The New York Yankees Need to Send Gary Sanchez a Big Message

Gary Sanchez

There were few more ardent supporters of Gary Sanchez than myself. No other catcher has hit more home runs since he was called up. I was willing to live with the spotty defense in return for the elite hitting. However, after last night, Sanchez has cashed in his last chit with me.

The lack of hustle he displayed running after the passed ball in the first inning was inexcusable. To be fair, Luis Severino wasn’t exactly busting his butt to cover home plate either and Jake Bauers exploited the laziness of the two stars and went from second to home on a passed ball.

Yankees’ fans are used to Sanchez gaffes. Some can be overlooked but lack of hustle isn’t something that can be overlooked. To compound matters, in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and two out Sanchez stepped to the plate. He hit a grounder that was fielded by the second baseman Daniel Robertson who tossed the ball to shortstop Willy Adames who tried to step on second. Aaron Hicks, however, beat Adames who then had to rush to throw to first. He got Sanchez by a step. Inning over, ballgame over. Sanchez, as the video showed, was barely jogging to first. He tried to turn on the jets when he saw the play developing. Too little, too late.

This isn’t the first time the Yankees had issues with Sanchez and his attitude, and that is what lack of hustle is, attitude. It wasn’t long ago that Sanchez got benched in Trenton for refusing to catch a bullpen session. The Yankees acted swiftly and Sanchez got the message and busted his butt to get better and improve his attitude.

The Yankees need to send a message to Sanchez and send it loud and clearly. Lollygagging can’t and won’t be tolerated. The veterans in the clubhouse need to get in Sanchez’s face at the same time management sends him a message by benching him, or better yet, sending him down to the minor leagues to work on his mechanics both behind the plate and with the bat.

This season has been tough on Sanchez. He got off to a slow start at the plate that just spiraled out of control and his defense behind the plate suffered as a result. To date, he is hitting just .188/.283/.416 with 14 home runs and 14 doubles in 66 games. That is a far cry from the .278/.345/.531 slash line he posted last season with 33 home runs.

The talent is there. The rest is up to Sanchez. His head isn’t in the game for whatever reason. The Yankees need to send a message to him that this kind of lackadaisical play won’t be accepted. Send him to the minor leagues to both send a message and allow him to work on his swing. Let him regain confidence. Let him understand that he hasn’t been living up to the standards of a Yankee in the effort department. At the very least maybe he can learn to lay off of sliders low and away. The Yankees need to do something right now, they can’t wait. The longer this goes on the worse it will get and it might spread to other young players in the clubhouse and lead to some serious issues. The time is now. Send the message.

New York Yankees You Forgot Were All-Stars

Yankees All Star Game

The New York Yankees are one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. There have been a healthy number of Hall of Famers and great ballplayers who have donned the pinstripes. Many have appeared in All-Star games throughout the years. However, there are some players who have worn the Yankees’ uniform who you probably forgot appeared in an All-Star Game as a member of the New York Yankees. These are the Yankees’ All-Stars you forgot about.

New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers - Game Three

Phil Hughes, SP – Once upon a time Hughes was a top prospect in baseball. He was compared to Hall of Famers as he rose through the Yankees’ system and finally made his debut in 2007 as a 21-year-old. He showed promise but injuries and struggles prevented him from breaking out until 2010. At just 24, Hughes was named an All-Star. He had gone 11-2 with a 3.65 ERA in 16 starts leading up to the All-Star game in 2010. He also struck out a healthy 91 batters in 101 innings and posted a very good 1.17 WHIP. Hughes came in during the seventh inning. He got Joey Votto to ground out but then gave up singles to Scott Rolen and Matt Holliday. He was lifted in favor of Matt Thornton. Thornton got Chris Young to pop up, walked Marlon Byrd, then gave up a double to Brian McCann. Hughes was the losing pitcher that year. He also would never make another All-Star Game.

Scott Sanderson

Scott Sanderson, SP – Once upon a time the Yankees’ lone representative in a Midsummer Classic was Scott Sanderson. That was 1991. The game featured a ton of former and future Yankees like Rickey Henderson, Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Danny Tartabull, Ruben Sierra, Jack McDowell, Jimmy Key, Jeff Reardon, Cecil Fielder, Mike Morgan, Paul O’Neill, Darryl Strawberry and Lee Smith. However, we all know the Yankees in 1991 were awful. Sanderson, who was 34 at the time, had signed with the Yankees as a free agent prior to that season. He would go on to win 16 games in 1991 but was 9-3 with a 3.93 ERA heading into the game. He would post a 3.81 ERA on the year. So, he wasn’t terrible. But he was the only Yankee that year and he never made it into the game. It was also the only All-Star Game he was ever chosen for in his career.

Baseball Game  1981 AL Playoffs  Milwaukee vs NY Yankees Game1

Ron Davis, RP – Yankees fans might remember Davis for his incredible 1979 season where he went 14-2 with a 2.85 ERA. Those same fans might be surprised to find out Davis didn’t make the All-Star Game that year. He did make it in 1981, however, and it would be his only All-Star nod in his fairly decent career. He would pitch one inning, yielding a home run to Gary Carter, the first batter he faced. He then got Manny Trillo on a flyball and Steve Garvey on a pop-up to shortstop before striking Pedro Guerrero out. He would be traded on April 10, 1982 to the Minnesota Twins with Greg Gagne and Paul Boris in exchange for Roy Smalley.

Johnny Kucks

Johnny Kucks, SP – Let’s face it, there aren’t many fans reading this who ever heard of Kucks. Fewer will have seen him play. Kucks had debuted for the Yankees in 1955 at the age of 22. In 1956 he was an All-Star and in the middle of a season where he would go 18-9 with a 3.85 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. The future seemed bright for Kucks in 1956. However, he would never post another winning season in his career and would be traded to the Kansas City Athletics for Ralph Terry and Hector Lopez. Kucks would appear in his last MLB game in 1960 and would retire in 1963 after toiling in the minors for a few seasons. Kucks never made it into the All-Star Game.

Javier Vazquez

Javier Vazquez, SP – Once upon a time the Yankees thought Vazquez would be the answer in the rotation after they lost Andy Pettitte, David Wells, and Roger Clemens. Vazquez was just 27 in 2004 and everyone thought he would blossom into a star with the Yankees after being traded from the Montreal Expos. Things started out well for Vazquez. He went 10-5 with a 3.56 ERA and 1.15 WHIP while averaging 7.2 K/9. He looked like an ace. He even entered the All-Star Game in the fifth inning and struck out Mike Lowell, then got Miguel Cabrera to ground out to shortstop, and followed that with a strike out of Johnny Estrada. All signs pointed up. Then the second half began. Vazquez’s season fell off the rails. He went 4-5 with a horrendous 6.92 ERA and 1.487 WHIP. He gave up 61 earned runs in 79.1 innings. It was ugly. It got worse in the playoffs. He gave up five runs in five innings but got the win against Minnesota. Then, he got shelled in the ALCS by the Boston Red Sox giving up seven runs in 6.1 innings including surrendering three home runs. Prior to 2005 the Yankees shipped Vazquez off to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of the Randy Johnson deal. He would make a return to the Yankees in 2010 but things didn’t fare much better for Vazquez. The 2004 All-Star Game would be his only Midsummer Classic appearance even though he did finish fourth in the NL Cy Young voting in 2009. Vazquez’s Yankee tenure was so bad it is hard to remember he was an All-Star for them once.

Matt Harvey Could Be Intriguing Fit for New York Yankees


When the Cincinnati Reds acquired Matt Harvey from the New York Mets their intention seemed to be to try to fix Harvey and then deal him again. The Reds shipped former All-Star catcher Devin Mesoraco to the Mets for the former ace who has looked like a shell of himself after thoracic outlet surgery. Now, it appears as if the Reds are fielding calls on the right-hander.

The last most people heard of Harvey was that he was struggling with his loss of velocity and was a problem in the Mets’ clubhouse. Some in the Mets’ organization had tired of Harvey’s attitude and his play on the field wasn’t warranting keeping him around anymore. Since then, Harvey has turned it around, at least on the field and things have been quiet off the field so far.

The New York Yankees are in the market for a pitcher. The media has connected the Yankees and Mets on a Jacob deGrom deal but unless something drastic happens it is hard to imagine the Yankees and Mets getting together on a deal. So, what about Matt Harvey?

The Reds and Washington Nationals have reportedly talked about a Harvey deal that could include reliever Raisel Iglesias. There has also been some speculation in the media about the Yankees and Reds getting together on a deal for Harvey and while that once seemed laughable it actually might make some sense for both teams.

In 10 starts with the Reds, Harvey has posted a 4-3 record, 3.86 ERA, 1.99 WHIP, and has fanned 40 while walking 12 in 53.2 innings. He has given up seven home runs as well but that was to be expected in Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark. Over his last three starts, Harvey has posted a 1.47 ERA and struck out 14 in 18.1 innings and walking only two. Those wins have come against good teams with the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, and Milwaukee Brewers all taking the loss against the 29-year-old right-hander. He also hasn’t allowed a home run in his last four starts.

Harvey might never be the dominant pitcher he was with the Mets in 2013 and 2015 but he can still put together a nice career if his health holds up. His health history is an issue and will always follow him. However, he is adding velocity. According to Fangraphs, Harvey has added anywhere from 0.9 to 2.2 mph on his pitches, a nice step in the right direction. He may never throw as hard as he once did with the Mets but he is hitting the mid-90s with his fastball on a consistent basis.

The Yankees could easily give the Reds a couple of prospects for Harvey who is an impending free agent. He has postseason experience in New York. He would find a good role model in C.C. Sabathia in the Yankees’ clubhouse, something the Mets lacked. Harvey, who grew up a Yankees’ fan, would probably toe the line if the Yankees’ acquired him.

It would certainly be a big roll of the dice for the Yankees to acquire Harvey. But Cashman could stick it to the Mets and add a former Mets ace for what could be pennies on the dollar. Would Cincinnati say no to Thairo Estrada, Tyler Wade, and Chance Adams? Those are three pretty good prospects. Maybe it is a bit of an overpay on the Yankees’ part but Nick Krall and Brian Cashman are reasonable men who can hammer out a deal that works for both. Maybe Adams and one of those two or another prospect who seems to be blocked in the Bronx makes sense?

The Yankees adding Harvey would be an interesting play. It could be a great move for the Yankees or it could blow up in their faces. It would be a bit of a risk but it also could pay huge dividends come October and maybe beyond. If the price for other pitchers is too high perhaps Cashman rolls the dice and sees what Harvey looks like in navy blue pinstripes.

Justus Sheffield Could Be Answer to New York Yankees’ Pitching Issue

Justus Sheffield

The New York Yankees have been linked to several pitchers so far in early trade rumors. The trade market remains in flux because several teams with pitching assets are still alive in the playoff race as well as there being just a lot of underwhelming talent that is available. Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman has been looking to upgrade the rotation but he will only do so at his price.

The Yankees have been fortunate this season. For the most part their pitching has been good. There have been injuries to Jordan Montgomery and Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray has been ineffective and inconsistent. However, the Yankees’ young arms have filled in and Domingo German and Jonathan Loaisiga have been pretty good. There is also another option that has emerged in Moosic, Pa. with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders, Justus Sheffield.

Sheffield began the year at Double-A Trenton but after five starts was promoted to Triple-A. He has pitched extremely well and should be an option for the Yankees if the trade market doesn’t offer any low-hanging fruit for Cashman to pick.

Through 10 games (nine starts but the game in which he didn’t start he went six innings) in Triple-A, Sheffield has allowed one run or less in six of those appearances. In fact, he has allowed more than three earned runs in only one start.

Sheffield entered the season as the top pitching prospect, and second overall, in the organization. The left-hander features a fastball that sits right around 95 mph and he can get it up to 97-98 at times. There is good movement with his fastball, featuring a little sink to it. He has become pretty good at controlling his fastball and picking his spots with it compared to last season. Also showing improvement this season is his slider and changeup. His slider generally sits in the mid to upper 80s and he is controlling it with a lot more consistency and getting great movement on it this year. His changeup is still a work in progress but he has shown improvement and should be good enough to keep hitters off balance in the Majors right now. He projects as a number two or three starter but he could get better.

Sheffield isn’t one of those guys that is going to come up and mow down hitters. He does have 49 strikeouts in 51.2 AAA innings but he relies on getting weak contact and ground balls. He is still walking a few batters, 22 in AAA so far, but he works through his jams and shows a mental toughness you like to see in a pitcher. He doesn’t allow one or two mistakes to effect his whole performance. Even with those 22 walks he still owns a 1.16 WHIP thanks to his ability to get those ground balls and his allowing only 38 hits.

The Yankees were panning on letting Sheffield stay the whole year in the minors and work on command. However, Sheffield has proven himself a quick study and is working his way into making himself an option for this season. He isn’t on the 40-man roster but the Yankees can easily create a spot for him by moving Montgomery to the 60-day DL.

If Cashman is going to acquire a pitcher he has to make sure it is an upgrade over what he has. Right now with the market as it is there aren’t many options. Sheffield could be the answer to the Yankees’ pitching problems if the trade market isn’t.

This Might Be the Underlying Reason Behind Tommy Kahnle’s 2018 Struggles


The New York Yankees demoted Tommy Kahnle in a surprising move after their 7-4 win over the Detroit Tigers in the first game of a doubleheader. Kahnle was a major contributor to the Yankees’ bullpen last season after coming over in a trade with the Chicago White Sox that also landed the Yankees David Robertson and Todd Frazier. To replace Kahnle the Yankees activated Adam Warren off of the disabled list.

The 2018 season has not been kind to Kahnle. He has posted a 7.00 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, while issuing 10 walks and striking out 10 in nine innings. He went on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis on April 17 and has appeared in just two games since being activated on May 25.

Last season, his velocity say in the upper 90s with a max of 101.8 mph. This season he has topped at 96 mph but has mostly sat around 94-95 mph. This could be a case of an arm having a hard time adjusting to the workload he received last year. He appeared in 69 games, totaling 62.2 innings in the regular season with another four games and 6.1 innings tallied in the postseason. In 2016 with the White Sox Kahnle appeared in just 29 games and 27.1 innings. In 2015 with the Colorado Rockies, Kahnle appeared in 36 games and 331. Innings. So there was a dramatic increase in usage last season at the Major League level.

One must consider that Kahnle’s arm just wasn’t used to the high-leverage use that he received last year. The talent hasn’t gone away. His arm just needed to be eased into that kind of workload. Major League innings are much different than minor league innings and the stress on the arm is much different. Some pitcher’s arms just don’t respond well to the massive increase in usage and need a little time to rebound.

The Yankees saw Aroldis Chapman look like a different pitcher early on in 2017 after he logged a ton of innings and was used often and for multiple innings in the postseason with the Chicago Cubs in 2016. He lost speed on his fastball and his slider wasn’t as crisp as it had been. These things happen.

Kahnle might just need time and to be eased back in and let his arm catch up. That could be a month or it could be longer. Nobody can predict that. What is certain is that he lost speed on his pitches, suffered a shoulder injury, and was not anywhere close to the pitcher he was last year. It is better to treat Kahnle with kid gloves now and hope he recovers this year than keep throwing him to the wolves.

ESPN and MLB Need to Do the Right Thing With Sunday Night Baseball


The weather has not been kind to the New York Yankees in 2018. Now it is ESPN and Major League Baseball that are piling on the Yankees. ESPN announced it would be moving the July 8 game against the Toronto Blue Jays from 1:07 to 8:05 after the Yankees and Baltimore Orioles announced they would be playing a doubleheader on July 9.

That would mean the Yankees would be playing three games in 24 hours in two countries with all the travel and customs processing that goes with that. ESPN has defended itself saying they told the Yankees back in December the game was going to be flexed to Sunday Night Baseball. The only problem is nobody knew that at all. Even the MLB commissioner’s office didn’t know until after the Yankees and Orioles announced their doubleheader.

In a time when we see sports talking about player safety we now have a broadcaster dictating scheduling. Granted, ESPN has paid a hefty sum to televise games on Sunday night but that should not mean they are allowed to force a team with a doubleheader the next day in Baltimore to play a game at eight o’clock at night the night prior. It is a bad look and reeks of self-interest.

Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone is livid with his former employer. The Yankees have asked for it to be changed. If ESPN does not change it the Yankees have said they will not answer any questions or grant any interviews to ESPN. That is a bad look for ESPN.

It would be one thing if the Yankees were in New York on Sunday. They aren’t. They are in Toronto and that means they would have to get to the airport after the game, probably at midnight or later, get on the plane, travel to Baltimore, go through customs, get to the hotel, turn around and get to the ballpark for a 5 pm start. The game was originally supposed to start at 4:05 pm but the Orioles agreed to push the game one start back one hour. That is also banking on Delta, the official carrier of the Yankees, to leave on time. There have been three issues in the last three weeks with the planes the Yankees have flown on and have delayed their departures from various cities over that time.

You can’t expect a team to play three games in 24 hours with international travel (even if it is just from Canada) in between. That will result in a bad product on the field. Bad products on the field are not good for any of the parties involved. Baseball is trying to sell their product and, like them or hate them, the Yankees are a draw. Nobody wants to see a team sleepwalk through a doubleheader.

There are also health risks involved. ESPN is literally putting the health of the Yankees at risk. Three games in 24 hours means there will be bullpen arms that will have to pitch on literally no rest. The chance for a major arm injury, or any injury for that matter, drastically increases.

No matter how you look at this it is a bad look for ESPN and Major League Baseball. The fact that ESPN announced they would be flexing the Yankees and Blue Jays game to 8:05 pm after the Yankees and Orioles announced their doubleheader looks awful. Is a Yankees-Blue Jays game really that much of a national draw? Sure, the Yankees are one of the more popular teams in the game but is it worth alienating them?

ESPN and Major League Baseball need to do the right thing here. They need to find a different game for Sunday Night Baseball and do it soon.

It’s Time for the Gary Sanchez Haters To Move On

Gary Sanchez

Fans of the New York Yankees haven’t had much to complain about over the two seasons. Last year the team undergoing a rebuild went to the ALCS and came within a game of the World Series. This season the Yankees have the best record in baseball. Still, there are Yankees’ fans that aren’t happy and find the need to complain. One major complaint is with Gary Sanchez’s defense.

The talk began last season. At least that was when the voices were loud enough, and numerous enough, to be heard. They complained about Sanchez’s ability to block a ball and how it will cost the Yankees in the long run. It didn’t matter that Sanchez has one of the best times popping up or one of the best arms at the position. It didn’t matter that Sanchez hit 33 home runs, drove in 90 runs, scored 79 runs and hit .278/.345/.531 in 122 games. All certain Yankees’ fans cared about was passed balls.

There is no denying that Sanchez led baseball in passed balls last season with 16. He leads the Majors this season with seven. That is enough for a section of the Yankees’ fanbase to demand he be moved to DH full time or even be tried at first base. Some even want him traded.

All of that is crazy talk. During the broadcast on Tuesday night, David Cone made light of Sanchez’s defense and came to his defense. Cone stated that Sanchez’s other defensive abilities and his offense more than made up for the passed balls. Cone said Sanchez could be his catcher all week and that he would love to throw to him. Cone is absolutely right here. Sadly it made the crowd who despise Sanchez’s defense even louder it seems.

The truth is every fanbase has their crazy section and Yankees’ fans who want Sanchez removed from behind the plate fit into that crazy demographic. It is crazy to want to move Sanchez from behind the plate. His offensive value is greatly increased while he is a catcher. Since August 10, 2016 Sanchez has hit 65 home runs, 26 more than second-place finisher Salvador Perez who clocks in with 39 over that same span.

Cone’s take on Sanchez was the correct one. We all know Sanchez has defensive short-comings. Sanchez knows it. Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman know it. They also know they will live with it. After all, Sanchez is still just 25 and will stay 25 all season long. He has the ability and athleticism to improve. He can’t do that if he is moved off catcher and stuck at DH.

There is no reason to move Sanchez to another position. He is good enough to stay at catcher. Any Yankees’ fan that wants Sanchez traded should be checked into a mental health facility. Thankfully, Boone and Cashman agree. It is time for Yankees’ fans to understand that Sanchez is the Yankees’ catcher and will remain so for many years to come. Its time to find something else to complain about.

Collectors Still Vulnerable To Fraud After Eli Manning Settlement


New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning settled his memorabilia fraud case just before it was slated to go to trial on Monday. Details of the deal were not disclosed and all parties, including the Giants, released a statement stating that settling was not an admission of wrongdoing. Manning was accused of conspiring to defraud memorabilia collectors by selling equipment that he never actually wore. That equipment would then show up for sale at Steiner Sports.

This case is the perfect example of what a hazardous road collectors face when collecting game-used memorabilia. I should point out that this is in no way an indictment of any of the parties involved. Since Manning was not convicted I can’t say he was guilty. Steiner Sports, a fairly reputable dealer, could only depend on Eli’s word that the equipment they were being given was in fact game-used. It is a slippery slope and the only real loser is the person who shells out hundreds dollars and ends up with a jersey that a player never actually wore in a game.

This isn’t an isolated incident. In 2012, sports memorabilia dealer Bradley Wells pleaded guilty to selling fraudulent game-used items to trading card manufacturers. Wells told the FBI that Upper Deck, Topps, and Panini America knew they were purchasing items that Wells himself had doctored to appear game-used. Those jerseys would then be cut up and pieces inserted into trading cards. There have been several instances where jersey swatches feature Mitchell and Ness logos or an interesting case where a Whitey Ford jersey card featured a Majestic logo. Majestic didn’t begin business until 15 years after Ford retired.

There have been countless stories of athletes using another party to fulfill their autograph quota for trading card companies. Lonzo Ball, who was a hot commodity in the sports card world right after he was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, has had several different looking autographs appear on cards. Many have speculated that LaVar Ball signed cards with his son’s name.

Collectors are the only ones who lose out. They spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars expecting major companies to vet the products they are peddling. When things go wrong, like the several cases of wrongly labeled game-worn cards, there are no consequences. The worst that might happen is a little social media backlash. However, thanks to exclusive rights deals that card companies have with different sports there is no competition. Card companies have a monopoly on the sport.

The exclusive rights has limited the amount of product, which has solved the oversaturation of the market that almost ruined the hobby in the 1990s. However, it might actually be harming the hobby as well. Topps, which has an exclusive rights contract with Major League Baseball, is the only company that can produce trading cards that feature MLB logos. Panini does offer baseball cards, notably through the Donruss label, but do not feature logos or team names. Panini has exclusive rights with the NBA, NFL, and NHL. Collectors have no way to voice their displeasure with their wallets unless they stop collecting. That is a huge problem.

The different sports leagues, players, and card manufacturers can continue defrauding collectors, whether intentionally or unintentionally, with little or no repercussions aside from paying out some money. The FBI has prosecuted some individuals in the past but those were smaller dealers who were faking autographs. The major companies and the sports leagues have escaped any real harm.

Collecting in this day and age is difficult. Prices have increased but the pitfalls have grown as well when they should shrink. Collectors should be able to purchase cards and memorabilia without worrying about being ripped off. At least not by the companies, players, and leagues we expect to hold a high standard. The reality is they are all no different from the guy who fakes an autograph and puts it up on eBay. When they get caught they apologize, pay the person who complained under the table, and move on. The sports memorabilia industry is a multi-billion industry and is hardly regulated at all. Only the FBI steps in from time to time and prosecutes individuals defrauding collectors. It isn’t enough.

There are still no protections for collectors. There is no oversight, except by the companies themselves and that isn’t good enough anymore. Not when time and time again major companies have either made mistakes or willingly scammed collectors. Not when athletes are committing fraud. Oversight on a massive level is necessary and companies should lose exclusive rights licenses when they are found to be defrauding consumers. Imagine the outrage if this occurred in another multi-billion industry that was more mainstream than sports card and memorabilia collecting. It would be front page news everywhere.

The Manning case is just the latest example. It won’t be the last. Collectors will continue to buy because they want to build their collections or invest for the future. They will have to navigate minefields in an industry where even a perceived nice guy like Eli Manning might be ripping you off. Sadly, things aren’t going to change any time soon either. Navigating the minefield is still hazardous to collectors.

The New York Mets Could Be Approaching Another Rebuild

Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets’ hot start has evaporated and all hope that came with it has turned into despair. Injuries have mounted and players have underperformed and everything that can go wrong has gone wrong in Queens. Mets fans are calling sports radio stations and the chatter which was once hopeful has become bleak and depressing. The Mets might need to look at themselves and determine if staying the course with Sandy Alderson is worth it at this point or if they should start blowing it up before the prime years of Noah Syndergaard and maybe Jacob deGrom are wasted.

One cannot argue with the Mets’ attempt to go for a playoff spot this offseason. They brought in veteran Jason Vargas for the back end of the rotation, signed Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce and there were some prospects who might finally contribute, namely Michael Conforto, Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, and Amed Rosario. In what seems like typical Mets fashion, things didn’t go according to plan and prospects have failed to materialize into potential cornerstones yet for a variety of reasons.

Still, there is a way to salvage the future without mortgaging the present too much. Synergaard is still just 25 and will turn 26 in August and deGrom will turn 30 in June. Syndergaard is an ace when healthy and is still young enough to factor into the future along with a couple of other Mets. The wild card is deGrom. They can choose to keep him and hope he still has something left in the tank when they are ready to compete or they can trade him and get a huge haul in return for him.

There are trade chips on this Mets roster, led by deGrom. They might find a taker for Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, Asdrubal Cabrera, and an assortment of other role players. They might be hard pressed to find a taker for Adrian Gonzalez but Gonzalez has shown a little pop in his bat with five home runs and he is on a cheap one-year contract so you never know.

The Mets are kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place at the moment. The Sandy Alderson era is coming to an end and it might be time to hand the reigns back over to Omar Minaya and let him infuse the roster with youth. There is enough young talent on the Mets to make this a quick rebuild and they already have an ace or two in Syndergaard and deGrom if he isn’t traded. The rebuild might not be as quick as the one in the Bronx has been but Minaya at least has shown he can identify young talent.

If this slide gets much worse the Mets might want to think about replacing Alderson and letting the new GM, whether it be Minaya or someone else, rebuild this roster while it isn’t too late. Then again, this season has been strange so the Mets could roll off another hot streak and put themselves back in contention. The time to decide is rapidly approaching.

MLB Making Right Choice With London Games

London Stadium

London is all the rage these days in professional sports. Since 2007, the NFL has been playing games in London. The NBA and NHL have also played in the city in an attempt to grow their brand. Major League Baseball has been aggressive in Latin America and Asia, two baseball hotbeds that also produce Major League talent. Europe, however, has been largely ignored. Until now.

Major League Baseball has announced that the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will play two games in London in 2019 and it is one of the better ideas that MLB has had, certainly a lot better than flirting with starting extra-innings with a runner on second.

The Yankees and Red Sox are baseball’s greatest rivalry. Sorry to the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. Those are all great and storied rivalries but nothing beats the history of Yankees and Red Sox. Allowing British fans to get a taste of that rivalry would be a great way to jumpstart interest in the game in a country that loves its cricket.

Baseball has been slowly gaining in popularity in Europe. Several European countries field teams in the World Baseball Classic. There is also some talent starting to come from those countries.

The two-game series will be held in London Stadium which will hold 55,000 in its baseball configuration. The stadium will certainly be one of the more unique venues that baseball has been played in. London Stadium was constructed for the 2012 Summer Olympics and the stadium was the major venue for track and field as well as a few other events including the opening and closing ceremonies. It has since been renovated to accommodate the West Ham United Football Club.

This is a great move by Major League Baseball. London is only a five-hour flight from the New York area so it is similar to a trip to the West Coast for the ballplayers. The only thing that would have made this better was that it was a four-game series with each team getting a chance to be the home team for two games with perhaps an off day in between so that the players could make appearances around the city and further British interest in the game.

There is something fun to see baseball played in a new venue. The Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks played two games in Sydney, Australia. The Tokyo Dome has played host to eight games in recent years. Puerto Rico and Mexico have hosted games as well. The Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins played a game at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and the past couple of years has seen MLB play a game at Williamsport, Penn. in the Little League Classic. There is something charming about baseball being played in new areas. It is kind of like the old days when players used to barnstorm but now it’s about growing their brand and making a mark as a global game instead of touring rural America to grow the game.

Hopefully this is the start of a new tradition. London is a great city and the British people are showing a growing interest in American sports, just as the English Premier League is growing its brand here in the states. It’s about time Major League Baseball went to Europe. Hopefully Rob Manfred and the rest of the MLB crew have more venues in mind in the future. As of right now, the plan is to play in London again in 2020. Sign me up.