With the New York Yankees focusing all of their attention on Gerrit Cole early this offseason it is likely they are going to let Didi Gregorius walk. This means there may or may not be room for another infielder on the roster. George King of the New York Post recently wrote on Saturday, December 8th that the Yankees should consider signing Addison Russell who was non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs.
This is a move the Yankees should avoid unless Russell is willing to play for the league minimum, which he won’t. His domestic violence history, while in the past, is negative publicity the Yankees should avoid, especially since they already have Aroldis Chapman and Domingo German on the roster. Chapman hasn’t had an incident since the domestic violence incident that earned him a 30-game suspension which made him the first player suspended under MLB’s domestic violence initiative. German was involved in an incident at the end of last season where an MLB employee saw him striking his girlfriend. German has yet to be suspended by MLB but could face a 40-game suspension. Adding Russell to the mix would just send the wrong signal.
I am a firm believer in second chances and being able to right wrongs. However, the Yankees have already given a second chance to Chapman and presumably will to German. They don’t need to do the same for Russell. In fact, they should avoid Russell at all costs.
Adding Russell would be a terrible public relations move. However, from a pure baseball standpoint it makes no sense. Russell, who will turn 26 in January, has slashed just .242/.312/.392 in 615 games across five seasons. He can certainly improve but the Yankees have better options on their roster and in their organization that will cost less and have as much or more upside than Russell.
Options for the Yankees include moving Gleyber Torres to shortstop and putting D.J. LeMahieu at second base, his natural position. There is also Tyler Wade who has finally shown some flashes at the big league level and offers more versatility than Russell would. There is also Thairo Estrada who got his first shot at Major League ball last summer and also showed flashes just one year removed from a gunshot wound that cost him most of 2018. Before that, however, Estrada was one of the Yankees’ top prospects. There is also the return of Miguel Andujar who could reclaim his third base job and potentially move Gio Urshela into a super utility role since he does have experience playing shortstop, second, and third.
No matter how you slice it Russell doesn’t fit with the Yankees. He doesn’t fit by cost. He doesn’t fit by production. He doesn’t fit due to the public relations issues. No matter which way you cut it Russell doesn’t fit. For King to suggest he does is just a terrible take.
There are few players as polarizing as Clint Frazier in recent New York Yankees’ history. Frazier, who came to the Yankees as the centerpiece in the trade that sent Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians, slashed .267/.317/.489 with 12 home runs in 69 games this past season. However, controversy, both real and imagined, has followed Frazier from the very beginning of his Yankees career. With that controversy has come debate about whether or not Frazier has a future with the Yankees.
There is no doubt that Frazier helped the Yankees weather the storm of injuries that befell the team. He also had to weather a storm that he helped create with poor defensive play and then refusing to speak to the media after the June 2 loss to the Boston Red Sox. He was sent down to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and seemed to be banished from the Bronx. He expressed displeasure with his situation on social media, a move that certainly didn’t endear him to the Yankee brass. Things seemed to go from bad to worse as the season wore on but in the end there is a silver lining.
While down in Triple-A, Frazier worked. He put the time in with Julio Borbon, the Railriders’ defensive coach. He worked away from the media, away from the bright lights. Anyone who watched Frazier play in Triple-A didn’t see the same player who suffered defensive lapses in the Bronx. He was certainly better in left field than right field at both levels. Perhaps it is just a matter of being more comfortable in left field. Perhaps Frazier was just trying to do too much to justify being in the Major Leagues. Only he knows the answer.
What is known, however, is that Frazier was still a productive player at the plate despite the controversies that popped up around him all season. He has produced in New York, even if he has only 123 games under his belt. His ability to ignore the storms around him while he is on the baseball field might actually make him the perfect player for New York and all the pressures that come with it.
No player on the Yankees has been the subject of as many trade rumors or speculation. At least not since Carl Pavano. Frazier isn’t Pavano though. He has dealt with all of that talk in a variety of ways, some of which have caused him more difficulties. He has been offered to other teams in trades but he isn’t unique in that. Still, he is here and the truth is the Yankees are better off with him right now. Their outfield situation is murky and health has been an issue for Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, and Aaron Judge. Even Brett Gardner, if he is re-signed, comes with issues regarding usage and production. Cameron Maybin is a free agent and might be able to turn his productive season with the Yankees into a contract the Yankees might not be comfortable with offering. Hicks is out for a significant portion of the 2020 season after Tommy John surgery last month.
Whether you like it or not the Yankees need Clint Frazier. Unless they plan on offering a large contract to a player like Marcell Ozuna or Nicholas Castellanos Frazier is the best option for the Yankees in 2020. Now it is up to Frazier to show that he is ready and that he has matured. That should be easier than hitting a fastball.
There is no doubt that until Gerrit Cole inks his name to a contract he will be connected to the New York Yankees. There is also no doubt that the Yankees will look everywhere to upgrade their rotation and starting lineup in hopes that these will be the final adjustments to put them over the hump and get them back into the World Series. For the first time since the 1910s the Yankees didn’t make an appearance in the Fall Classic in the 2010s and that has to be weighing on the front office and ownership regardless of the brave faces they put forward.
Cole would be a no-brainer addition to the Yankees, the team that drafted him out of high school in 2008 only to watch him go off to UCLA and become a first overall pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He will most likely command a record-breaking contract and if recent history is any indication the Yankees might not venture into that territory. That will surely anger some Yankees fans who are tired of almost and waiting for next season. But it might make the most sense.
General manager Brian Cashman has a history of making moves under the cloak of darkness. Last season the Yankees were linked with Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, and Patrick Corbin. Instead, Cashman walked away with James Paxton, Adam Ottavino, and D.J. LeMahieu. The year prior nobody could have envisioned reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton joining the Yankees for what amounted to spare parts. Cashman has let the media speculate away without telegraphing his moves publicly. It has worked to his advantage so far as prices aren’t driven up through the roof. Why would he deviate now?
The Yankees will certainly entertain Cole and will probably make him an offer. They might do the same with Stephen Strasburg. However, the Yankees might not come away with either one. The Yankees set a price on a player and refuse to budge. Gone are the days of bidding against themselves as they did with Alex Rodriguez. Gone are the days of panicked moves that resulted in Jacoby Ellsbury being given $20 million per year.
Cashman will shoot his shot with Cole and probably Strasburg and if nothing moves on that front he will easily pivot towards a Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, or a trade for a starter like Jon Gray, Corey Kluber, or Robbie Ray. He also might feel perfectly comfortable going into 2020 with a rotation of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Domingo German, Jordan Montgomery, and J.A. Happ with prospects like Jonathan Loaisiga, Michael King, Deivi Garcia, Chance Adams, and Clarke Schmidt knocking on the door. The trade deadline might be kinder to Cashman this time around.
No matter what, the New York Yankees are World Series contenders as currently constructed. Health will obviously play a major role as they can’t go through another year where 31 players hit the injured list. The Yankees had set the MLB record for most players on the injured list by August 30th last season and there is no way that can happen again.
Can the Yankees use Gerrit Cole? What team in baseball couldn’t? Are they good enough to win without him? Certainly. Odds right now are Cashman will add to this roster and try again to get that World Series ring. The good news is that the Yankees’ core is still young and mathematically it is almost impossible to repeat the bad luck they had with injuries last year. Now it’s time for Yankees fans to relax and let Cashman do his job and trust he knows what he is doing.
It is time for the New York Yankees, and more specifically Brian Cashman, to come to terms with reality. That reality is that it is now August 29, soon to be August 30, and the Yankees are no closer to having Aaron Judge back in the lineup than they were on July 31.
Judge’s wrist is still hurting. He still hasn’t picked up a bat. If we are being honest, it might be another month before Judge even comes close to being normal. Wrist injuries are like that. He might not be close to his old self this year and the Yankees need to prepare for that.
As it stands right now, the Yankees have the second best record in baseball. The World Series isn’t out of the question at all. Judge would be a huge part of that final stretch but it isn’t clear he will be there. Cashman owes it to the team and the fans to get a better outfielder than Shane Robinson.
Curtis Granderson and Andrew McCutchen come to mind first because both have already passed waivers. They should be additions Cashman looks to make. So far, the Yankees have passed. The time is fast approaching for Cashman to reverse that and get another outfielder.
If the Yankees want to pretend Neil Walker is an outfielder then they should at least upgrade first base. Greg Bird is looking like a lost cause. His bat is slow, his defense is mediocre at best, and the shines that he once had is quickly wearing off.
To be honest, the Yankees can’t carry a Shane Robinson and Greg Bird on the same team and in the same lineup. Cashman must upgrade one or both positions.
The New York Yankees are the most popular franchise in Major League Baseball. Millions of people love them. Millions more hate them. Putting on the pinstripes is a fairly big deal and baseball fans, regardless of their allegiance to the Yankees will most likely know who you are. However, sometimes there are players that don the pinstripes but do so for a fleeting moment or are forgotten because of a hundred different reasons. These are the players you forgot were Yankees.
Dave Kingman – The ornery outfielder played 1941 games across 16 seasons. He could amaze fans and media with his mammoth home runs and his insane attitude. Kingman would play for seven teams and clobber 442 home runs during his career. He would appear in just eight games with the Yankees in 1977. He did hit four home runs across those eight games which is a pretty nice ratio. He would only have six hits as a Yankee but it only cost the Yankees Randy Stein and cash to get Kingman from the then California Angels on September 15, 1977. He was granted free agency in November and went on to sign with the Chicago Cubs. It would have been really interesting to see Reggie Jackson and Kingman paired up in the lineup every day.
Robin Roberts – The Hall of Fame pitcher is known for his tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies with whom he won 234 games across 14 seasons. However, on October 16, 1961 the Yankees purchased Roberts from the Phillies. He would go to Spring Training with the Yankees the next season but would get released on May 21, 1962 without ever having appeared in a regular season game. Roberts would catch on with the Baltimore Orioles and would actually fair pretty well with them, posting a 42-36 record with 3.09 ERA and 1.145 WHIP. Roberts would last in the Major Leagues until 1966 when he retired from the game after an 11 game stint with the Cubs.
Mike Lowell – The third baseman is known for his time with the Boston Red Sox and, prior to that, the Florida Marlins. However, the four-time All-Star was once the Yankees’ third baseman of the future and might be Brian Cashman’s all-time worst trade. The year was 1998, a magical year in the Bronx. Lowell seemed poised to take over the hot corner from Scott Brosius who was acquired from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Kenny Rogers as a stopgap solution. The 24-year-old Lowell did appear in eight games with the 1998 Yankees, had 15 at-bats and collected four singles while posting the amazing slash line of .267/.267/.267. Still, Lowell had superstar potential. Then Brosius had a monster year in 1998 and won the World Series MVP. Cashman signed Brosius to an extension and shipped Lowell off to the Marlins for pitchers Ed Yarnall, Todd Noel, and Mark Johnson. Noel would never make it out of Single-A. Johnson appeared in nine games, three starts, with the 2000 Detroit Tigers. Yarnall, the big fish Cashman thought he caught, was a top prospect. He was once considered the top lefty pitching prospect in baseball. Yarnall appeared in seven games, three starts, with the Yankees and posted a 5.40 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, walked 13 in 20 innings and struck out 14. Pretty sure Cashman wishes he could do this one over again.
Gaylord Perry – Perry is best known for his doctoring of pitches, winning a ton of games, 314 to be exact, and his Hall of Fame career that was born from his stints with the San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians, and a little with the San Diego Padres. However, on August 14, 1980 the Yankees acquired Perry from the Texas Rangers for Ken Clay and Marv Thompson. Perry was 41 and not exactly a stud anymore. Still, the Yankees hoped for some veteran presence down the stretch. Perry went 4-4 with a 4.44 ERA, and 1.63 WHIP in 10 games, eight of which were starts. Amazingly, Perry would bounce around a few more years before finally retiring from the game in 1983.
Mark Wohlers – Wohlers holds a special place in Yankees’ history but as the closer who gave up the game—tying home run to Jim Leyritz in Game 4 of the 1996 World Series when Wohlers was a member of the Atlanta Braves. However, Wohlers would join the Yankees on July 1, 2001 from the Cincinnati Reds as Cashman searched for a pitcher to bridge the gap to Mariano Rivera. It didn’t work. Wohlers would post a 4.54 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, and just wasn’t consistent. He appeared in one playoff game that year, against the Seattle Mariners in the ALCS and gave up a home run and three runs (one earned) in just two-thirds of an inning. See, Cashman’s love affair with obtaining closers and using them as set-up men goes back a long time. Wohlers would play one more season, with the Cleveland Indians, before hanging them up at age 33.
Lee Smith – Smith once held the record for most saves in a career. That was, of course, before Mariano Rivera. However, for many years, Smith was closing games out for the Cubs, Red Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals. Then, on August 31, 1993, the Cardinals dealt Smith to the Bronx for Rich Batchelor. Smith would appear in eight games, save three, strike out 11 and walk five in eight innings. Smith, 35 at the time, would move on as a free agent to the Orioles, lead the league in saves with 33 in the strike-shortened 1994 season before saving another 37 games in 1995. Smith probably should be in the Hall of Fame [he has since been elected] but he played when the bias against relief pitchers was real. Still, he probably should get in one day.
Jeff Reardon – There was a time that Reardon was a premier closer, maybe THE closer in baseball when he was with the Montreal Expos and Minnesota Twins. He would accumulate 365 saves before joining the Yankees prior to the 1994 season. Reardon was expected to give the Yankees a veteran presence at the back of the bullpen. That wasn’t to be. He posted an 8.38 ERA in 11 games with two saves, a 2.069 WHIP and gave up three home runs. He was released in May of 1994 and retired shortly after.
Bob Ojeda – Ojeda is known for his long stint with the New York Mets from 1986 through 1990 that saw him go 51-40 with a 3.12 ERA. He was instrumental in helping the Mets win the World Series in 1986. After leaving the Mets he was a serviceable back-end starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers before moving on to the Cleveland Indians in 1993. Ojeda would be seriously injured in a boating accident that killed Tim Crews and Steve Olin in Spring Training. He would only appear in nine games for the Indians that year. George Steinbrenner was never afraid of adding a former Mets player with a past history of success and he signed Ojeda for the 1994 season. Ojeda would only appear in two games for the Yankees, both starts, and give up eight runs on 11 hits and six walks. That’s an ERA of 24.00 and a FIP of 11.46 and a WHIP of 5.667. He was released from the Yankees on May 5th and with the strike looming he became a forgotten Yankee in a forgotten season.
Raul Mondesi – Mondesi began his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers and won Rookie of the Year in 1994. He followed that up with an All-Star appearance and Gold Glove in 1995. The future was bright. Well, sometimes baseball can be a cruel mistress. Mondesi had a good career but he was far from the megastar many predicted of him. In November of 1999 Mondesi was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays for Shawn Green. He had a couple of good years with Toronto before he was traded to the Yankees as part of a salary dump on July 1, 2002. The Yankees were looking for a replacement for Paul O’Neill and while Mondesi wasn’t exactly great he wasn’t bad either. In 169 games he hit 27 home runs, 41 doubles, three triples, scored 95 runs, and drove in 92 runs while slashing .250/.323/.453. He was dealt to the Diamondbacks on July 29, 2003 for David Dellucci, Bret Prinz, and Jon-Mark Sprowl. The Yankees might have gotten the last decent season from Mondesi as he would bounce around a bit before leaving baseball in 2005 at age 34.
Rocky Colavito – Colavito, a native of the Bronx who was a Yankees fan growing up, was a power hitting outfielder who played mostly for the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers between 1955 and 1968. He would club 374 home runs, including leading the league in homers in 1959. He would also finish in the Top 10 in MVP voting four times during his career, three of which were Top 5 finishes. In 1965 he became the first outfielder to complete the season with a 1.000 fielding percentage while playing in all 162 games. In 1968, Colavito was purchased from the Chicago White Sox by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was released by the Dodgers on July 11, 1968 and was signed by the Yankees four days later. He would last until September 30, 1968 with the Yankees before being released and calling it a career at just 34. With the Yankees he hit just .220/.330/.451 with five home runs in 91 at bats. In his first home game with the team he hit a three-run home run. In an August 25th game he pitched 2.2 innings. He allowed only one hit over that span and picked up the win. Colavito would go on to become a broadcaster and coach. His stint with the Yankees might have been short but it was a dream come true to the kid who grew up idolizing Joe DiMaggio.
It is no secret the New York Yankees are trying to win a World Series this year. It is also no secret that the dog days of summer are taking their toll on the Bronx Bombers with Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, and Aaron Judge all on the sidelines. The wrist injury to Judge is really concerning at this point because it is a wrist injury and any wrist injury is something to be concerned over. They can take a long time for a hitter to recover from. This is why the Yankees need to pull the trigger on an Andrew McCutchen trade.
McCutchen was placed on waivers yesterday and it is widely believed that the San Francisco Giants will allow McCutchen to go to a team with a chance to make a postseason run. He will be owed approximately $3 million for the remainder of the year and that should fit into the Yankees’ budget.
Leading up to the July 31st trade deadline this move might not have made much sense but the Yankees could use the outfield depth and McCutchen might be the best player available right now. He is far from the MVP he was in 2013, or the guy who had two Top 5 finishes in the NL MVP in 2014 and 2015. Instead, McCutchen is a veteran leader who could bring a fairly decent on-base percentage, it stands at .354 right now, and some pop, 14 home runs. He could fall right into the mix with Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, and Giancarlo Stanton. He would also provide some depth when Judge does get back while offering a right-handed bat to spell Gardner against lefties.
The Yankees are very close to watching this season slip away to disabled list stints. Granted, they aren’t the only team dealing with injuries but the injuries to the Yankees’ players could prevent them going on another October run.
With Gregorius being placed on the DL the Yankees have recalled the immortal Luke Voit and still have Shane Robinson playing significant innings. Those are two gaping holes in a lineup that can ill afford them at this point. The Yankees can sit back, do nothing, and hope that Judge’s wrist heals perfectly and that Clint Frazier’s head clears up overnight. They can hope Brett Gardner’s body can hold up over the stretch. Crossing your fingers and hoping doesn’t do any good. Brian Cashman needs to be proactive here. He needs to get a bat.
Adding McCutchen gives the Yankees a veteran presence in the lineup and a much more capable bat than Robinson. He might not be an MVP candidate anymore but he is currently hitting a fairly healthy .257/.354/.414 with 14 home runs, 26 doubles, two triples, and 61 runs scored. He could be a shot in the arm to the Yankees as he tries to get his first World Series ring.
A month ago McCutchen didn’t fit on the Yankees’ roster. Today he not only fits but fills a huge void and would improve the Yankees’ bench when everyone gets healthy. If everyone gets healthy. Right now, he is the best of the bunch and if he falls to the Yankees on the waiver wire or clears altogether the Yankees have to try and pull the trigger. Their season could count on it.
During this rebuilding process it has been hard to hammer New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman. However, this season is literally on the edge right now and most of the blame can be leveled at Cashman and all of it is deserving.
The Yankees entered the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline knowing that Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez were hurt and would still be missing significant time for their wrist and groin injuries respectively. Both injuries are kind of serious. Wrist injuries are nothing to play around with and can take months to properly heal. Groin injuries, especially for a catcher who spends most his day squatting behind home plate, can be a major issue as well. We have already seen Sanchez come back from his earlier injury then play a game so badly that almost everyone, including me, thought he was just not hustling.
Cashman knew Sanchez and Judge, two huge bats, would be out of the lineup. His deadline dealing, however, focused only on pitching while dealing most of the upper level bat depth away in Billy McKinney and Tyler Austin. Dealing them shouldn’t have been an issue in reality. But dealing Adam Warren, a useful piece in the bullpen, for international bonus money, and less money at that than Caleb Frare got in a separate trade, is baffling. Cashman couldn’t trade another prospect for that money? He needed to send Warren to Seattle for that money instead of finding a bat to bring into the mix?
It has been over two weeks now since the deadline. Judge and Sanchez are still out. Judge played catch and said his wrist still hurt. Sanchez is slowly making his way back to playing in a rehab game but who knows when that exactly will be. Shane Robinson and Luke Voit have still gotten the lion’s share of playing time, though Voit was finally sent to AAA after posting a .188/.235/.188 line in 16 at bats. Robinson has appeared in 16 games and hit to just a .129/.229/.226 line. That simply can’t be allowed in a playoff race. Cashman has to own this.
If Clint Frazier had been healthy and not dealing with concussion symptoms all of that playing time would have gone to him. But he is hurt and it isn’t known when he will be back. Cashman has to go out and find a bat to plug into the mix. There are several names that make sense and many of whom passed through waivers. Instead, Cashman hasn’t done anything and the Yankees are moving through August like a horse on two legs.
There is no doubt that Brian Cashman has mostly done a phenomenal job. He held onto the right prospects, made astute trades and helped get the Yankees into being a playoff team one year into a rebuild. However, he can’t get the team this close and not acquire someone to give a floundering lineup a shot in the arm. Without another bat the Yankees very well might be on the playoff bubble.
The lineup without Judge and Sanchez is just not deep. It is Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar supported by Didi Gregorious, Neil Walker, and Aaron Hicks. Gleyber Torres is in the middle of a massive slump ever since he came back from the disabled list and is batting .210/.286/.390 in his last 30 games and just .107/.107/.143 in his last seven games. This is getting beyond just being a slump and a trip to the minors, while their seasons are still going on, might be a huge boost to Torres down the road. Getting another bat would allow the Yankees to move Walker back to second base and send Torres down to Triple-A where he can work on things. Getting another bat would allow the Yankees some flexibility, something that once allowed them to match up so well in different situations that they were an analytic nerd’s wet dream. Those days are gone, allowed to slip away by a general manager who seems to be more worried about the future than the present. How else does one explain trading Warren to a contender for nothing more than money to sign international prospects? He couldn’t get a bat for Warren? Just two years ago Warren was good enough, with Brendan Ryan, to land Starlin Castro. Now he can only net international signing bonus money, and less than Caleb Frare brought in from the Chicago White Sox? Something isn’t right in the Bronx.
There was a time not long ago where there was too much talent to get into the lineup every day. That is not the case after trades and injuries. It is time for Cashman to deal some of his coveted pitching and get a bat in this lineup before the season literally slips away.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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, 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, 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.
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.