingers to their credit, the Yankees have more than any other team in professional baseball.

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Will the sun ever set on the Yankees as a powerhouse in the AL? http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/will-the-sun-set-yankees-dynasty/ Thu, 21 Jan 2021 22:10:06 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83639 With the Houston Astros losing George Springer to the Toronto Blue Jays, I got to wondering if these two franchises are about to swap spots in the baseball hierarchy. The Blue Jays are now doing what the Astros did over the last decade. They are supplementing homegrown talent with the right free agents. Toronto now looks as if they are going to have a chance to create a nice little run. Houston gave themselves that chance, but is their window […]

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With the Houston Astros losing George Springer to the Toronto Blue Jays, I got to wondering if these two franchises are about to swap spots in the baseball hierarchy.

The Blue Jays are now doing what the Astros did over the last decade. They are supplementing homegrown talent with the right free agents. Toronto now looks as if they are going to have a chance to create a nice little run. Houston gave themselves that chance, but is their window closing?

But what I’ve been thinking about even more-so is, will the Yankees dynasty ever come to an end?

Of course, this isn’t the same franchise it was in the mid-late ’90s, and some will argue this current iteration of the franchise isn’t a dynasty—having not won a World Series title since 2009. But the Yankees currently have the second-longest streak of consecutive winning seasons in baseball history. The last season the Yankees lost more games than they won was 1992. The only streak longer was the Yankees from 1926-1964.

Baseball is a different game than it was from that era, however, and is even different from when the Core Four was winning championships in the Bronx. Baseball might be in its most competitive era to date. Most franchises have the resources and knowledge to be able to make a World Series run.

Most franchises go through waves, so to speak. Where they have to hit rock bottom for sometime before they can reach the pinnacle of success again. Some teams have longer terms in between success or shorter windows to win, but most come back up to the top at some point.

A team like the Kansas City Royals, for example, had a window of about four or five years of championship-caliber baseball in the last decade. On the flip side, over the last 27 seasons, the Yankees have had a championship-caliber team in all but about four or five seasons.

As Yankee fans, we’ve come to expect more than just a winning record, however. The last 11 seasons can be considered failures because the team didn’t win, or even make, a World Series. But no other franchise in baseball has that kind of expectation from their team. There isn’t a North American sports team with the expectations of the Yankees. Not the Patriots, not the Spurs, not the Red Wings.

Even if you don’t consider this to be a time of dynasty for the Yankees, the question still stands, how long can they go on as one of the best teams in the sport? The Royals didn’t have enough money to pay their best players and their farm system took a hit with some trades. The Astros has the 5th highest payroll in 2020, according to Spotrac, but have two aging aces and two star players that will command money around or greater than what Springer just received. They have a couple of budding stars and an OK farm system, but they may be heading into a cycle where they aren’t considered one of the best teams in baseball after winning a title in 2017.

The Washington Nationals had been one of the better teams in baseball for almost a decade before 2020, culminating in a World Series win in 2019, but they also missed the playoffs three times between ’13-’18. Now they have an aging ace, a payroll they aren’t happy with and a bad farm system.

Even the two teams most like the Yankees in tradition and payroll, the Red Sox and Dodgers, can’t boast the longevity of this Yankee dynasty. The Red Sox have just as many 5th place AL East finishes over the last 10 years as they have AL East titles. The Dodgers are the one team that comes close to what the Yankees have been able to do, winning eight straight NL West division titles, and finally a World Series in 2020. But they had issues with money and ownership before this most recent purchase.

So, is that what it will take for this Yankees run to come to a close? A change in ownership? We’ve all learned money doesn’t win championships but is that the main thing keeping the Yankees near the top of the baseball world? Or is it the front office? Brian Cashman is loved and hated by Yankee fans, but he’s been in charge of the talent the Yankees acquire for much of this run.

What if it is the fans that keep this team going at its best? A fanbase that isn’t happy with 27 consecutive winning seasons but demands rings. Whatever it may be, it doesn’t look like the sun will set for this franchise for a while. They still have talent, money, a good farm system and a way of working the international market.

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Aaron Hicks: The underrated star http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-stats/aaron-hicks-the-underrated-star/ Thu, 21 Jan 2021 17:44:08 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83631 In the offseason, a lot of talk about how Aaron Hicks isn’t good constantly goes around. In 2020 for some reason he was heavily critiqued despite him being healthy and consistent. He was amazing for the Yankees, and one of our best hitters. This didn’t matter to Yankee fans, as he was ripped on Twitter simply for having YES Network tweet about him. It’s an absolute disgrace that a guy who works his tail off and has been a warrior for […]

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In the offseason, a lot of talk about how Aaron Hicks isn’t good constantly goes around. In 2020 for some reason he was heavily critiqued despite him being healthy and consistent. He was amazing for the Yankees, and one of our best hitters. This didn’t matter to Yankee fans, as he was ripped on Twitter simply for having YES Network tweet about him. It’s an absolute disgrace that a guy who works his tail off and has been a warrior for us gets the disrespect he does. He’s 100% a top 10 centerfielder, and he’s worth every penny of that seven year $70 million dollar deal he got. Aaron Hicks is a stud, and it’s time he gets the respect he deserves.

One of the Best Eyes in Baseball

Anyone who knows Yankee baseball knows what Hicks does. He doesn’t hit .300 or swing at every pitch. His specialty is his incredible plate discipline and walk percentage. Since 2018, he ranks 8th in BB%, and has been a steady eye at the plate. For some reason, the man just refuses to swing at pitches out of the zone. In the same 2018-2020 time span, he had the 10th lowest swing% at pitches outside the strike zone. He’s got one of the best eyes in baseball and incredible plate discipline, but what about the total offensive package?

Aaron Hicks Is An Offensive Wizard

If you look at Hicks’ stats from 2018-2020, you see a .247 batting average probably and think he can’t hit. This is simply not true, as since 2018 he’s been one of the best offensive centerfielders.

2018-2020:
121 wRC+
.350 wOBA
.359 OBP
.451 SLG%
.356 xwOBA
116 DRC+

Offensively he has been a very good hitter, in fact, I would make the case that he’s one of the best hitters on the team. His ability to hit for good power compared with his aforementioned plate discipline makes him deadly at the plate. If you consider Hicks to be a bad hitter or average hitter, you’re sadly mistaken. He’s a very good hitter, but why do people still dislike him? The reason is simple: they don’t actually know a lot about the Yankees.

$10 Million A Year Is Nothing For Aaron Hicks

Drew Smyly and Corey Kluber will make over $10 million in 2021. Kevin Kiermaier is a worse centerfielder than Hicks, and he will make more than Hicks, too. The Yankees are going to pay less for Hicks than teams do for project players. While yes, seven years is a lot, it’s a deal that has a club option and will only be for four more years. James McCann is 30 and signed at four years $40 million, which is basically the remainder of Hicks’ contract. If he were to average 2.5-3 Wins Above Replacement in his last 4 years as a Yankee (which he most likely will), Hicks will be worth it.

Hicks is deserving of praise and not of being slandered constantly. He’s a very good offensive centerfielder, and while he has regressed defensively, he’s one of the best players in the lineup. It’s time we stop alienating our stars and start embracing them.

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Yankees should go after Kyle Hendricks http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/yankees-should-go-after-kyle-hendricks/ Wed, 20 Jan 2021 18:26:12 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83626 Due to a shallow free agenct class and diminished hopes of acquiring Luis Castillo, Yankees fans everywhere are beginning to worry. And for good reason. There’s no question that the Yankees need to bolster their starting rotation. After Gerrit Cole, the rotation is still full of uncertainty. Newly signed Corey Kluber hasn’t pitched a full season in nearly two years. Luis Severino is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and there’s no guarantee on how his 2021 return will go. […]

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Due to a shallow free agenct class and diminished hopes of acquiring Luis Castillo, Yankees fans everywhere are beginning to worry. And for good reason.

There’s no question that the Yankees need to bolster their starting rotation. After Gerrit Cole, the rotation is still full of uncertainty. Newly signed Corey Kluber hasn’t pitched a full season in nearly two years. Luis Severino is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and there’s no guarantee on how his 2021 return will go. Domingo German returns from suspension and after his winter ball performance, his 2021 campaign is far from a lock. Jordan Montgomery, Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt all offer promising futures, but how effective they can be at a major league level this season,  is also in question.

Solidifying your rotation might not be necessary to win the AL East, but it is absolutely necessary to win the World Series. So why not plug this hole with someone who is RELIABLE?

That player is Kyle Hendricks.

If the Yankees fully intend to stay under the luxury tax, money will have to be dumped elsewhere in order to make this possible. But this move is absolutely necessary if you’re trying to win a World Series.

Hendricks gives you another reliable arm. In his seven-year career, Hendricks has only missed a handful of starts. He has never had an ERA above 4 and almost always gives you 30+ starts in a full season. But what stands out to me is how grossly underrated this guy is.

Here’s how Hendricks stats rank among all qualified pitchers 2015-2020:

3.18 ERA (12th)

19.4 WAR (11th)

965 IP (9th)

21.2 Soft contact % (6th)

86.5 MPH Exit Velo (3rd)

In those rankings, his name sits next to pitchers like Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw. Is he that caliber pitcher? No. But I firmly believe that if he was a power pitcher, he wouldn’t be as underrated.

Although extremely effective, Hendricks’ four seam fastball averaged only 87.4 MPH in 2020. This does not mean anything to me. His performance and pure effectiveness should be evaluated first before we even look at his pure stuff. Because after all, mixing speeds and having pin point command has made Hendricks very good over the last seven years.

I think adding a pitcher with his pitching style can be viewed as a pro. In a potential 2021 playoff rotation, I imagine two out of the four starters to be Cole and Severino. Both are power pitchers with high strikeout rates and electric fastballs. Having a pitcher like Hendricks in the rotation can provide some variance and could be a very different look for opposing offenses.

Even if you don’t view his pitching style as a pro, his postseason numbers are impressive. Hendricks has a 3.12 ERA over 57.2 postseason innings. Not only is that a great ERA, but that is a good amount of postseason experience for someone who just turned 31.

At 31 years old, I anticipate Hendricks to be finishing his prime within the next couple of years. The fact that he doesn’t rely on pure velocity and movement, supports the idea that he won’t fall off the face of the earth when he does leave his prime. As long as he continues to have command and mix speeds, he’ll be effective. This is one of the reasons why I view this potential trade as safe. He’s under a team friendly contract for his age 31-34 age seasons and after having one of the best seasons of his career in 2020, there are no signs of him slowing down any time soon.

2020 Stats rank among qualified pitchers:

BB/9: .885 (1st)

IP: 81.1 (3rd)

Quality Starts: 9 (2nd)

IP per Game Started: 6.8 (2nd)

ERA+: 155 (14th) *Gerrit Cole ranked 16th*

WAR: 1.9 WAR (21st) *Gerrit Cole ranked 15th with a 2.2 WAR*

Paying Hendricks $14 million a year to put up stats like that is obviously worth it. If Cashman can give J.A. Happ $17 million, we should be able to swing a trade and take on an additional $14 million for a much better pitcher.

The guy is reliable, consistent, and effective. He goes deep into games and is affordable. He gives you exactly what you need. Enough of the question marks, make it happen Cashman.

Do you want Hendricks? Who would you be willing to give up for him? Let me know what you think on Twitter @Nolan_DeMelfi

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Looking into the Yankees’ bench http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/looking-into-the-yankees-bench/ Wed, 20 Jan 2021 15:08:34 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83621 Last week, I wrote about how the Yankees’ bullpen wasn’t as big of a strength in 2020 as we’re accustomed to. The same could be said about the 2020 Yankees’ bench. The mantra of the 2019 Yankees was “Next Man Up.” No matter how many players were lost due to injury, the next guy taking his spot was going to come in and mash. We saw the emergence of Gio Urshela as the team’s starting third baseman. Mike Tauchman had […]

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Last week, I wrote about how the Yankees’ bullpen wasn’t as big of a strength in 2020 as we’re accustomed to. The same could be said about the 2020 Yankees’ bench.

The mantra of the 2019 Yankees was “Next Man Up.” No matter how many players were lost due to injury, the next guy taking his spot was going to come in and mash. We saw the emergence of Gio Urshela as the team’s starting third baseman. Mike Tauchman had an .865 OPS in 87 games. Cameron Maybin and Clint Frazier stepped up to fill holes in the outfield. Mike Ford hit 12 homers in 50 games. Even Kendrys Morales was good.

2020, however, was a different story. What seemed like a deep Yankee bench was no longer reliable. Let’s take a look.

Middle Infield Struggles

The departure of Didi Gregorius hurt the Yankees’ middle infield depth before 2020 even started. Gleyber Torres became the starting shortstop, backed up by Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada.

Estrada showed promise in 2019 with a .732 OPS in 35 games. He was abysmal in 2020, with his OPS dropping to just .460 in 26 games. Wade has never been a major league-level hitter, as he batted .170 with a .595 OPS in 52 (!) games in 2020.

The Yankees’ infield depth was so poor in 2020, they had to turn to journeyman Jordy Mercer for a few games. He went just 2-11 in pinstripes.

Ford & Andujar Regression

Ford was one of the many bright spots of the 2019 Yankees. I mean, how could you not love this guy?

Unfortunately, Ford took a major step back in 2020. His OPS dropped more than 400 points. He hit just two home runs in 29 games. The Yankees clearly expected more of a contribution of Ford, considering he batted 6th or higher in every game he started. After a productive 2019, Ford was not good in 2020.

Miguel Andujar was another potential contributor off the Yankees’ bench. The 2018 American League Rookie of the Year runner-up played both third base and outfield in 2020. Whether it was rust from missing the majority of 2019, or his time being focused on defense, Andujar was bad at the plate in 2020. He hit just .242 with a .632 OPS in 21 games. Maybe with a normal spring training, Andujar can rebound in 2021.

Outfield

With both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton spending time on the IL again in 2020, there was plenty of opportunity for the Yankees’ outfielders. Frazier made the most of it, posting a .905 OPS in 39 games. He’s likely solidified himself as the starting left fielder for 2021. Brett Gardner had an up-and-down year. I believe he comes back as a bench bat in 2021. A pressing issue in 2020, however, was Tauchman.

After a breakout 2019, Tauchman struggled mightily last season. He hit .242 with a .648 OPS, and most troubling, couldn’t hit pitches down the middle.

I expect the Yankees to re-sign Gardner, but if not, Tauchman will be heavily relied upon in 2021. We’ll need to see something closer to 2019 Tauchman if that’s the case.

The bench headed into 2021

As of right now, this is my best guess for the Yankees’ bench on Opening Day:

C Kyle Higashioka
IF Tyler Wade
OF Brett Gardner
OF Mike Tauchman

Like I said, I see Gardner coming back on a cheap one-year deal. Ford and Andujar are also possibilities, depending on how spring training goes. I would love to see the Yankees upgrade their bench, preferably with some lefty bats. Joc Pederson or Tommy La Stella would be great fits in the Bronx. An upgrade at middle infield to provide some insurance behind Gleyber & DJ would be awesome, too. Freddy Galvis is an option, and he made just $5 million last year. Sadly, I don’t see the Yankees making any of those moves if they intend to stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold.

What do you think about the Yankees’ bench? Who do you think can have a big 2021, or who should they acquire? Comment or tweet me @ncostanzo24

 

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The Yankees and valuable free agent contracts http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/the-yankees-and-valuable-free-agent-contracts/ Tue, 19 Jan 2021 17:15:58 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83613 In celebration of the Yankees resigning DJ LeMahieu to an incredibly team-friendly six year, $90 million contract, I wanted to take a look at some other contracts that turned out to be incredibly valuable.  LeMahieu has yet to play a game on his new deal but it’s hard to see $15 million a year going to a player like DJ LeMahieu being a bust relative to what salaries are for stars of his caliber.  The criteria for including a player […]

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In celebration of the Yankees resigning DJ LeMahieu to an incredibly team-friendly six year, $90 million contract, I wanted to take a look at some other contracts that turned out to be incredibly valuable. 

LeMahieu has yet to play a game on his new deal but it’s hard to see $15 million a year going to a player like DJ LeMahieu being a bust relative to what salaries are for stars of his caliber.  The criteria for including a player in this post were pretty simple.  The player had to have been signed as a free agent.  The player had to have been signed to a multi-year deal.  With that said, let’s take a look at some of the most valuable contracts the Yankees produced of the last couple of decades.

Mike Mussina

Signed a six year, $88.5 million deal

Value: $3.12 million per WAR

Mike Mussina’s free agent contract from 20 years ago really into perspective how valuable LeMahieu’s contract will be moving forward.  Mussina left the Baltimore Orioles in free agency to join a Yankees team that was coming off their third straight World Series title and 26th overall.  Mussina was the fourth best available player by WAR that offseason behind Alex Rodriguez, Mike Hampton, and Manny Ramirez.  His numbers in 2000 were watered down by the fact that the Orioles were terrible, finishing fourth in the AL East.  He finished the 2000 season with 11 wins against 15 loses but threw 237.2 innings with an ERA of 3.79.  Mussina had developed a track record of dependency by throwing at least 200 innings each year between 1995 and 2000.  When he got to New York he did much of the same.

Season

W

L

ERA

CG

Shutouts

IP

SO

2001

17

11

3.15

4

3

228.2

214

2002

18

10

4.05

2

2

215.2

182

2003

17

8

3.40

2

1

214.2

195

2004

12

9

4.59

1

0

164.2

132

2005

13

8

4.41

2

2

179.2

142

2006

15

7

3.51

1

0

197.1

172

 

He continued the trend of a workhorse for his first three seasons in New York, passing the 200 inning mark each time while providing decent run prevention.  He fell off a bit in the fourth and fifth year of his deal, falling below the 200 inning mark and pitching to an ERA around 4.50.  However, in the final year of his deal he would bounce back with 197.1 innings pitched and ERA of 3.51.  After the 2006 season, the Yankees and Mike Mussina would agree to a second contract worth $23 million over two seasons.  With that contract he would finish out his career in pinstripes, sadly one season before the Yankees would win their 27th and most recent World Series championship.  Despite not reaching the pinnacle of baseball in winning a World Series, Mussina would eventually be inducted into the Hall of Fame in January of 2019.

Hideki Matsui

Signed a three year, $21 million deal

Value: $3.68 million per WAR

It’s hard to predict what Japanese born players are going to do once they make the move to the MLB.  The best example has to be Ichiro who won the AL Rookie of Year and AL MVP in 2001 after coming stateside.  Two years later, another player would make the move and again show that talent is talent no matter where it comes from.  Hideki Matsui decided to make the move at the age of 28, signing a three year deal with the Yankees for $21 million.  The player who become known to Yankee’s fans as “Godzilla” did not disappoint on his first MLB contract.

Season

G

PA

H

2B

3B

HR

R

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

2003

162

695

179

42

1

16

82

106

2

0.287

0.353

0.435

0.788

2004

162

680

174

34

2

31

109

108

3

0.298

0.390

0.522

0.912

2005

162

704

192

45

3

23

108

116

2

0.305

0.367

0.496

0.863

 

2003 was a good year for Matsui.  His OPS was above league average for sure but .788 was nothing outlandish.  He would end up finishing as the runner up in the rookie of the year voting behind Angel Berroa, who would actually end up playing for the Yankees in 2009.  2004 would be Matsui’s coming out party as a superstar.  Matsui showed that he could play every day during his rookie campaign and would do the same during his sophomore season except this time with a dramatic improvement in production.  He increased his batting average (from .287 to .298), his power (from 16 homeruns to 31 homeruns and from a .435 slugging to a .522 slugging), and reached the century mark in RBIs and runs scored.  He made the All-Star team that year and even garnered some MVP votes.  2005 would be a step back for Matsui in terms of power, hitting only 23 homeruns a year after surpassing the 30 homeruns, but he slightly improved his batting average and again put up totals of 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored.  After his first Yankees contract was up, Matsui would resign for $52 million over four years which gave him the opportunity to win his one and only championship ring.  After departing the Yankees following the 2009 season, Matsui’s career sort of went out with a whimper.  He played three more seasons, one each with the Angels, Athletics, and Rays, before retiring at the end of the 2012 season.  He may not have finished his career in pinstripes but Hideki Matsui will always hold a special place in the hearts of Yankees fans.

Johnny Damon

Signed a four year, $52 million deal

Value: $3.9 million per WAR

Another member of the 2009 World Series champions, Johnny Damon might surprise some people to be on this list.  I can still remember the hysteria when Damon signed with the Yankees less than a year after stating he could never see himself playing in the Big Apple.  The Red Sox refused to offer anything more a three year deal to stay in Boston even though Damon’s agent, Scott Boras, had stated that Damon was looking for a five year deal.  Enter Brian Cashman who was in the market for a new centerfielder.  Damon and the Yankees split the difference by signing a four year deal worth $52 million. Damon ended 2006 with 24 homeruns, 25 steals, and 115 runs scored and finished 15th in MVP voting.  After being brought in to be the new leadoff hitter, it was surprising to see Damon set a new career high in homeruns.  2007 would be a disappointing step back for Damon as he regressed back to 12 homeruns and slugged under .400 since his only season in Oakland.  He still provided solid on base skills and stolen base ability but all told he still only produced an OPS+ of 96.  The next two years were much better for Damon.  The final two years of Damon’s contract went like this:

G

PA

H

2B

3B

HR

R

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

286

1249

323

63

8

41

202

153

41

0.292

0.370

0.475

0.845

 

Damon spent most of 2008 hitting in the leadoff spot again but in 2009 the team made the call the flip Damon and Jeter in the batting order.  Damon hitting in the two spot was a great move for the team and him personally.  He put up his best offensive season as a Yankee in 2009 with an .854 OPS and matching his career high in homeruns.  Just like Matsui, Damon would depart the Yankees after 2009 and bounce around the league.  He would have stops in Detroit, Tampa Bay and Cleveland before being unofficially retired from the league at the end of 2012.  Damon was a loveable player for sure and we will always have this at-bat against Brad Lidge in the 2009 World Series.

Andrew Miller

Signed a four year, $36 million deal

Value: $3.76 million per WAR

After missing the playoffs for the second straight year, the Yankees seemed lost.  After 2013, the greatest closer of all-time decided to call it quits and fortunately the Yankees had a great replacement for Mariano Rivera in David Robertson.  Unfortunately, Robertson was slated to become a free agent after the 2014 season.  The Yankees were also still in the days of trying to save every last penny in order to get under the luxury tax while still competing for a championship.  I believe this is what led to the Yankees deciding to sign Andrew Miller instead of David Robertson.  They only saved about $2.5 million a year on the deal but every little bit counts.  Miller appearing on this list is a bit of an outlier because he didn’t finish out his deal with the Yankees.  In the middle of the 2016 season the Yankees traded him to the Cleveland Indians in the deal that brought over Clint Frazier.  Doing a little bit of math and we see that he was still worth $3.76 million per WAR he provided to the Yankees.  Here are his stats while he was in pinstripes:

W

L

SV

IP

K/9

BB/9

HR/9

LOB%

ERA

FIP

WAR

9

3

45

107

14.89

2.27

0.84

87.70%

1.77

2.00

3.9

 

The man was a monster in the back of the bullpen and even after the Yankees swung a trade for Aroldis Chapman in December of 2015, an argument could be made that Miller was the most important piece in the bullpen.  In no way do I think the Yankees regret the trade of Andrew Miller and there were opportunities for them to really regret it.  Instead Greg Bird did this.  For the season and a half Andrew Miller did pitch for the Yankees he was always lights out.

DJ LeMahieu

Signed a two year, $24 million deal

Value: $2.1 million per WAR

Of course I’m going to include LeMahieu on this list.  At the time, the two year deal he signed with New York was met with mixed reviews.  He had become known for his defense to that point and in 2018 had just set a career high in homeruns but his .276/.321/.428 slash line while playing in Colorado left something to be desired.  The Yankees signed DJ as a utility player to fill in until Didi Gregorius was ready to come back.  Little did they know injuries would force LeMahieu into an everyday role in 2019 and he did more than just “fill in”.  Here are LeMahieu’s stats during his first contract with the Yankees:

G

PA

H

2B

3B

HR

R

RBI

SO

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

195

871

268

43

4

36

150

129

111

8

0.336

0.386

0.536

0.922

0.199

 

As you all know, that is a superstar stat line.  There’s no way I believe that Brian Cashman envisioned LeMahieu becoming the player he is today.  Still, the fact that Cashman was able to lock up DJ for six years while only paying him an extra $3 million a year is nothing short of spectacular.  Here’s to hoping that this next contract turns out like the first one and the rest of the contracts mentioned in this post.

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Yankees avoid arbitration with eight players http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/yankees-avoid-arbitration-with-eight-players/ Sat, 16 Jan 2021 01:28:23 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83609 BRONX, N.Y. — The New York Yankees announced they have avoided arbitration with all eight eligible players on Friday. The club has come to terms with outfielders Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier, infielders Gio Urshela, Luke Voit, and Gleyber Torres, catcher Gary Sánchez and pitchers Chad Green, and Jordan Montgomery. All of the deals are one-year, non-guaranteed contracts. Embed from Getty Images According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, Judge will earn $10.175 million; Torres, $4 million. Jon Heyman reported figures for […]

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BRONX, N.Y. — The New York Yankees announced they have avoided arbitration with all eight eligible players on Friday. The club has come to terms with outfielders Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier, infielders Gio Urshela, Luke Voit, and Gleyber Torres, catcher Gary Sánchez and pitchers Chad Green, and Jordan Montgomery. All of the deals are one-year, non-guaranteed contracts.

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According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, Judge will earn $10.175 million; Torres, $4 million. Jon Heyman reported figures for the following players: Sánchez, $6.35 million; Voit, $4.7 million; Urshela, $4.65 million; Montgomery, $2.13 million; and Frazier, $2.1 million. Reporting by Joel Sherman confirms the terms of Green’s deal at $2.15 million.

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These signings, coupled with pending deals with DJ LeMahieu and Corey Kluber, will place the 2021 payroll approximately $9 million below the luxury tax threshold.

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Yankees to sign Corey Kluber pending physical http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/yankees-to-sign-corey-kluber-pending-physical/ Sat, 16 Jan 2021 01:01:10 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83604 BRONX, N.Y. — After finally re-signing second baseman DJ LeMahieu, the New York Yankees are reportedly turning their attention to the starting rotation. Embed from Getty Images According to a report by ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Yankees are set to sign two-time American League Cy Young Award winner, Corey Kluber. Pending a physical, the deal would place Kluber in pinstripes. Right-hander Corey Kluber and the New York Yankees are finalizing a deal that will bring the two-time AL Cy Young […]

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BRONX, N.Y. — After finally re-signing second baseman DJ LeMahieu, the New York Yankees are reportedly turning their attention to the starting rotation.

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According to a report by ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Yankees are set to sign two-time American League Cy Young Award winner, Corey Kluber. Pending a physical, the deal would place Kluber in pinstripes.

Various reports swirling had Kluber seeking a one-year contract to “re-establish” himself.

Kluber, who will turn 35 next April, has been battling back the past two years from a broken right arm and a torn right teres major muscle. Those injuries limited Kluber to eight starts between the Cleveland Indians (seven in 2019) and the Texas Rangers (one in 2020) during that time span.

According to Jon Heyman, the contract is expected to be for one-year in the $10-11 million range.

At his pinnacle atop the Tribe’s rotation, Kluber earned the Cy Young in 2014 and 2017 and was a three-time All-Star from 2016 to 2018. The right-handed hurler has led the junior circuit in ERA once, games started once, complete games three times, shutouts twice and innings pitched once. Kluber posted 200+ strikeouts in a Cleveland uniform every season from 2014 to 2018 and sports a 3.16 career ERA.

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In nine career postseason starts, Kluber sports a 3.97 ERA, including a 2.81 ERA in two World Series outings in 2016.

If healthy, Kluber could prove to be a steal. The Yankees are banking on Kluber and pitching coach Matt Blake rekindling that magic in the Bronx.

 

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Underrated Yankees: Graig Nettles http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-history/underrated-yankees-graig-nettles/ Fri, 15 Jan 2021 18:23:15 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83594 Embed from Getty Images Every Friday, we will be taking a look back at the career of a critical player in New York Yankees history that doesn’t quite get the recognition they deserve. When looking at the storied history of the Yankees names like BabeRuth, Mickey Mantle and Derek Jeter quickly come to mind. Today, we will be looking at those players who played a critical role. Simply put, without these individuals, the Yankees wouldn’t have been the Yankees. You […]

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Every Friday, we will be taking a look back at the career of a critical player in New York Yankees history that doesn’t quite get the recognition they deserve. When looking at the storied history of the Yankees names like BabeRuth, Mickey Mantle and Derek Jeter quickly come to mind. Today, we will be looking at those players who played a critical role. Simply put, without these individuals, the Yankees wouldn’t have been the Yankees.

You can find the previous editions here:

Elston Howard

Chris Chambliss

Mario Duncan and Luis Sojo

Frank Crosetti

Today we will be taking a look at the hot corner. Third base has been an interesting position for the Yankees, usually filled by a veteran like Scott Brosius or Wade Boggs. Statistically, no one comes close to matching A-Rod’s production while recent years saw stop gaps from Chase Headley and Todd Frazier. When looking at the third base position, one former captain stands out for his performance in the 70s into the 80s; Graig Nettles.

Early Career

Graig Nettles was born on Aug. 20, 1944, as the United States was occupied with the liberation of France. Like many Americans, Graig’s father, Wayne, was overseas fighting for his country. Meanwhile, his mother was in a hospital room struggling to decide on a name for her second son. Stuck between Greg and Craig, she decided to simply combine the two and settled on Graig. Eventually, Wayne returned home and the Nettles’ family lived in San Diego where Nettles would become a standout on the baseball field and basketball court. His success landed him a baseball scholarship at San Diego State University, where a late growth spurt helped to increase his power. Nettles would catch the eye of the Minnesota Twins and he would be selected in the fourth round of the 1965 MLB Draft.

Nettles would rocket through the minors by hitting 28 home runs in 1966 and leading the league in assists in 1967. After three end of the season plate appearances, Nettles was quickly making a name for himself in the Twins’ farm system. 1968 saw Nettles head to the Pacific Coast League where he would play for a manager he would credit for shaping his career; Billy Martin. Martin was hard on Nettles and would scream at him for defensive lapses. At first, Nettles hated Martin but would quickly come to respect him as a leader. Nettles would win the Pacific Coast League’s Rookie of the Year and would punch his ticket to the majors.

Minnesota and Cleveland

Nettles first appeared in Minnesota at the end of the 1968 season. He recorded a hit in his first seven games; including five homers. In 1969, he would appear in 98 games with the ball club, primarily in the outfield. While the Twins thought highly of Nettles, he was blocked at third by Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew. Needing to bolster their rotation, the Twins would send Nettles to Cleveland for a package led by Luis Tiant.

As Nettles made his way to Cleveland, he was surrounded by rumors that he was unable to field the position. However, Cleveland’s manager, Alvin Dark, committed to playing Nettles at third. Nettles responded by having the highest fielding percentage for all MLB third basemen in 1970 while leading the team in home runs. The next season, Nettles would set MLB records for most double plays and assists by a third baseman while again leading the team in homers.

Despite Nettles’ success, the team was struggling. After finishing 41 games behind first place, Cleveland brought in Ken Aspromonte to lead the club. Suddenly, Nettles was in a platoon, finding himself on the bench when a lefty was pitching. His confidence dropped and he made it known he would prefer to play elsewhere. Following the 1972 season, Nettles was sent to the Bronx.

New York Yankees

Shortly after Nettles was sent to the Yankees, the team was purchased by George Steinbrenner. After struggling at the end of the 60s, Steinbrenner was looking to turn the ball club back into a winner. The Yankees steadily improved in 1973 and 74 but the manager position became something of a revolving door. 1975 would see Nettles reunited with Billy Martin and earn his first All-Star game selection. The following season would see a new era of Yankees baseball begin. The Yankees would win the division by over 10 games before being swept by the Big Red Machine in the World Series. Meanwhile, Nettles led baseball with 32 home runs. Despite a disappointing end, the Yankees were finally back.

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1977 saw new energy running through the Bronx. The Yankees were finally back and Nettles was just entering his prime. Nettles returned to the All-Star game, won his first Gold Glove and the Yankees would defeat the Dodgers in 6 games in the World Series. Nettles would continue his dominant play again in 1978, winning another Gold Glove while the Yankees would again beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Fall Classic. Unfortunately, 1979 was a rough year for the Yankees and Nettles with the passing of captain Thurman Munson. The Yankees would struggle down the stretch and eventually slide to fourth place.

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The 1981 season saw the Yankees bounce back and led by Nettles’ MVP efforts in the ALCS saw them return to the World Series. After winning the first game at home, the Yankees looked well on their way to another World Series win against the Dodgers. However, disaster struck in game two as Nettles broke his thumb sliding into home plate. Despite winning game two, Nettles would miss the next three games in Los Angeles. Despite returning in game six, the Dodgers would win the Series.

Late and Post Career

The 1982 season would see Nettles named the eleventh captain of the Yankees. However, Nettles, now 37, started to see a steep decline in his play. Following the 1983 season, the Yankees would send Nettles to San Diego. After a few years in San Diego, Nettles would briefly play for the Braves and Expos before calling it a career at the age of 43.

Nettles would coach for the Yankees in 1991 and the Padres in 1996. In 2007, he served as a technical advisor on ESPN’s the Bronx is Burning, which detailed the 1977 Yankees.

Nettles was a critical piece in Yankees history and is still regarded as one of the best fielding third basemen not named Brooks Robinson. Known for always trying to stop every ball hit his way and for doing everything he could to win; Graig Nettles is a Yankees legend.

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DJ Comes Home http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/dj-comes-home/ Fri, 15 Jan 2021 15:25:38 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83586 After 75 days of free agency, 32-year-old DJ LeMahieu is finalizing a deal with the New York Yankees, according to multiple sources. Despite a long and grueling process between the 2nd baseman and the Yankees organization,  early this morning, John Morosi was the first to report that the two are finally coming to an agreement. Leave it to DJ LMHU to finalize a deal on Friday morning at 6am. Source: DJ LeMahieu is finalizing an agreement to return to the […]

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After 75 days of free agency, 32-year-old DJ LeMahieu is finalizing a deal with the New York Yankees, according to multiple sources.

Despite a long and grueling process between the 2nd baseman and the Yankees organization,  early this morning, John Morosi was the first to report that the two are finally coming to an agreement. Leave it to DJ LMHU to finalize a deal on Friday morning at 6am.

This news comes only days after DJ and his agent expressed frustration with the slow-moving free agent process.  The team seemed unwilling to budge on the 5-year $100 million contract that the infielder was reportedly eyeing, despite claims from the organization that this was their top priority.  LeMahieu, who seemed at his wits end not even a week ago, even threatened to reach out to other teams who were willing to make him an offer.

These reports had Yankee fans worried that DJ LMHU’s time with the team had come to an end, a sure blow to the team considering how well he produced.

But those fears faded over night and quickly turned into early morning celebrations.

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Yankees fans need to relax http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/yankees-fans-need-to-relax/ Thu, 14 Jan 2021 20:04:24 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83572 I’m going to get straight to the point. I’m tired of hearing all the complaining from Yankee fans online. I know we’re all accustomed to getting most any player we want and The Boss opening up his checkbook to any top free agent available, but the offseason whining over the lack of moves has become absolutely irritating. Not re-signing LeMahieu has been a bit befuddling, but you would think the team was about to implode from the comments you see […]

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I’m going to get straight to the point. I’m tired of hearing all the complaining from Yankee fans online.

I know we’re all accustomed to getting most any player we want and The Boss opening up his checkbook to any top free agent available, but the offseason whining over the lack of moves has become absolutely irritating.

Not re-signing LeMahieu has been a bit befuddling, but you would think the team was about to implode from the comments you see on social media, along with stories written this offseason.

Does this team have its weaknesses? Yes. Does it have any glaring holes? No. Even if you wanted to argue the starting rotation as being a major issue, what could be done about it? Trevor Bauer is the only legitimately good starting pitcher on the market and he seems to just be playing games with everyone at this point. It’s been reported Masahiro Tanaka will either come back to New York or head home to Japan.

Also, the way this team has been constructed is, in my opinion, better than what the Yankees were trying to do in the mid-2000s. Cashman and the front office have been able to keep top young talent and build around them with key free agent acquisitions and diamonds in the rough. This is one of the best four teams in baseball and fans talk like they are a bad team that isn’t trying to get better.

Another area often mentioned as a weakness is the bullpen, with the loss of Tommy Kahnle and struggles of Adam Ottavino. I think now more than ever, if you aren’t a top-flight reliever, you are a dime a dozen in an MLB bullpen. The Yankees are able to draft arms they feel can be contributors in relief if they don’t work out in the rotation.

The Yankees haven’t made the blockbuster trades other teams have according to what you read online. Except they have, a little over three years ago for Giancarlo Stanton. In that deal, it was more of a salary dump for the Miami Marlins and the Yankees didn’t give up anyone of note.

The front office has been adamant about keeping their top talent. Now Clint Frazier is becoming everyone’s favorite player. And Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt are on the verge of becoming top or middle of the rotation arms for New York instead of someone else.

There are no CC Sabathia-type pitchers available for this club, and none of the top free agents outside of LeMahieu and maybe J.T. Realmuto make sense to go after.

So, no, Yankee fans, you most likely aren’t going to get your wish and land every player that pops up in trade rumors or becomes a free agent. But you will have a team that has been built into a consistent World Series contender and is truly only some injury luck away from a title.

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The Yankees should acquire Jameson Taillon http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/the-new-york-yankees-should-acquire-jameson-taillon/ Thu, 14 Jan 2021 19:15:04 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83543 The New York Yankees and Jameson Taillon are familiar with each other this offseason. Back when Josh Bell was still on the trade market, the Yankees were rumored to be going after both Bell and Taillon. It’s no surprise that Yankee fans are growing impatient with the lack of improvements to the roster, but luckily for all of you, I’ve got just the plan. The Yankees should go out and pull the trigger on a trade for Taillon, one of […]

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The New York Yankees and Jameson Taillon are familiar with each other this offseason. Back when Josh Bell was still on the trade market, the Yankees were rumored to be going after both Bell and Taillon. It’s no surprise that Yankee fans are growing impatient with the lack of improvements to the roster, but luckily for all of you, I’ve got just the plan.

The Yankees should go out and pull the trigger on a trade for Taillon, one of the most underrated pitchers in the sport, because would provide an immediate boost to the rotation.

Taillon is an Established Starter

While there is untapped potential, Taillon has already been a solid starter in the league. He was sidelined for most of 2019 and all of 2020, but from 2017-2019 he put up some solid numbers. With a 3.75 ERA and 3.51 FIP, on the surface, he seems like a pitcher who could maybe be reaping the benefits of a poor run environment in Pittsburgh, but that wouldn’t be true. A 3.71 pCRA and 3.69 DRA suggests that he is able to consistently be a solid starter. His production also comes with a modest 15.3% K-BB%, which could improve drastically. He wasn’t even properly utilized, and yet he was performing well. What do I mean by improper utilization? I mean that his pitching coach was straight garbage and held him back.

The New York Yankees Analytical Prowess

With Matt Blake finally getting a full season with the organization, his analytical coaching will be able to help pitchers. Taillon is someone in dire need of an analytical pitching coach like Matt Blake. While Taillon was healthy, he had the groundball loving Ray Searage as a pitching coach. While groundball pitchers can be effective, they shouldn’t be forced onto pitchers with strikeout stuff. Jameson Taillon has an amazing pitch mix that the Yankees could utilize to make him realize his full potential:

Fastball: 95.2 MPH/2350 RPM
Sinker: 95.2 MPH/2223 RPM
Curveball: 82.2 MPH/2649 RPM
Slider: 89.8 MPH/2393 RPM
Changeup: 87.9 MPH/1709 RPM

He has some of the best arm talent in the game and he has some great breaking balls as well. With a pitch mix like that, Taillon can become a much better strikeout pitcher and progress into a No. 2 caliber starter. He was a 2nd overall pick in the 2010 draft for a reason.

How Could the Yankees Acquire Jameson Taillon?

Since he is under contract, the Yankees would have to trade for him. This deal wouldn’t take any major prospects since Taillon is coming off an injury and isn’t the same caliber starter as guys like Snell or Darvish. It would take some younger prospects.

New York Yankees receive: Jameson Tallion RHP
Pittsburgh Pirates receive: T.J Sikkema LHP (#17 prospect), Caanan Smith OF (#21 prospect), Miguel Yajure RHP (#15 prospect)

This deal sends a pitcher who could be MLB ready in Miguel Yajure, a young pitcher who’s ETA is 2022, and a young outfielder who’s ETA is also 2022. The Yankees get a young controllable starter who’s going to fit well with them and their pitching coach at a low price. It’s a win-win for both teams, and the Yankees will get a key piece for their rotation.

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What if the Yankees get outbid for DJ LeMahieu? http://bronxpinstripes.com/yankees-news-and-rumors/what-if-the-yankees-get-outbid-for-dj-lemahieu/ Wed, 13 Jan 2021 18:48:32 +0000 http://bronxpinstripes.com/?p=83545 Let me be the first to tell you — if DJ LeMahieu is available for a reasonable price tag, he should be re-signed. But as reports surface that he’s asking for J.D. Martinez numbers (five years, $110 million), that he’s frustrated with the Yankees, and that Brian Cashman is working on an extreme budget, I find it far from a guarantee that LeMahieu comes back to the Bronx. So what if he doesn’t? If we lose out to LeMahieu, it’ll […]

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Let me be the first to tell you — if DJ LeMahieu is available for a reasonable price tag, he should be re-signed. But as reports surface that he’s asking for J.D. Martinez numbers (five years, $110 million), that he’s frustrated with the Yankees, and that Brian Cashman is working on an extreme budget, I find it far from a guarantee that LeMahieu comes back to the Bronx. So what if he doesn’t?

If we lose out to LeMahieu, it’ll most likely be due to another team offering him a very generous contract, a contract that the Yankees are not willing to match. If this does happen then I don’t see this being the worst thing in the world. I wouldn’t be comfortable paying him at that rate for multiple seasons out of his prime anyway. I still believe LeMahieu will be a hell of a player the next couple of years, but there is always the possibility of him falling off and peaking much sooner than expected. Let me explain.

The Angels and Albert Pujols are a very similar situation. Although more of a power hitter, the first baseman was hands down the best overall hitter in the game and looked unstoppable with the Cardinals. In his 11 years in St. Louis, he was top five in MVP 10 out of those 11 years. With no signs of slowing down, the Angels signed him to a backloaded contract of 10 years/$240 million after his age 31 season (same age as LeMahieu). Almost instantly his production plummeted. There is a considerable difference in his production at age 27-31 compared to ages 32-36.

Age 27-31 Stats (turn mobile device to landscape)

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
2007-2011 STL 772 3371 2823 543 914 195 3 195 571 48 18 482 310 .324 .423 .602 1.025 172 1700 118 29 0 37 153
Average 154 674 565 109 183 39 1 39 114 10 4 96 62 340 24 6 0 7 31
per 162 games 163 708 593 115 192 41 1 41 120 11 4 102 66 358 25 7 0 8 33

Age 32-36 Stats:

Year
Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
2012-2016 LAA 721 3119 2826 379 752 147 1 146 488 23 6 239 349 .266 .325 .474 .799 123 1339 104 23 0 31 51
Average 144 624 565 76 150 29 0 29 98 5 1 48 70 268 21 5 0 6 10
per 162 games 163 702 636 86 170 34 1 33 110 6 2 54 79 302 24 6 0 7 12

With every season, you can see Pujols’ production decrease. In his nine years with the Angels he hasn’t even been close to an MVP caliber player, earning only ONE all star appearance. With the exception of 2012, Pujols was never worth $25 million-plus during any season in Anaheim.

Although this is just an example, signing a player through his age 32-36 always holds this risk — a risk that may not be worth taking. With Aaron Judge’s payday approaching, along with the large contracts of Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees cannot afford to be paying DJ LeMahieu big numbers if he becomes a shadow of himself.

With all that being said, I think the Yankees need to stay firm on whatever they feel is a comfortable contract length. And if they lose LeMahieu, then they should find a one year rental, with hopes to find their long term solution in a loaded 2021 free agent class.

Respond to the post or tweet me @Nolan_DeMelfi and let me know what the Yankees should do? Should the Yankees give DJ a blank check or should they risk being outbid?

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