Postmortem Presser Notes: Didi, Gray, Sabathia, Stanton

Surprise surgeries for CC and Didi.

The Yankees made manager Aaron Boone and general manager Brian Cashman available today for their postmortem press conference. Here are the most important storylines:

  • Didi Gregorius tore his right ulnar collateral ligament during one of the first two games of the American League Division Series in Boston, and played through the injury for the rest of the series. A recent MRI determined the tear was bad enough to force the shortstop to undergo Tommy John surgery. Cashman told reporters that Gregorius had an “asymptomatic” partial tear of the ligament that came up in his December 2014 physical that was part of his trade from Arizona to New York. “Is it bring him back in June, July, August? I think all depends on how things play out,” Cashman said. “I’d rather not put a timeframe on it. We do expect to get him back, and we do expect to return to the player that obviously we’ve been enjoying for quite some time.” Cashman also said that Gleyber Torres was the “best internal option” to start the season at shortstop, though the Yankees will undoubtedly check in on free agent Manny Machado. Gregorius also tore cartilage in his right wrist on a head-first slide, and missed time with a bruised heel suffered August 19 against Toronto. He has batted .274./.319/.447 with 81 home runs and 299 RBIs in 2,314 plate appearances since debuting for the Yankees in 2015 – all with a partially torn ligament in his right elbow.
  • Sonny Gray will almost certainly begin the 2019 season in a different uniform, as Cashman said the Yankees will “enter the winter, unfortunately, open-minded to a relocation”. Gray was awful for the Yanks at home in 2018, pitching to a 6.98 ERA in 15 home games compared to 3.17 in 15 games away from the Bronx. “Someone, if they trade for him, is going to get the player that we wanted,” Cashman said. “If and when that happens, I fully expect that. But it just hasn’t worked out here.”
  • CC Sabathia had another operation on his balky right knee, just like the clean-out he had after last season. “He’s had an amazing career that has a chance to continue — whether it’s gonna be for us or not,” Cashman said. Sabathia owns a 129-80 record and 3.74 ERA in 284 starts for the Yankees since he first signed with the team in 2009.
  • Unprompted, Cashman said he has “no regrets” on swinging a trade for 2017 National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton. “We got one of the better players in the game from the offensive standpoint, period, we didn’t shy away from the opportunity of acquiring him,” the GM said. Stanton hit .266/.343/.509 with 38 home runs and 100 RBIs but also hit just .213/.306/.436 with five homers in September, and had a tough postseason slashing .238/.273/.381 against Oakland and Boston.

A note unrelated to today’s press conference: the Texas Rangers interviewed ex-Yankees manager Joe Girardi for their managerial opening today. He managed the Yanks to Game 7 of the ALCS in 2017 and spent 2018 working as an analyst for MLB Network.

Offseason Notes: Corbin, Coaches, Harper, Severino

The offseason news cycle is starting to get underway for the Yankees after their disappointing ouster from the playoffs at the hands of the Boston Red Sox. The 2018–19 offseason is one that Yankee fans have been anticipating for years, as many expect the team to spend exorbitantly now that they’ve reset their competitive balance tax penalties. A lot of times, stories from the offseason only contain a few sentences of actual news, and I will compile them into posts whenever there’s enough news to put together.


  1. Jon Heyman of Fancred has already linked the Yankees to one free agent who would definitely help bolster the starting rotation: Diamondbacks’ lefty Patrick Corbin. Corbin grew up in Clay, New York, and told Bob Nightengale that he “grew up a Yankee fan” and said “It would have been cool” to be traded to New York last offseason. The lefty was third among qualified National League starters with 6.3 fWAR, paired with a 11-7 record and 3.15 ERA (2.47 FIP). He was sixth in the NL with a 48.5% ground-ball percentage, and was 11th best at limiting home runs (11.1% HR/FB rate – Chase Field helps too). Both numbers would be top-10 in the American League. At 29, he seems likely to get a contract somewhere in the 3-5 year length.
  2. If you wanted to see Larry Rothschild or Marcus Thames fired, you’re out of luck. George A. King III of the New York Post broke one of the stories likely to be addressed during tomorrow’s postmortem news conference when he tweeted that all Yankees coaches will be back in 2019. Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman will definitely be asked about the coaching staff as a whole, but King’s report makes it clear the Yanks want to keep this corps together.
  3. Uh, Scott Boras really has a way with words. He seemed to imply that Bryce Harper could still fit with the Yankees despite Giancarlo Stanton‘s gargantuan contract already on the team’s payroll. “A Bronx opera … The Three Tenors … Hal’s genius, vision,” Boras wrote in an email to The Athletic. “Alone the three were stars … now a galaxy of international popularity.” That would seem to imply a lineup that includes Harper, Aaron Judge and Stanton arranged in some way. That would be something. Boras clarified to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post that he “didn’t say specific players,” but his implications were pretty clear.
  4. The Luis Severino news continues to get weirder. Another Jon Heyman report quoted an unnamed “Yankees person” as saying “The Red Sox had his pitches” in his ill-fated start in Game 3 of the American League Division Series. Severino only made it one batter into the fourth, and a viral tweet shows Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts correctly predicting a fastball in the second inning. Before his Wild Card start, Pedro Martínez said Severino told him he pitched hurt in the second half. Severino denied it. The righty also got some less-than-great publicity when Ron Darling of TBS essentially accused Severino and the Yankees of not knowing the proper start time for the game, and accused him of only starting to warm up eight minutes before the scheduled time. Severino and the Yankees denied that.

There will probably be another one of these posted tomorrow with the information from tomorrow’s news conference with Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman. That’s at noon Eastern and will also be aired on the YES Network.

Yankees 4, Red Sox 5: Missed Opportunities Haunt Yanks

The Yankees almost came all the way back on the shaky Boston bullpen, but 5⅓ innings from Red Sox ace Chris Sale did the job.

J.A. Happ was not his dominant self against the Red Sox, allowing four hits and five runs over two innings, striking out two and walking one.

The Yankees got two runs in the sixth on a Luke Voit RBI single and Didi Gregorius RBI fielder’s choice. Both hits came off Ryan Brasier, but the runs were charged to the already-departed Sale.

Voit got another RBI in the seventh on a fielder’s choice that scored Andrew McCutchen off Matt Barnes. The Yanks pulled to within one when Aaron Judge smacked an opposite-field solo home run off Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning.

The bullpen was solid, with Chad Green, Lance Lynn, Zach Britton and David Robertson recording six innings of shutout relief after Happ departed.

Aaron Hicks Exits ALDS Game One With Right Hamstring Tightness

Hicks was the third most valuable Yankee in the 2018 regular season, per Fangraphs.

Just moments after Aaron Hicks smacked the Yankees’ second hit of the game against Boston in ALDS Game One, the Yankee center fielder pulled up lame on his jog to first base. The Yankees announced the injury was right hamstring tightness, and that Hicks was undergoing further evaluation.

Hicks was replaced by pinch-runner Brett Gardner, who also took over defensive duties in center field. Hicks had missed three of four games in a September series in Tampa Bay because of soreness in his left hamstring.

Aaron Boone said before the game that Tyler Wade (along with Kyle Higashioka and Luis Cessa) is working out at the Yankee facility in Tampa in case of injury, and he would likely replace Hicks on the roster if he were unable to come back. The problem there is that Hicks would be ineligible for the ALCS should the Yankees replace him and then advance past the Red Sox.

This is a developing story, and will be updated as news breaks.

ALDS Game One: Battle of the Lefties

With the wildcard firmly in the rearview mirror, the Yankees turn their focus to their opponent in the best of five American League division series: the Boston Red Sox.

Two lefties with track records of mowing down their respective opponents tonight are set to battle in game one from Fenway Park. J.A. Happ, who came to the Yankees via trade, has been dominant since putting on the pinstripes and has always pitched well in Boston. Since joining the Yankees, Happ has gotten the win in seven of 11 starts, and does not have a single loss (I know record doesn’t matter, but that shows how good he is). He also owns a stingy 2.69 ERA in 63⅔ innings. He’s got a 5-2 record and 3.52 ERA in 10 career starts at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox turn to Chris Sale, their ace who has not pitched further than five innings since July 27. He’s been battling left shoulder inflammation and a significant drop in his fastball velocity. But, Bob Nightengale of USA Today cited unnamed scouts as saying the lefty has been hitting 95+ mph and his bullpen sessions and should be ready to go at full strength against the Bronx Bombers.


Red Sox Lineup:

  1. Mookie Betts – RF
  2. Andrew Benintendi – LF
  3. Steve Pearce – 1B
  4. J.D. Martinez – DH
  5. Xander Bogaerts – SS
  6. Eduardo Núñez – 3B
  7. Ian Kinsler – 2B
  8. Sandy León – C
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr. – CF

Yankees ALDS Roster and Starting Rotation

Sabathia and Tarpley in; Higashioka and Wade out.

The Yankees have announced their roster and starting rotation for the best-of-5 American League Division Series against the Boston Red Sox.

Starting Rotation

Here is how Aaron Boone and Alex Cora will align their starting rotations:
  • Game 1:
    • J.A. Happ vs. Chris Sale
  • Game 2:
    • Masahiro Tanaka vs. David Price
  • Game 3:
    • Rick Porcello vs. TBA (likely Luis Severino)
  • Game 4*:
    • Nathan Eovaldi vs. TBA (likely CC Sabathia)
  • Game 5*:
    • TBA vs. TBA

Roster

  • Changes from Wild Card roster are reflected with strikethrough and bold.

Pitchers

  • Dellin Betances – 68
  • Zach Britton – 53
  • Aroldis Chapman – 54
  • Chad Green – 57
  • J.A. Happ – 34
  • Jonathan Holder – 56
  • Lance Lynn – 36
  • David Robertson – 30
  • CC Sabathia – 52
  • Luis Severino – 40
  • Masahiro Tanaka – 19
  • Stephen Tarpley – 71

Catchers

  • Kyle Higashioka – 66
  • Austin Romine – 28
  • Gary Sánchez – 24

Infielders

  • Miguel Andújar – 41
  • Didi Gregorius – 18
  • Adeiny Hechavarría – 29
  • Gleyber Torrres – 25
  • Luke Voit – 45
  • Tyler Wade – 12
  • Neil Walker – 14

Outfielders

  • Brett Gardner – 11
  • Aaron Hicks – 31
  • Aaron Judge – 99
  • Andrew McCutchen – 26
  • Giancarlo Stanton – 27

Athletics 2, Yankees 7: Next Stop – Boston

Yankees-Red Sox in October just feels right.

With the season on the line, the New York Yankees showed up in a big way Wednesday night with a Wild Card win over the Oakland Athletics.

An electric atmosphere punctuated the fall air in the Bronx, which continued to grow as Luis Severino carved through the A’s in the top of the first inning. Pandemonium exploded in the following half-inning, as Andrew McCutchen worked a leadoff walk and Aaron Judge followed with a 116.7 mph home run into the left-field seats off opener Liam Hendriks. From that moment, the Yankees never looked back.

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Severino worked his way into trouble in the fifth, allowing two singles to start the frame. Armed with one of the best bullpens in baseball, Aaron Boone went to a late-inning weapon in Dellin Betances. Two fly balls and a strikeout later, the fire was out. The move to call on Betances was the first of many moves that went according to plan for Boone and the Yankees.

The Yanks got locked down for the next four innings, with Lou Trivino and Shawn Kelley allowing a hit a piece and combining to strike out four Yankees. But Bob Melvin decided to go with The Fernando Rodney Experience™️ in the sixth inning. Judge and Aaron Hicks hit consecutive doubles to lead off the frame, and that was it for Rodney.

Blake Treinen, owner of a 0.78 ERA in the regular season and the A’s closer, was next to pitch in the sixth. He walked Giancarlo Stanton, who promptly stole second base sneakily on the first pitch of Luke Voit‘s plate appearance. Voit lifted a fly ball that almost snuck over the right field wall but ended up a two-run triple after a misplay from Stephen Piscotty. One pitch later, Didi Gregorius lifted a sacrifice fly to left that barely scored Voit (the A’s challenged, and the call stood).

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David Robertson pitched a perfect seventh inning, before handing it over to Zach Britton for the eighth. Britton did allow a two-run short porch job to Khris Davis, which made it a 6-2 game. But Stanton returned the favor as he cranked his first-ever postseason homer to send Treinen to the showers. Aroldis Chapman pitched around a leadoff single to record two strikeouts and a ground out to send the Yankees hurdling toward a best-of-5 showdown with the Boston Red Sox.

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