The 2020-21 MLB Hot Stove League officially began with the final out of the 2020 World Series when the Dodgers rising star Julio Urías struck out Willy Adames to end one nightmare of a baseball season from start to finish. From that split second on, unless you were a Dodger fan understandably going on a bender, thoughts turned to the Hot Stove League and what your team was or was not going to do.
Here is a schedule of doings for the overall 2020-21 Hot Stove League:
- Nov 1 : Cutoff for teams to tender a Qualifying Offer to free agents
- Nov 2: MLB awards finalists announced
- Nov 3 : Gold Glove winners announced
- Nov 9-12 : BBWAA and IBBWAA announce award winners
- Nov 11 : Deadline for free agents to accept Qualifying Offers
- Nov 20 : Deadline for teams to protect minor leaguers from Rule 5 Draft
- Dec 1 to late January : Non-roster invitations sent for 2021 Spring Training
- Dec 2 : Non-tender deadline. Clubs must offer contracts to arbitration-eligible players, otherwise player becomes a free agent
- Dec 6-10 : MLB Winter Meetings (held remotely due to COVID-19)
- Dec 10 : Rule 5 Draft is held
- Jan 15 : Deadline for teams and players to submit salary figures for arbitration-eligible players
- Feb 15 : Pitchers and catchers begin reporting
- Feb 27 : Spring Training begins in earnest
- April 1 : Opening Day
Of course due to the COVID-19 pandemic, any of the above dates may change.
The 2020 Horror Story
It was a season that never should have happened for a multitude of reasons. A 60-game dash, in the middle of a global pandemic no less, to a relentless, ill-conceived tournament that teams below .500 were fighting to qualify for in the final days.
The Houston Astros escaped playing 81 games before hostile fans in every ballpark in America not named Minute Maid. But that is still coming, believe you me.
And if MLB commish Rob “the World Series trophy is just a piece of metal” Manfred wasn’t happy about getting roundly booed at this year’s trophy ceremony — he should have vacated the 2017 Astros illegitimate title and piece of metal with their name on it — and banned from the game any Houston Astros employee involved for 5 years minimum.
Especially the manager. A.J. Hinch — who in essence received a slap on the wrist 60 game suspension for his part in desecrating the game we love.
We digress, but these topics will be further addressed over the coming winter. Back to today, and where the Yankees — and their fans — go from here. With the pandemic still impacting American society, all of the off-season Major League Baseball activities such as the Winter Meetings, etc., will be held virtually.
Here’s a chronology of the 2020-21 off-season events related to your New York Yankees and the great game of baseball in general.
New York Yankees Hot Stove League headlines, news ‘n notes, and rants for February 2021.
Pitchers and Catchers Report!
February 17, 2021 : It’s the moment that the pinstripe faithful have been waiting for since Gio Urshela‘s line drive found the webbing of third baseman Joey Wendle‘s glove for the final out of 2020’s final game — for the Yankees at least. The Tampa Rays took the 5-game American League Divisional Series, 3-2, and the Bronx Bombers were left to regroup and start preparing for 2021. Which begins today.
If Philly is Yankee Stadium South, Yankee Stadium Could Become Globe Life North
When the Yankees announced their complete list of non-roster invitees to Spring Training, a surprise batch of former Texas Rangers were included — utility man Derek Dietrich plus right-handed hurlers Nick Goody and Luis Garcia.
Here is the complete list of New York Yankees non-roster invitees to 2021 Spring Training.
FYI: A non-roster invite (NRI) is an invitation for a player who is not on a club’s 40-man roster to attend Major League camp in Spring Training and compete for a roster spot. (Hat Tip: mlb.com > glossary).
Yanks Sign Robinson Chirinos, a Gerrit Cole Battery Mate in Houston
February 13, 2021 : It was only one season (2019), but Chirinos, who is familiar with Cole, is touted more as an offensive force than being known for his defense. How this plays into the Gary Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka dynamic will be something to keep an eye on in Spring Training.
Nick Goody Back In The Fold
The first thing Goody needed to pick up after he put down the pen that inked his contract was a razor blade. But what ex-Yankee does not go Rip Van Winkle once they are released from the pinstripes.
After turning down a 22nd round selection by New York in the 2011 draft, Goody was again picked by the Yankees in the 6th round of the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft, the 217th overall pick, which he agreed to terms.
After Tommy John surgery in 2013, he made his way through the Yankees farm system until his MLB debut on July 25, 2015 — which lasted three before being sent back down. An injury to starter Michael Pineda resulted in calling him back up and making his first major league start on July 30th.
Goody signed a minor league deal that includes a non-roster invite to spring training, so to make the trip north with the club he’s going to have open some eyes with lights out stuff.
Jay Bruce Signs With Yanks
February 12, 2021 : Hopefully we’re proven wrong, but this is yet another acquisition that should have happened years before it did. Bruce’s power was tailor made for The Bronx if anyone’s ever was. But in The Boogie Down, there is ALWAYS some superstar (and/or contract) blocking another potential superstar from said position — either on the field or at DH. And Bruce is looking like DH only as he wasn’t inked for defensive purposes.
But that doesn’t stop us from signing these guys long after the fact. Think Randy Johnson. Who knows, maybe it’s the low risk/high reward ‘lightening in a bottle’ gamble. But imagine if we had Ichiro in 2001 instead of 2012. I’m thinking 2 more rings in that decade easy, maybe more. And that list could go on for a bit. An article for another day.
Bombers Ink Sidewinder Darren O’Day; Ben Heller Whacked For Roster Space
February 10, 2021 : In the humble opinion of this writer, signing Darren O’Day is only about six years too late, but we’ll take it. The club came to agreement on a one-year deal which will pay the right-hander $1.75M this season, with a $1.4M player option for the 2022 campaign.
Ben Heller was part of the blockbuster trade that sent standout reliever Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians, which netted no less than Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield and Heller. While injuries have slowed his rise in the majors, Heller has shown enough effectiveness to catch on with another club.
Minor League News
February 5, 2021 : The Yankees inked two right-handed hurlers to minor league deals today — Kyle Barraclough and Asher Wojciechowski. First off, you don’t wanna mess with a guy who is 6’3″ with a name pronounced ‘BearClaw’. But then again, you don’t wanna be the pitcher getting shelled in front of 50,000 New Yorkers (and yes, we’ll be back in those numbers sooner or later!) … so here’s hoping the 30-year old Northern California native can find his groove with the Bombers. After turning down an offer from the Twins in the 40th round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, he signed the following year with the Cardinals in the 7th round. He was traded to the Miami Marlins, then to the Washington Nationals, who waived him — then claimed by the San Francisco Giants, who whacked him, then signing a minor league deal with the Friars before electing free agency … when your New York Yankees inked him along with an invite to Spring Training. There. That was easy.
Wojciechowski will be addressed in a coming post. The Yankees will be his 10th stop among major league franchises after signing with the Houston Astros in 2015.
New York Yankees Hot Stove League headlines, news ‘n notes, and rants for January 2021.
Didi Re-ups With Phils, 2 Years/$28M
January 30, 2021 : Good for him. Still miss the guy and wish things could have worked out differently in The Big Apple. Thought he’d be in pinstripes for many seasons to come. Check out this report from Sports Illustrated’s Wilton Jackson. You know what’s going to happen now in the 2021 World Series, right? — Didi is taking Kluber deep. Twice! Just sayin’.
Cash Rips Kracken A New One
GM Brian Cashman laid it out in no uncertain terms about his struggling star catcher — “Whether he was told directly or not, I don’t care. It’s self-awareness at that point. You had a horrible year and lost your job at the most important time of the season. I’m not sure if an explanation is necessary. It is what it is, and your play speaks for itself. You play well enough to keep playing or you don’t.”
January 29, 2021 : To equate what the 2017 Houston Astros did as something on the level of a schoolyard prank is disheartening. These pukes need to be stripped of that title, nothing less. To minify what they did — and the effect on literal livelihoods of others is not right. Add the fact that the perps have gotten either a slap on the wrist or a free pass, is salt in the wound. Cash knows better. See Astros ‘shenanigans’ kept Masahiro Tanaka from World Series : Brian Cashman.
It’s Official! DJ and Kluber Are New York Yankees
January 28, 2021 : The contracts are signed, the physicals are done and today DJ LeMahieu and Corey Kluber are officially members of the 2021 the Yankees. YES Network’s Bob Lorenz, John Flaherty and Jack Curry discuss in the video above.
Yankees Sign Darren O’Day
Sources: Yankees in agreement on a deal with relief pitcher Darren O'Day, pending physical.
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) January 27, 2021
We love this move — while wishing it happened six years sooner! We’re going to miss Adam Ottavino — who will likely have a bounce-back campaign in 2021, but this eases the pain. See “Yankees Acquire Darren O’Day To Bolster Bullpen” filed by Robert Coles at Pinstriped Prospects.
SHOCK: Ottavino Traded to Red Sox
January 25, 2021 : In a nutshell, this was a move to both dump salary and clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Stunning nonetheless, as these two clubs are not frequent traders. See Ian Browne’s piece on mlb.com: “Sox pry Ottavino from Yanks in rare trade“.
To help make sense of this, consider this perspective from Pinstripe Alley “Why the Yankees decided Adam Ottavino was expendable” by Tom Krosnowski.
Gonna miss ya, Brooklyn! Do us a solid when you can, if you know what I mean.
Yanks Trade for Bucs Jameson Taillon
January 24, 2021 : And Clint Frazier or Gleybor Torres were not involved. CashMunny for President! It was a deal for prospects, but its wasn’t cheap by any means. The Bombers give up right-handed pitchers Miguel Yajure (NY’s #15 prospect) and Roansy Contreras (#19), infielder Maikol Escotto and outfielder Canaan Smith for Taillon. Check out “Yanks get Taillon, trade 4 prospects to Bucs” by Adam Berry and Bryan Hoch at mlb.com/
Minor League News
January 21, 2021 : The Bombers signed free agent shortstop Hans Montero to a minor league contract. Check out Pinstripe Prospects for a quick summary on Montero and other farmhands that need to be on your radar.
J.A. Happ Inks One Year Deal With Twins
January 20, 2021 : Check out this excellent piece in the Minnesota Star Tribune by Phil Miller : “Twins sign lefthanded starter J.A. Happ to one-year deal”
Minor League News
January 18, 2021 : The Yankees inked free agent right-hander Stephen Ridings to a minor league deal. A native of the Town of Huntington on the Island, the 6’8″ hurler was an 8th round pick of the Chicago Cubs in the 2016 June Amateur Draft. No word at this writing on where he’ll report.
Yankees Sign Corey Kluber to 1 Year Deal
January 16, 2021 : After playing possum for months, the New York Yankees made up for it with now two big headlines within 24 hours. In Corey Kluber, the Bombers now have a #2 starter behind Gerrit Cole with possibly enough remaining budget to bring back Masahiro Tanaka. See “Yankees, Corey Kluber Agree To Deal” by Connor Byrne at MLB TRade Rumors.
Judge Inks 10M+ Deal to Play for the Yanks in ’21
January 15, 2021 : The oft-injured power-hitting, defensive standout Aaron Judge will be patrolling the right field environs of Yankee Stadium for the 2021 season with a raise in pay, according to this report by the NY Post’s Ken Davidoff and Joel Sherman : “Yankees give Aaron Judge a raise for 2021“. More on this shortly.
DJ LeMahieu Agrees to 6Y/$90M Deal, Yanks Can Now Focus on Pitching
January 15, 2021 : Time to update the headline on this post! The long-awaited news hit this morning and was better than most Yankees fans could have expected. The amount of years were a bit of a shocker, but at $15M per, the club now has wiggle room in the payroll to add some talent and stay under the heinous luxury tax cap. Check out today’s post: “DJ LeMahieu: Back Where He Belongs“.
Caution : Blatant Opportunistic Product Positioning
LeMahieu Watch: Sooner or Later Something Has to Give. But When?
January 11, 2021 : Mostly calming takes from Bob Lorenz, Flash Flaherty and Jack Curry on the never-ending quest to resign DJ LeMahieu, stressing the club is doing the right thing by allowing him to condsider offers from other clubs so there will be a fair assessment of where the market is. Of course, there’s alway the possibility that LeMahieu may be losing patience with the Yankees and accept a reasonable offer from another club without giving them the chance to respons. Who knows. Also check out “DJ LeMahieu engaging other teams in free agency with Yankees slow to meet his price” by Tim Brown at Yahoo! Sports.
Happy Thursday : Jhoulys Chacin Becomes a New York Yankee and American Citizen the Same Day
January 7, 2021 : Add a birthday party to that and you’ve had one helluva day! The Bronx Bombers inked the 33-year old righty to a minor league deal today, his eighth stop among MLB franchises. These signings are usually a no-lose deal — it’s either lightening in a bottle or a wash, but some guys are worth the look-see, and Jhoulys Jose Chacin is certainly one of them. We’ll see what he has in Spring Training, but given the inability of the Yankees to keep both pitchers and position players between the chalk lines, odds are Chacin may prove to be a lucky move.
More Roster Moves Not Named DJ LeMahieu
The Yankees traded pitcher James Reeves to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Greg Allen.
28-year-old outfielder Socrates Brito was inked to a minor league deal that includes a Spring Training invite to an already overcrowded mob of pinstripe outfielders.
Free agent lefty hurler Tyler Lyons signed with the Yankees yesterday, January 6th. Drafted by New York in the 10th round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft, he turned it down and decided to remain in school at OSU (Oklahoma State University). He signs in the 9th round the following year with the St. Louis Cardinals. Lyons signed and was outrighted a couple times with the Yankees over the 2019-2020 campaigns, and signed to yet another minor league contract today. Looks like we’re loading up the minors for the inevitable call ups since the rotation has many question marks.
Mets Shake Hot Stove League Out Of It’s Slumber With Monster Trade for Lindor
January 7, 2021 : It can be assumed that GM Brian Cashman at least kicked the tires on the logistics of a Lindor trade, and would love to hear what Cleveland may have been asking from the Yanks. Noentheless, the Mets are starting to steal the back pages of the Big Apple dailies. See: Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco dealt by Indians to New York Mets (with social media reaction).
Welcome to New York! 🍎
— New York Mets (@Mets) January 7, 2021
Phil Hughes Announces His Retirement
January 3, 2021 : To the man the Yankees would not have earned their 27th world championship without — we wish you a fond farewell, good health, safety and continued success in life. More on pinstripe and Twitter legend Phil in the coming days.
Happy 2021 — It’s Onward and Upward From Here
January 1, 2021 : If you buy into Nostradamus’ 2021 predictions, I’ll race you to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge.
On a more realistic note, the Yankees only have 4/5ths of a rotation to figure out, sign the best hitter in MLB — who WANTS to sign, and replace Tommy Kahnle in the bullpen.
There’s still plenty of time left in the now 2021 Yankees Hot Stove League, and the date for pitchers and catchers is still in flux. Hang tight, be patient and let’s go Yankees!
New York Yankees Hot Stove League headlines, news ‘n notes, and rants for December 2020.
Today’s Edition of The Tanaka Times
December 31, 2020 : Randy Miller of NJ.com’s latest report includes two major updates — a) Yankees GM Brian Cashman “would love” to have Masahiro Tanaka back, and b) the 2-time All-Star Japanese hurler will return to Japan if that love fails to translate into an acceptable contract offer.
DON’T MISS : “Financial Stress May Deter Reunion Between Masahiro Tanaka And New York Yankees” by Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr. of Forbes Magazine.
Winter Ball Updates
In a report filed by mlb.com’s Mike Rosenbaum, highly regarded Yankees prospect Luis Medina has been turning heads and missing bats in Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente play so far — otherwise known as the Puerto Rican Winter League.
No pitching prospect has dominated in winter ball this offseason quite like Luis Medina. The Yankees’ No. 11 prospect pitched superbly in both of his starts for Indios de Mayaguez last week, earning his first win of the Puerto Rico season on Sunday after racking up 10 strikeouts in just 4 2/3 innings on Tuesday. He fanned 17 batters in 9 2/3 frames across the two outings, allowing just four hits and walks apiece.
Keep those cards and letters coming, baby!
DON’T MISS : “Dominican Winter League 2020 Recap” More important than ever with COVID19 wiping out the minor league season to get any kind on handle on player development.
Padres Trade for Tampa’s Blake Snell With an Eye on LA
December 28, 2020 : The flame of the 2020-21 MLB Hot Stove League was officially and suddenly lit this weekend as the Tampa Bay Rays announced they have traded their ace pitcher to the San Diego Padres. Blake Snell the 2018 American League Cy Young Award winner will improve an already on the upswing Padres team. In exchange, Tampa will receive catcher Francisco Mejía and prospects Luis Patiño (a hard-throwing righty who is SD’s number 3 prospect overall), Blake Hunt, #14 prospect) and Cole Wilcox, another highly regarded right-hander at #7. Mejía was acquired by the Padres in the Brad Hand trade in 2018.
With two of Tampa’s top pitchers now gone, this dow favor the Yankees at the moment — but there are indeed four questions marks behind ace Gerrit Cole, so it’s no time to relax.
R.I.P. Phil Niekro
December 27, 2020 : While 20 of his 24 seasons in MLB were spent with the Braves organization (both in Milwaukee and Atlanta), the legendary knuckleball specialist Phil Niekro rocked the pinstripes for the 1984 and ’85 campaigns. And it wasn’t just a household name signing by the Yankees as Niekro was named to the ’84 American League All-Star squad.
On October 6, 1985 he became a member of one of professional baseball’s most exclusive fraternities — the 300 Win Club, with an 8-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays before a crowd of 44,422 at Exhibition Stadium. Butch Wynegar was Niekro’s backstop, and the offense was led by long balls from Mike Pagliarulo, Henry Cotto and Don Mattingly. It was not an easy game to get up for from a Yankee standpoint, as the Blue Jays eliminated the Bombers from the American League East crown the day before with a 5-1 victory.
Only 24 pitchers in MLB history have registered 300 wins, but at the time in 1986 he would become only the 19th hurler to achieve that.
While only 17 of those wins came while Niekro was a New York Yankee, it was still pretty cool that numero 300 happened when he was in pinstripes. It helped bring a bit of joy to an otherwise frustrating season.
One footnote of this performance was the fact that Niekro wanted to show he was not “just a knuckleballer”, and threw everything in his arsenal but — hooks, fastballs and sliders — that kept Toronto hitters off balance all afternoon. He said he threw a total of three knuckleballs to the 32 hitters he faced.
On that day, Niekro also became the oldest pitcher in baseball history to toss a shutout, a record which stood for 25 years. He would add 18 more victories to his career total.
He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1997. More coming shortly. The loss of a loved one is tough beyond words at any time, but when it hits over these days in particular, it just rips through you on another level. May the Niekro family find strength and take solace in the knowledge that Phil brought joy and inspiration to so many, and for a selfish moment, he brightened the lights on Broadway for New York Yankee fans. Not an easy thing to do. Rest In Peace, Knucksie. You were the best!
So Wrong On So Many Levels
December 25, 2020 : Just a catch up on the slow walking process to sign a player that could make the difference between success and failure for the upcoming 2021 season. Check it out here: This image is so wrong on so many levels, where do you start?
Cashman Says Yanks Can Win It All in ’21 — DJ or Not
December 24, 2020 : Check out this piece in Forbes Magazine by baseball writer Christian Red : Brian Cashman Isn’t Worried About The 2021 New York Yankees If No Big Moves Are Made. A photo caption stated Cash thinks the Yankees would be able to “contend” if LeMahieu signs elsewhere. Not sure how to read that. Every team ‘contends’ until a certain point in the season. Some stop ‘contending’ in mid-September. Some stop in June.
It’s Done. Kahnle Inks 2-year, $4.75M Deal with Dodgers
December 23, 2020 : They won’t see a pitch from him in a game that counts until possibly the start of the 2022 season, but the defending world champion Los Angeles Dodgers have a standout reliever in their future bullpen, and the Yankees do not.
Many pinstripe fans will argue that not having Kahnle’s arm on call in the pen was a huge contributing reason for New York’s pedestrian 33-27 mark in the joke of season foisted on baseball fans in 2020. Regardless, by all measures Kahnle was worth the wait for the Yankees. It’s yet another curious decision from the front office that begs scrutiny. And maybe yet another move by the Dodgers that have them in the driver’s seat, and not the Yankees.
How some of us took the news:
— Zack Britton (@zbritton) December 23, 2020
Yanks Help Out Neighborhood Business
December 22, 2020 : As the COVID-19 virus from China has kicked the snot out of businesses large and small across the globe — companies run by entrepreneurs of color in The Bronx have been especially hard hit. Here’s how the Yankees are trying to help : Yanks lend hand to local Bronx businesses. More on this shortly.
The 41st Annual Thurman Munson Awards Set For February 2, 2021
December 16, 2020 : Like too many gatherings in America today, the 41st installment of the beloved Thurman Munson Awards ceremony will be executed virtually this year, thanks to the never-ending pandemic.
The 2021 Munson Award honorees include:
- Captain Award: Harry Carson, HOF Captain, New York Football Giants
- Munson Award: Michael Conforto, New York Mets outfielder
- Munson Award: Pudge Rodriguez, Hall of Fame catcher
- Munson Award: Gio Urshela, New York Yankees infielder
- Munson Award: Luke Voit, New York Yankees first baseman
- Munson Award: Alyssa Naeher, USA World Cup and Chicago Red Stars Goalkeeper
For information about sponsoring, attending or donating to this incredible event, please contact Jennifer Kunin at (212) 249-6188 or by email.
Here’s a quick glimpse of the 2020 ceremony:
More on this event in the coming days. RIP, Thurman. We’ll never stop missing you, brother!
Yanks Pitching Updates
December 15, 2020 : The Bombers have inked old friend Adam Warren to a minor league according to Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. The 33-year old righty missed
the 2020 due to Tommy John surgery, but is reported to be ready to go come 2021 Sprint Training. Check out YES Network‘s ‘Report: Yankees sign PHP Adam Warren’.
German’s Place In Uncertain Rotation Still Uncertain
The talented and troubled, once rising star of the Yankees rotation finds himself in limbo as the 2021 campaign approaches. Domingo German has been pitching in the Dominican Winter League in preparation for Spring Training, but Dan Martin of the New York Post reminds us of Hal Steinbrenner‘s need to “speak with German before he’d be comfortable with having him on the roster going forward.” When this will happen is anybody’s guess, but the Yankees are not exactly loaded for bear entering the new season. Check out Martin’s piece here: ‘Aaron Boone reveals Domingo German meeting as Yankees ‘hope’ pitcher is back‘.
More Lightening In A Bottle Hopes
Conner Bryne of MLBTradeRumors.com reports the Yankees inked veteran righty Matt Bowman to a two-year minor league deal. Like Adam Warren, Bowman is coming off Tommy John surgery, but more recently as his was in this past September. He’ll miss the 2021 campaign, but New York hopes he’ll eventually regain his innings-eater abilities in a low-risk acquisition. He’s fought nagging injuries over the course of his career, all spent in the National League until now, but at 29 he may have a few more solid seasons in him if recovery goes well.
This Doesn’t Sound Good
December 14, 2020 : As posted by Ken Rosenthal:
Gap between Yankees and LeMahieu larger than $25M, sources tell The Athletic. LeMahieu is Yankees’ No. 1 priority and the two sides continue to talk, but the free-agent infielder also plans to start engaging with other teams. On it: @BrendanKutyNJ
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 14, 2020
Yankees South, AKA Philly, Poach The Bronx Again in Rule 5 Draft
December 10, 2020 : The first round of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft was completed today, and the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies snapped up unprotected Yankees talent. With the 4th overall pick, the Sox selected RHP Garrett Whitlock, who was an 18th round pick by New York in the 2017 June Amateur Draft. His minor league travels took him through the Gulf League, Tampa, Trenton and Charleston, recording a 19-19 record with a 2.76 ERA over 322.2 innings, with a WHIP of 1.25.
With the 13th pick, the Phillies nabbed infielder Kyle Holder, a 1st round pick (30th overall) in the 2015 MLB June Amateur Draft. Holder also went through the gauntlet of the Yankees minor league system with stops in Staten Island, Tampa, Charleston and Trenton. Over 6 minor league seasons he hit .269 in 2,088 plate appearances, with 21 home runs and an OPS of .679.
With the 24th pick in the first round, the Cleveland Indians selected RHP Trevor Stephan. Stephan was first drafted by Boston in the 18th round of the 2016 Amateur Draft, didn’t sign and was then drafted the Yankees in the 3rd round of the following year’s draft. In 3 seasons in the minors Stephan posted a 17-20 record with a 3.47 ERA and WHIP of 1.182, along with a tidy 10,4 K’s over 9 innings, and allowing only 2.8 walks per 9.
Check out MLB Trade Rumors for the latest on the 2020 Rule 5 Draft.
UPDATE : Here’s the wrap from a Yankees perspective via The YES Network : “New York Yankees 2020 Rule 5 Draft Results“.
Gio Ursula Out 3 Months After Surgery
December 5, 2020 : The Yankees star third baseman Gio Urshela underwent surgery to remove a bone chip from his right elbow and is expected to miss at least three months, which will bite into Spring Training assuming life in America will be getting somewhat back to normal by then. Read more here from Bryan Hoch @ MLB.com.
The Sky Is Falling! Sanchez is Finished!
This just in: After not seeing live pitching for weeks, Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez looked rough in the batter’s box today, going 1-5 and striking out 3 times in a Winter League game in the Dominican Republic. On cue, some in New York sports media went into overdrive. A reader comment on Reddit today pretty much sums it up: “Only Yankees fans and NY media could make a Winter League debut of 5 ABs seem like the world is ending”. Amen!
— Toros Del Este (@TorosdelEste) December 4, 2020
UPDATE: Also on the current Toros del Este roster are fellow Bronx Bombers Miguel Andujar, Domingo German and former Yankee farmhand Pete O’Brien.
News & Notes from Yankees Universe
December 4, 2020 : As the Winter Meeting approaches, NorthJersey.com’s Pete Caldera outlines the Bomber’s punch-list: MLB Winter Meetings near as New York Yankees form plan … Yankees president Randy Levine has a plan to help bail out New York City’s mismanaged and broke government — legalize sports gambling, weed and taxing the rich! …
Staten Island Yankees Sue Yanks and MLB
December 3, 2020 : The suddenly former New York Yankees minor league affiliate Staten Island Yankees have filed a $20M suit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York against the Yankees and MLB itself to “to hold those entities accountable for false promises — including breach of contract and some legal language (like ‘estoppel’ and ’tortious interference’) that is beyond the scope of this simple news update. Hell, this writer is having trouble keeping up with Pythagorean win expectancy equations. Check out ‘Staten Island Yankees fold, file $20M suit against MLB, big-league club’ by Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. More here from Baseball Digest: Staten Island Yankees fold, will sue MLB.
Yankees Tender Sanchez, Resign Cessa and Heller, Let Holder Walk
December 1, 2020 : In a move that was not a surprise to most, the Yankees officially tendered catcher Gary Sanchez today, offering him a contract and preventing him from hitting the open market as a free agent. Today was the deadline for clubs to either tender or non-tender any arbitration-eligible players.
The team also inked one-year deals with right-handed pitchers Luis Cessa and Ben Heller. In somewhat of a surprise the Yankees did not offer relief pitcher Jonathan Holder a contract, allowing him free agency.
Players Alliance Rolls Into The Bronx
The Players Alliance stopped in The Bronx today, part of their 33-city tour to provide COVID-19 resources and baseball equipment to black communities across the nation. This coming Friday will have Brooklyn on the schedule. Members have donated over $1M of their salaries to the cause, which was matched by MLB. Tour dates and more information can be found here.
Yankees pitcher and Brooklyn’s own Adam Ottovino talks about the efforts of The Players Alliance with Brian Kenny on MLB Now.
Under the Grapefruit Tree: The CC Sabathia Story To Air December 22 on HBO
December 1, 2020 : MLB and HBO have partnered to produce a documentary that will debut on Tuesday, December 22, 2020 on HBO and HBO Max — Under the Grapefruit Tree: The CC Sabathia Story. Narrated by CC and in his own words, it looks back on his legacy and challenges, including his bout with alcohol. Read more here from this post by MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch.
New York Yankees Hot Stove League headlines, news ‘n notes, and rants for November 2020.
Trenton Thunder Spared The Axe By MLB
November 30, 2020 : By virtue of creating a new “MLB Draft League”, which the Thunder will be charter members of, the organization will live on. Read more in Mike Rosenstein’s piece at NJ.com: MLB announces plan to save the Trenton Thunder, which was abandoned by the Yankees.
Remembering Billy. When Men Were Men, and Yankee Baseball Owned the Headlines
November 29, 2020 : The New York Daily News offers up an excerpt of ‘Billy Ball: Billy Martin and the Resurrection of the Oakland A’s”. with an entry that captures the span of Billy’s time with and away from the Yankees.
A COVID-19 Story: Adam Ottavino Takes You Behind the Scenes of the Yankees 2020 Season
November 29, 2020 : Brooklyn’s own Adam Ottavino added a perspective on the 2020 worldwide Wuhan COVID-19 virus that will be read and appreciated 100 years from now. Excellent interview by ESPN’s Joon Lee.
A fascinating, up-close and personal read on how this evil pandemic affected one professional sports team in America — your New York Yankees.
Before embarking on the 2020 COVID MLB season, Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino decided he wanted to document the experience with his Leica camera. Here are his photos and the stories behind them https://t.co/2ckqpBbREd
— joon (@joonlee) November 23, 2020
Bern, Baby, Bern
November 28, 2020 : How about some Bernie Williams highlights on a slow Saturday afternoon in November? Bernie was the trailblazer for the Yankees youth movement in the the early 90s that led to one of the greatest stretches in pinstripe glory. It was the Core 5, baby! And don’t you forget it!
COVID-19 KO’s New Era Pinstripe Bowl
November 27, 2020 : The Yankees released a statement today to that effect, as reported by YES Network.
Tampa Rays Open to Trading Ace Blake Snell
November 25, 2020 : Snell coming to The Bronx? Fuggedaboutit. No way a trade happens between the most storied, intense and hate-filled rivalry in the history of professional sports! Check out a two-minute video from MLB Network here.
‘Field of Dreams’ Reset for August 12th in Dyersville, Iowa
November 23, 2020 : Almost a year to the day later, the ‘Field of Dreams’ game has been re-set for August 12, 2021 on the fabled Lansing Road in Dyersville, Iowa. Some quick facts courtesy of Anthony Castrovince’s piece at mlb.com:
- Who’s playing? Why, your New York Yankees of course, and the (who else?) Chicago White Sox — as a good chunk of the film that inspired this event was centered around the 1919 Chicago ‘Black’ Sox scandal, which the legendary ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson was included in the 8-member perp walk for throwing the World Series.
- This will not be an exhibition game, it will count in the standings.
- The ‘park’ was built to hold 8,000 fans — but if even one can attend is up in the air thanks to the never-ending COVID-19 pandemic.
- There have been barnstorming MLB games in Iowa, but never one that counted. This will be the first.
Here’s a promo clip to bring you back to that place …
See you next season, Iowa.
The Field of Dreams is scheduled for 2021. pic.twitter.com/CpCcsuy5Iy
— MLB (@MLB) November 23, 2020
Yanks Shield Four Top Prospects From Rule 5 Draft
November 20, 2020 : Yesterday was the deadline to submit names of players teams are protecting from the Rule 5 Draft and the Yankees choose Roansy Contreras, Yoendrys Gomez, Alexander Vizcaino and Oswald Peraza. Check out some video clips of them here.
Some Guy Who Used to Play for the Yankees Suspended for 2021 Season
November 18, 2020 : Never heard of him, but they tell me he played second base for the Yankees. A home-grown Bronx Bomber that was on a career trajectory not only to the Hall of Fame, but more importantly plaques in Monument Park, a retired number, his own day at The Stadium, never having to buy a beer in a New York City restaurant again, you name it.
But in 2013, taking some very bad advice from a new management company, he traded the rare opportunity of being a life-long, superstar New York Yankee for an even higher level of fame, notoriety, championship rings, major product endorsements, movies roles and universal superstardom — with the then-rebuilding Seattle Mariners.
None of that was ever achieved, his new management company never held accountable — not a peep in the sports media — and the M’s new management finally found a sucker to absorb the remainder of the 10 year, $240 million dollar deal the previous management saddled the organization with. The Mets.
Now he allegedly tested positive for a banned substance for a second time and has been kicked out of MLB for the entire 162-game 2021 schedule.
Some are saddened, some shocked at the news. Some who were not surprised said ‘Didn’tcha Know?” Any way you look at it, a sad story.
UPDATE : Then there is the sticking point of the front office not trading that player at the 2013 deadline for what could have been a boat-load of prospects if nothing else at time. Who knows what the 2016-17-18 Yankees could have looked like then. Instead of letting the second baseman walk, then signing Jacoby Ellsbury. Moments that could have changed history …
UPDATE II : A fun read here by Ken Davidoff of the NYP: “Imagining a world where Robinson Cano never left the Yankees” …
2021 Hall of Fame Ballots Announced
November 16, 2020 : It’s that time again for annual debate over steroid-era players and their place in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown, and the usual suspects are included, in addition two former Yankees freshly eligible for the ballot: Nick Swisher and A.J. Burnett. Core Four great Andy Pettitte is in his third year of eligibility, looking to improve on the 45 votes (for 11.3%) he received last year. See the full list here.
Click-bait Headlines On a Slow News Sunday
November 15, 2020 : Click here be shocked! While the best 2-7 team in today’s NFL is trying to break the hex the Philadelphia Eagles have over them, Yankee fans don’t have much to get excited about — other than waiting to hear GM Brian Ca$hMunny has inked DJ LeMahieu to a deal, and has secured some help for ace Gerrit Cole in the rotation. Unless something breaks, the next real pinstripe news will be the approaching Rule 5 Draft, set for this coming Friday, November 20th.
Bar Bet: When did the Rule 5 Draft start? If you guessed anything other than 1892, you’d be dead wrong. Here’s an excellent write-up by mlb.com’s Andrew Simon : “A history of the Rule 5 Draft”
Kudos to Kim Ng
November 13, 2020 : Congratulations to former pinstripe executive Kim Ng being named GM of the Miami Fish! Ng (pronounced Ang) is the first female GM of an MLB franchise. Although born in Indiana, she has solid New York roots, growing up in Queens, Long Island and Jersey. Hired by GM Brian Cashman as Assistant General Manager in 1998, Ng began an amazing journey through professional baseball that culminated in today’s announcement — for now. Maybe MLB Commissioner is next? Tomorrow wouldn’t be a bad time to start, I’ll tell ya that.
Yankees’ Rule 5 Situation for 2020
This irritating annual ritual is back again, and the club has to add any player they want to protect from being poached by another organization to the 40-man roster. The top five players New York needs to protect are currently not on the 40-man. They include: SS Oswald Peraza (No. 4), RHP Alexander Vizcaino (No. 8), RHP Yoendrys Gomez (No. 9), RHP Roansy Contreras (No. 19) and RHP Trevor Stephan (No. 24). Don’t miss “Yankees Rule 5 Draft prospect round-up” at YES Network …
The Yankees are kicking the tires on free agent catcher Yadier Monlina. Doesn’t Benji or Jose have a son who’s old enough to catch in the bigs? … More Hatin’ on New York: DJ LeMahieu finished third in AL MVP voting, behind winner Jose Abreu (White Sox) and Jose Ramirez (Cleveland). Luke Voit finished 9th in the voting …
Yanks Open to Trading Gary Sanchez, Domingo German on the Bump
November 12, 2020 : No catcher in MLB history hit 100 home runs faster than Gary Sanchez, but that was then and this is now. After a long stretch of poor hitting and sub-standard defense behind the plate, the Yankees are running out of patience with their home-grown slugger. Multiple reports have the front office willing to listen to trade offers for Sanchez … Brendan Kuty (nj.com) reports Domingo German will be the Opening Day starter for Los Toros del Este of the Dominican League this Sunday, November 15th …
Yankees Trade Rumor Mill: Francisco Lindor; Cy Young Winners Announced
November 11, 2020 : With the Cleveland Indians shopping their star shortstop it’s only natural the deadlines in Gotham would be filled with speculation. Check out Mike Rosenstein’s piece at nj.com: “MLB rumors: Indians’ Francisco Lindor to Yankees or Mets? What potential trades could look like” … In a Buckeye state sweep, the American League Cy Young Award was given to Shane Bieber, while Cincinnati Reds ace Trevor Bauer took the National League honors. Bar Bet: Before tonight, how many Cincinnati hurlers have won the Cy Young Award? None. Bauer was the first in Reds history …
Sherman: Mets May Outspend Yanks in 2020 Off Season
With an energized, deep-pocketed new owner, a lifelong Mets fan at that, and an organization to rebuild almost from the ground up, the New York Mets may indeed steal a few prized free agents and/or trade targets from the Yankees in addition to headlines, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post speculates: “Mets may outspend Yankees in shocking turn of events” …
ALSO SEE: “New York Baseball Bizarro World: As Yankees Cry Poor, Mets Suddenly Flush With Cash And Possibilities” (Forbes Magazine)
La Machine Rejects QA, Hits the Free Agent Market
In a shock to no one, DJ LeMahieu rejected the Yankees $18.9 million dollar qualifying offer for the 2021 season (only), and is now free to speak with other teams. The front office will now begin the task of putting together a competitive offer, which may end up bring far higher than if they would have prioritized this earlier. Don’t be surprised if the Mets jump in. If not snagging the prized free agent for themselves or simply driving the price up on the Bronx Bombers. Check out Kristie Ackert’s piece in the New York Daily News: “DJ LeMahieu does not accept $18.9 million qualifying offer from Yankees, becomes free agent“. The Yankees worst nightmare would be for LeMahieu to end up in the AL East — with Toronto or Boston.
Photos: Ceremony for New Yankees Affiliate Somerset Patriots
November 1o, 2020 : Joe Torre, Willie Randolph, Sparky Lyle, John Sterling and more were on hand to welcome the Double-A Somerset Patriots into the Yankee family. Check out the photos.
IBWAA Announces MVP Award Winners
November 9, 2020 : The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) have announced the winners of their MVP award, one of numerous categories voted on yearly. The 12th annual election results have José Abreu of the Chicago White Sox winning the American League award, with Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves taking the National League version.
BBWAA Names LeMahieu New York Player of the Year
The New York chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced that DJ LeMahieu as been awarded New York Player of the Year for second consecutive season. Zack Britton and Giancarlo Stanton also received hardware, as well as Whitey Ford and Tom Seaver. See the full list of this year’s award recipients here.
Yankees Minor League Affiliate Roster Hit With Major Restructuring
November 7, 2020 : With an edict coming down from MLB and MiLB to contract the number of minor league affiliates, the Yankees have axed the Double-A Trenton Thunder, the Single-A Charleston RiverDogs, and very possibly the Staten Island Yankees as well. In their stead will be the Hudson Valley Renegades replacing the Thunder, and the Somerset Patriots as the new Double-A affiliate.
ALSO SEE : Our New York Yankees Minor League Affiliates page for the status of the complete minor league team structure at the moment.
LeMahieu Nabs Second Straight Silver Slugger Award
November 6, 2020 : In our humble opinion, the Silver Slugger should be one of the more cherished among players. This award is determined by the opinions of active managers and coaches in MLB — not writers — however astute we may be at analyzing the game and it’s participants. This is how the All-Star squads should be composed, but that’s a rant for another day.
Managers and coaches are not allowed to cast a vote for a player on their team. The Silver Slugger was the brainchild of the famous bat manufacturer Louisville Slugger, and was first awarded in 1980. One award is given out to a player at every position in both leagues, including the DH in the American League. Which Yankees have won the award?
- 1980: 2B Wille Randolph, DH Reggie Jackson
- 1981: OF Dave Winfield
- 1982: OF Dave Winfield
- 1983: OF Dave Winfield
- 1984: OF Dave Winfield
- 1985: 1B Don Mattingly, OF Dave Winfield
- 1986: 1B Don Mattingly
- 1987: 1B Don Mattingly
- 1997: 1B Tino Martinez
- 2000: C Jorge Posada
- 2001: C Jorge Posada
- 2002: 1B Jason Giambi, 2B Alfonso Soriano, OF Bernie Williams, C Jorge Posada
- 2003: C Jorge Posada
- 2004: OF Gary Sheffield
- 2005: 3B Alex Rodriguez, OF Gary Sheffield
- 2006: 2B Robinson Cano, SS Derek Jeter, OF Gary Sheffield
- 2007: SS Derek Jeter, 3B Alex Rodriguez, C Jorge Posada
- 2008: SS Derek Jeter, 3B Alex Rodriguez
- 2009: 1B Mark Teixeira, SS Derek Jeter
- 2010: 2B Robinson Cano
- 2011: 2B Robinson Cano, OF Curtis Granderson
- 2012: 2B Robinson Cano, SS Derek Jeter
- 2013: 2B Robinson Cano
- 2017: OF Aaron Judge, C Gary Sanchez
- 2019: 2B DJ LeMahieu
- 2020: 2B DJ LeMahieu
George King: Gary Sanchez Isn’t Guaranteed Another Yankees Chance
November 5, 2020 : Legendary beat writer covering the Yankees for the New York Post since 1997, George King III dishes on what the club will do with Gary Sanchez.
Two Welcome Backs and Two Stunning Announcements
November 2, 2020 : The club activated RHP’s Luis Severino and Ben Heller from the 60-day injured list … today the Yankees also extended a qualifying offer to DJ LeMahieu — which anyone paying attention knows he will not accept, but ensures the Bombers receive an MLB Amateur Draft compensation pick if The Machine does indeed sign with another team — which is not what you want.
November 1, 2020 : No surprise here, Giancarlo Stanton has decided not to opt out of his historic contract, and keep the remaining 7 years and $218 million dineros. The Marlins will now eat about $30 million of that, spread over the 2026, 2027 and 2028 seasons.
New York Yankees Hot Stove League headlines, news ‘n notes, and rants for October 2020.
This is how you rock Halloween!
Now if this doesn’t take the curse out of the snide ‘Evil Empire’ narrative, we dunno what does.
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The Nightmare On Halloween; Kahnle Ghosts The Bronx
October 31, 2020 : The Yankees outrighted RHP Tommy Kahnle to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders. Kahnle, recovering from Tommy John surgery, declined the offer and elected free agency.
The Nightmare Before Halloween; Gardy Files, Happ Likely Gone
October 30, 2020 : After the Yankees declined the option on LHP J.A. Happ, he filed for free agency. The team also declined the option on CF Brett Gardner, who also filed for free agency.
Britton Back for 2021 and 2022
The Yankees exercised the option on LHP Zack Britton, bring him back for both the 2021 and 2022 campaigns, thanks to a clause in his contract that included the additional year.
Tanaka, The Big Maple, Kratz and The Machine File
October 28, 2020 : C Erik Kratz, LHP James Paxton, 2B DJ LeMahieu and RHP Masahiro Tanaka filed for free agency … 3B Gio Urshela and RF Clint Frazier were named American League Gold Glove finalists! Winners will be named on Tuesday, November 3rd in a live ESPN segment.
Hulu Drops YES Network, RSNs From Live TV Offerings
October 22, 2020 : What a cluster this is. Hulu is dropping the entire portfolio of Sinclair Broadcast Group — a Disney-owned streaming service. This includes the YES Network (which carries the Yankees and Brooklyn Nets), 21 FOX regional sports networks (RSNs), and the Marquee Sports Network (which carries Chicago Cubs games). A mile-high view of the inability to come to an agreement between Hulu and Sinclair looks like a corporate ‘he said, she said’ — and once again the consumer gets screwed. It’s amazing how in the largest market in the nation, fans of the Yankees have the worst luck trying to simply watch their baseball team on television.