Archive for the ‘ MLB ’ Category

It’s been a fun ride but…

The Fat Lady sings…

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It’s been a fun ride since the Baby Bombers era began, but alas, all good things must end.  The series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox have all but ended any playoff aspirations.  Admittedly, I didn’t feel the Yankees would have been successful in October but still, it’s disappointing it will not happen given how close the team came.  Probably even more disappointing is how winnable the games on the current losing streak were.

Gary Sanchez has proven he is a bonafide future superstar.  There’s no doubt he is the team’s catcher now and in the future.  Yogi Berra and Thurman Munson would have been proud.

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Credit:  Christopher Pastieri, Getty Images

I remain unconvinced that Dellin Betances can be the dominant closer that his predecessors were.  His inability to hold runners and the mental aspect of his game can be too challenging.  I think he is better served as the primary setup guy.  In the off-season, I’d really like to see the Yankees go after pending free agents Aroldis Chapman or Kenley Jansen.  Given how frugal the team has become, it’s most probable that the team will keep the status quo.  Clearly, the team will need to bring in at least one proven starting pitcher (#3 caliber or better) so it’s unlikely they’d spend big dollars on a closer and go after an ace.

The commitment to youth is great, but the Yankees really need to do more to replace the underachieving veterans on the team.  Jacoby Ellsbury has only proven the Yankees were foolish for not spending more to retain former second baseman Robinson Cano.  Cano is far more valuable than the duo of Ellsbury and Starlin Castro.

The Yankees probably missed the window to trade Gardner for a quality return.

I know that Brian McCann will most likely be moved in the off-season even if cash is involved to help cover the cost of the contract.  It’s too bad the team can’t find a way to move Ellsbury and Chase Headley too.

Good hire by the Blue Jays…

I was disappointed to see Ben Cherington take the VP of Baseball Ops position with the Toronto Blue Jays.  I still think the Yankees should promote GM Brian Cashman and hire a new GM.  Alex Anthopoulos remains my favorite choice, but Ben Cherington was a very close second.  He is a good baseball executive who does not get enough credit for the job he did with the Boston Red Sox.

Whew, I won’t miss that bat…

I am glad to hear that the Yankees will be honoring retiring Red Sox slugger David Ortiz on September 29th.  He has been such a great opponent over the years, and I certainly will not miss his walk-off hits against the Yankees.  He’s been one of the game’s best for a long time and he certainly leaves behind his mark of excellence.

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Credit:  Elsa, Getty Images North America

Purple Rising…

Today represents the opening of the new US Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota as the Vikings face their chief rival, the Green Bay Packers, in Sunday night football.  The game should also feature the introduction of Sam Bradford as the new starting quarterback.  I am ready to see what Bradford can do with a solid supporting cast.  Hopefully his ability to throw downfield will open up the running lanes for Adrian Peterson.

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Overall from the South end zone as the Vikings take on the San Diego Chargers in the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, August 28, 2016. (Pioneer Press: John Autey)

Credit:  John Autey, Pioneer Press

Although the Vikings lost when they opened their temporary home (TCF Bank Stadium) a couple of years ago, they have not lost when opening a permanent home (winning the inaugural games at both Metropolitan Stadium and the Metrodome).  Let’s hope that history repeats itself.  Go Vikings!

—Scott

Who is THAT in the rear view mirror?…

Knocking on the door in September…

I am surprised.  Pleasantly surprised, but what a ride it has been since Alex Rodriguez was released.  All season, I have been pessimistic about the 2016 Yankees.  The inconsistent, uninspired play leading up to the July trading deadline gave me no reason for optimism.  The Yankees had arguably the best bullpen in baseball, but it didn’t matter because the offense couldn’t consistently produce.

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Credit:  Associated Press

The trading deadline found the Yankees to be sellers as they moved Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran, and Ivan Nova for prospects.  The youth movement had begun.  Through those trades, the only notable veteran acquired was reliever Adam Warren.  The subsequent release of Rodriguez allowed the Yankees to bring up catcher Gary Sanchez, first baseman/outfielder Tyler Austin, and outfielder Aaron Judge.  The trade of Nova opened the rotation for Chad Green and Luis Cessa.  Green has subsequently been lost for the season, and starter Nathan Eovaldi is out for 12-18 months due to Tommy John surgery.  Cessa has shown signs of brilliance with his multiple pitches and is a bright spot for the future.  The latest entrant into the starting rotation, Bryan Mitchell, excelled in his first major league appearance this year following his recovery from a spring training injury.

You’d think that losing the top relievers in your bullpen, a starter in the rotation, and your best offensive player without equal or better major league replacements would mean further regression in performance.  Instead, the Yankees have become a more exciting team to watch.  The youthful attitudes of the rookies have energized the team and the city.  Suddenly, the Yankees are mentioned as a play-off contender.  As I type this, they are only one game out for the second wild card slot.

Seriously, I still do not expect this year’s team to be a World Series contender or to have success in the play-offs if they do miraculously nail that last Wild Card.  But who would have thought the Yankees would be in the conversation in mid-September.  The last month has given so much hope for future success.  Sanchez, Austin, and Judge will be so much stronger next spring for this experience, and 2017 will see the potential infusion of the continued youth movement through the possible call-ups of outfielder Clint Frazier, pitchers Jordan Montgomery and Justus Sheffield and others.

Brian McCann has been a solid Yankee, but Gary Sanchez has quickly become one of the league’s best through his combination of professional hitting and highlight reel worthy defense.  Even if Sanchez is slumping with the bat, he has made himself an invaluable piece of the starting lineup with his stellar defensive play.

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Credit:  Wendell Cruz, USA Today Sports

Tyler Austin starting with a bang (home run in his first at-bat) but followed it up with a prolong slump.  But recently, he’s turned it around and hit a home run on his recent birthday and again the other night with a walk-off to beat the Tampa Bay Rays.  He has shown that he knows what he is doing with a bat in his hands, and clearly has a plan with each at-bat.  It is assumed that Greg Bird will become the starting first baseman next year, but Austin is showing that there may be spring training competition for the job.

It’s fun to be excited about the Yankees again.  Win or lose, the latest version of the Pinstripers has shown they are a team to be reckoned with in future years.  This is so much better than being an old team in decay.  While I greatly miss guys like Andrew Miller, the team is better because of those July trades.  The returns may not bear fruit until future seasons, but it opened the door for the organization’s existing top farmhands.

Excellent job by GM Brian Cashman to recapture the mystique and aura for Yankee Stadium.

The Hired Gun…

I have had a week to digest the news that Sam Bradford is the quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings.  He may not be the starter in Game 1 (tomorrow against the Tennessee Titans) but there’s no doubt it is only a matter of time.  From afar, I’ve always looked at Bradford with disappointment given his injury history and unfulfilled promise.  But here we are.  I do think the talent and potential still reside with Bradford and the Vikings represent his best supporting cast yet.  He has the ability to show that he was once worthy of being the first overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft.

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Credit:  Jeff Zelevansky, Getty Images

I feel so much better about the Vikings’ quarterback situation today than I did the days immediately following Teddy Bridgewater’s devastating non-contact knee injury.  The oddsmakers obviously do too as they have restored the Vikings chances this year to the pre-Bridgewater injury level.

I had really felt that this was going to be Bridgewater’s breakout year.  He had a tremendous pre-season, and the Vikings have done a good job in finding talented playmakers on both sides of the ball.

Nothing against veteran QB Shaun HIll, but the thought of Hill as the starting quarterback was disappointing at best.

It is a bit scary that the Vikings go into the regular season carrying only two quarterbacks on the active roster.  QB Taylor Heinicke is still a few weeks from returning due to injury, and practice squad QB Joel Stave has shown that he is not ready for this level.  I really felt that the Vikings should have added a third quarterback with potential.  I thought the Denver Broncos did a good job in adding former Rams quarterback Austin Davis as their third-stringer and thought Minnesota should have added someone like that.

While I expect Shaun Hill to be named the starter for the Titans game, I do anticipate the entry of Bradford into the game at some point.  I am glad that he chose to go with his Rams number of 8 as opposed to the number 7 he wore with the Philadelphia Eagles.  Not that a number really matters in the grand scheme of things, but I know that I still associate #7 with underachievement and poor play thanks to former Viking Christian Ponder.

It’s tough having a new playbook thrown at the quarterback a week before the start of the regular season, but I expect Bradford to progress quickly.  May good health be his…

—Scott

False Optimism holds true…

Save the ammunition for next year…

Friday night’s 8-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles underscored that the 2016 New York Yankees are not a bonafide play-off contender.  Yes, they are still in the thick of things regarding the Wild Card chase but legitimately, the team is not ready to be branded as a contender.  The youthful infusion into the roster has been great, but there are also growing pains as evidenced by Aaron Judge’s prolonged slump.

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Credit:  Adam Hunger, USA Today Sports

While I have been impressed by the great minor league season performed by reliever Jonathan Holder.  The recent four inning save in which he struck out 12 of 13 batters he faced was a huge accomplishment, and he’ll certainly be a factor next spring.  Adding Holder to the roster now does not make sense to me.  The Yankees had control of him this off-season without placing him on the 40-man roster, but now that he has been called up (and placed on the 40-man roster), he will cost another prospect the opportunity to be protected.  I would love to see Holder do well at the major league level and it would be terrific if he is able to rise to the level of a late inning option to bridge to Dellin Betances.  But admittedly, I am looking to the future with the Yankees and do not feel that they should expend unnecessary resources this year for a futile chance to grab the last Wild Card slot.  Even if they somehow managed to snag the spot, their stay in the play-offs would be very short lived.

I was disappointed to see Chad Green suffer an arm injury in Friday’s game.  Hopefully it isn’t too serious but we should know something soon.  In the interim, I’d probably prefer to see Bryan Mitchell elevated to take his place in the starting rotation over the disappointing Luis Severino.  I feel that Severino needs work before he is ready to become a viable starter again and is probably better suited for the bullpen for the duration of the year.

This was supposed to have been Mitchell’s year to perform but an injury suffered in spring training cost him the majority of the season.  He was labeled as the new Adam Warren, but of course Adam Warren has returned to become the new/old Adam Warren.  Still, I’d like to see Mitchell have success as a Yankee and this might be his opportunity.

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Credit:  Bill Kostroun, AP

There are other intriguing young arms (Jordan Montgomery and Justus Sheffield, among others) but for the same reason I don’t think Holder should have been added to the 40-man roster, the same holds true for these young arms.  Mitchell is already on the 40-man roster so he makes the most sense to me.

A Bird in hand…

I was glad to hear that first baseman Greg Bird will be participating in the Arizona Fall League.  It’s been a lost year for Bird with his injury, but the AFL will be a good spring board to training camp next year when Bird will most likely be the Yankees’ new starting first baseman (barring a trade for a more proven veteran).

I wish Bird the best as he continues his comeback.  I am hopeful that he can recapture the promise and potential that he held last September.

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Optimism deflated faster than Tom Brady footballs…

Speaking of injuries, it was devastating to hear that the Minnesota Vikings lost starting QB Teddy Bridgewater for the season due to a non-contact knee injury.  The injury was horrific as it has been mentioned that the medical crew onsite not only saved his career but potentially his life.  I am hopeful that Teddy is able to make a full recovery to resume his career with the Vikings.  It’s fortunate that he has youth on his side.  This type of injury to an aging QB would most likely be career-ending.

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Credit:  Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

Clearly, the Vikings had to do something about the QB position.  After capturing the NFC North title from the Green Bay Packers last year, the Vikings are a team on the rise, led by a terrific defense that Head Coach Mike Zimmer has built.  Bridgewater was set to make the step to the next level, and of course, he had numerous weapons at his disposal, including RB Adrian Peterson, WRs Stefon Diggs and Laquon Treadwell, and others.  Suddenly, with the loss of Bridgewater, the excitement and promise of a terrific 2016 season evaporated.

Journeyman QB Shaun Hill, a career backup, was thrust into the starting role.  Last year’s third string QB Taylor Heinicke injured himself earlier this summer in a non-football related incident so he is not available as an option.  The only other QB’s on the roster were free agent rookie Joel Stave and former Chargers backup Brad Sorensen (who has since been released).

As I listened the news reports of the various options, a trade for AJ McCarron of the Cincinnati Bengals or Mike Glennon of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the most sense to me.  I did not like the thought of a trade for Mark Sanchez of the Denver Broncos or Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers.  A free agent signing of Michael Vick also was not appealing to me.  The Kansas City Chiefs released backup Aaron Murray so he is intriguing but the Dallas Cowboys, with a similar need at QB, have a higher waiver priority.  So, I suppose that the announcement of today’s acquisition of Sam Bradford makes the most sense.  The cost is very high (a first round pick in 2017 and a fourth-round pick in 2018) and Bradford is always an injury-risk as injuries have slowed the development of the player who was once the first pick of the overall 2010 NFL Draft.

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Credit:  FOX Sports

The Vikings had to do something.  They needed a QB capable of not being a detriment to the success of the team for this year and potentially next year dependent upon how Bridgewater’s recovery and rehabilitation goes.  The Vikings also had no leverage in trade talks so their only options were to rummage through the late roster cuts in the coming days as teams pare down to 53 players or pay a King’s ransom for a proven QB.

This is not the first time that Bradford has been on the same roster as RB Adrian Peterson.  They were teammates for a year when Bradford was a freshman at the University of Oklahoma.  That will help hasten the rapport between Bradford and Peterson.  It also helps that the Vikings have a coach with an extended history with Bradford.  Tight Ends coach Pat Shurmur spent time with Bradford in both St Louis and Philadelphia.

Wearing #7, Bradford can’t be any worse than the last guy to wear the jersey (Christian Ponder).  I think the Vikings should still explore other potential backup options even if Heinicke is due back in a few weeks.  I am hopeful that Bradford can stay injury-free during his time with the Vikings.  The success of the team’s immediate future now rests in his hands.  No pressure…

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Credit:  Ann Heisenfelt, AP

It’s hard to believe that it is September now.  The Yankees will only be playing for 30 or so more games, and the Vikings will be kicking off the new season in a week.   I may not be as excited about the Vikings’ chances this year as I was just a few weeks ago, but I do feel much better than I did yesterday.  Similarly, I remain hopeful and optimistic about the Yankees’ chances in 2017.

It’s always good to have reason for optimism…

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—Scott

All your people must learn before they can reach for the stars…

The Changing of the Guard…

The title of this post is a line by Captain James T. Kirk in the original TV Series Star Trek, but it holds true for the Yankees.

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Who knows if the youth transfusion in the Bronx will be enough to push the Yankees into the play-offs this year.  But at the moment, they are only 2.5 games behind for the last Wild Card slot, but with four team to leap frog.  Regardless of what happens, baseball in the Bronx has become exciting again.  I don’t think the Yankees will pull it out this year, but I am very excited for the future.

The Gary Sanchez Era has begun with the most legendary start in baseball history.  Yesterday, he became the fastest player to reach 11 home runs at the start of a career.  I’ve always remembered how beautiful it was to watch Darryl Strawberry hit home runs, and Sanchez has one of those swings that I love to watch the follow through.  He may be young, but he is a professional hitter with the potential for long term sustained success in pinstripes.  Before he is done, his name will be mentioned among the greats in Yankees history.  Just like center field has long been a position of legends (current starter excluded), the Yankees have a deep history with legendary catchers.  Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, Thurman Munson, and Jorge Posada represent rich tradition.  If Sanchez stays healthy, he’ll join those names one day.

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Credit:  Ray Stubblebine, The New York Post

It is amazing that Sanchez is only 23.  It seems like he has been a Yankees prospect for so many years, having signed at age 16.

Brian McCann is still a very good major league catcher, but he lost the position through no fault of his own.  I hope the Yankees to the right thing and trade McCann to a team that can use his skills, even if it involves paying part of the contract.  I personally would like to see him have the opportunity to return to Atlanta since he is a Georgia native.  Even without McCann, the battle for the backup catching position will still be competitive next spring with Austin Romine and AAA catcher Kyle Higaskioka (assuming the latter is tendered a contract in the off-season).

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Credit:  BeGreengo, Flickr

The other young players, such as 1B Tyler Austin and RF Aaron Judge, have under-performed since their dramatic back to back homers in their first major league at-bats.  But I know that Judge will figure it out.  He struggled in AAA last year before dominating this year.  Austin will most certainly yield 1B to the returning Greg Bird next spring, but I also think that he’ll figure it out.  He would slot nicely on the team as the backup first baseman, but someone who could also see time in a corner outfield role and DH.  While their bats have been quiet in recent days, their youthful presence on the formerly aged Yankees roster has been huge.  They have helped restore excitement in the Bronx.

I can’t say enough about how well Luis Cessa and Chad Green have been for the starting rotation.  Like everyone else, I was dismayed when lefty reliever Justin Wilson was shipped to the Detroit Tigers last off-season for two minor league prospects.  While neither Cessa nor Green carry the potential for elite stuff, they’ve been exactly what the team needed after losing Nathan Eovaldi and trading away Ivan Nova.  Andy Pettitte proved long ago that you don’t need elite stuff to be a very successful major league pitcher.  I am not saying that either Cessa or Green will ever be the pitcher that Pettitte was, but it’s good to see young pitchers succeed.  I can still remember when Al Leiter first came up and had some early success.  But he also struggled, and the team had no patience under the George Steinbrenner regime so Leiter was traded away.  He went on to have a very successful major league career.  Under Hal Steinbrenner, Cessa and Green will be given every opportunity…and the time…to prove they belong to stay.

Training camp next spring should bring a renewed enthusiasm for young players.  Now is not the time to be an aging veteran on the Yankees’ roster.   It would be great if the Yankees could figure out a way to unload veterans like Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Headley, but sadly, they’ll probably be stuck with those contracts to the end.  I am already looking forward to the day that Clint Frazier takes over center field.  3B prospect Miguel Andujar looks like the eventual successor to third, barring any trades, but he’s still a few years away.

I have full confidence that GM Brian Cashman will continue to make the right moves to restore the winning tradition in Yankee Stadium.  Excitement and optimism can be contagious, and Cashman has started something special for the future.

It’s a good time to be a Yankees fan!

—Scott

On a clear day, I can see forever…

The future is bright…

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This was a difficult week.  For months if not years, I have wanted Alex Rodriguez to go away.  He may have said and did the right thing after the year-long suspension, but there have been too many indiscretions and lies for me to be willing to move forward with the player.  Yet, for his final game, I was sad.  I was and am ready for the Yankees to turn the page, but for one night, it was good to see A-Rod smash the RBI double and to watch him play third base for one out before walking off the field to the ovation of the fans.

I do not argue that he is among the all-time greats.  But I will always wonder what could have been if not for the lies and PEDs.  I think he would have still been among the greats without illegal performance enhancement.  But we’ll never know.  I don’t think we’ve seen the last of A-Rod on the playing field, but obviously, his career in pinstripes is over.

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Credit:  John Munson, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com 

With A-Rod’s departure, I was very excited to see the arrival of slugging first baseman Tyler Austin and outfielder Aaron Judge.  As Mark Teixeira plays his final games, it is time to look to the future.  I prefer filling the first base vacancy in-house versus trade or free agency.  It was tough to lose top candidate Greg Bird for the season, but Tyler Austin has emerged as a force to be reckoned with.  It should be a great competition next spring between Bird and Austin.  Bird probably still has the leg up but it remains to be seen how he responds as he returns from injury.

The Yankees have been fortunate to have a string of successful first basemen.  From Don Mattingly to Tino Martinez to Jason Giambi to Teixeira, the Yankees have been spoiled even if there have been some down years by the latter two.  But of these great players, only Mattingly was raised through the Yankees farm system.  I remember in the early 80’s when Steve Balboni was the heralded first base prospect, but you kept hearing about this young kid from Evansville, Indiana that could hit.  Greg Bird has received similar accolades for his hitting ability.  I don’t know if Bird can ever be the player that Mattingly was but I am excited that the fight for first base is among two top Yankees prospects.

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Credit:  Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Saturday, August 13th will be remembered as the day Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge arrived at Yankee Stadium.  They became the first teammates to homer in their first major league at-bat’s when they hit back to back homers in a win over the Tampa Bay Rays.  The homers were a signal that the future is bright.

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Credit:  John Munson, AP

Gary Sanchez has already positioned himself as the future at catcher.  He continues a long lineage of great catchers (Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, Thurman Munson, and Jorge Posada to name a few).  He has yet to prove that he belongs in their company, but he does have the talent and potential to be.  Sanchez’s arrival will almost certainly lead to the departure of Brian McCann.  Even if they have to include cash, I still expect the Yankees to move McCann…either by the end of this month or in the off-season.  Austin Romine has proven that he is a very capable backup catcher for the foreseeable future.

Aaron Judge might not be the Yankees’ top prospect, but his arrival is very exciting.  There has been a vacancy in right field since Carlos Beltran was traded to the Texas Rangers.  There was no doubt that right field would belong to Judge in 2017, even if he did struggle somewhat in AAA last year.  But this year for the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders, Judge has been a man among boys.  He gives the Yankees a legitimate power threat in right, and his mammoth home runs will ensure that he is a fan favorite.  For a team that has been void of true superstars, the Yankees are starting to show the glimmer of possibilities as we move forward.

GM Brian Cashman has already said that we won’t see top prospect OF Clint Frazier, but he’ll make his first appearance in spring training.  He clearly has the potential (and fire) to make Brett Gardner an ex-Yankee.  Sadly, Jacoby Ellsbury is not going anywhere thanks to his excessive contract, but still, an outfield of Judge, Frazier, and Ellsbury is very exciting.

SS Gleyber Torres and SS/2B Jorge Mateo are a couple more faces that we’ll see next spring.

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Credit:  Tim Holle, Brevard County Manatees (via NJ.com)

If only Luis Severino, currently 1-7 (with the only win coming in a relief appearance), could deliver upon the promise that he showed last September.  But soon, names like James Kaprelian, Justus Sheffield and Ian Clarkin will be making noise for big league roles.

For a team that was old with a barren farm system just a few years, the future is indeed bright.

I am very excited and anxious to see what the new generation of Yankees can do.  The path to World Championship #28 seems much clearer these days…

—Scott

The Right Decision…

And then there was 24…

It could be the name of a highly successful TV series starring Kiefer Sutherland, it could be former Yankees great Constantino Martinez, or it could be new and future catcher Gary Sanchez.  But today, the meaning is singular.  The Yankees’ roster has essentially been running at 24 for the last few weeks with Alex Rodriguez sitting idle on the bench.  But now, it’s official.

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Credit:  Newsday

The roster action will be delayed but Friday, August 12th represents the final day with A-Rod in pinstripes.  After the game on Friday, Alex will be unconditionally released and will sign an agreement with the Yankees to serve as a special advisor and instructor through December 31, 2017.

Obviously, the roster will stand at 24 only momentarily as the 25th spot will quickly be filled by someone like Aaron Judge or Tyler Austin.  I suspect that it will be the latter as the Yankees will want to test one of the prime candidates to be Mark Teixeira’s replacement next year.  Aaron Judge’s ascent to right field in the Bronx is a clearer path than the one Austin faces given the competition presented by Greg Bird and Rob Refsnyder.

I have not been a supporter of A-Rod and have actively wanted him off the roster for a few years now.  I do recognize that when he came back after serving the year long suspension, he was a model citizen.  He did not exhibit the narcissist behavior that had been such a part of his persona and infamy.  Still, I have been ready to turn the page.

With the ascent of Gary Sanchez to the major leagues and the first few games showing that he is ready, it signaled the turning of the page.  The sell-off at the trading deadline showed that Team Hal was ready to move forward and look to the future.  Sanchez proving that he is ready to be the next great Yankees catcher, it has accelerated the plans to make Brian McCann either a first baseman or the full-time DH.  The transition to the latter would make more sense.  Of course, that would eliminate any chance of A-Rod getting any further at-bats.  I still hold up hope the Yankees will pay some cash to move McCann back to the Atlanta Braves. But it’s actually good that the DH slot has been opened up as it will allow guys like Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner to cycle through the slot.

Back to A-Rod, I do think that he should pursue a role in the broadcasting booth in the fall play-offs.  He showed that he had great value last year, and I do think he has a bright future in his post-playing career.  The way he enjoys working with young players also shows that coaching is a strong possibility even if A-Rod says otherwise.  Regardless, A-Rod has no shortage of future possibilities.  I am thankful for his contributions to the New York Yankees, but I am glad this day has arrived.  I will look forward to the August 12th game and will watch it with great interest.  I will enjoy each A-Rod at-bat, and I will appreciate his final farewell.

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Credit:  Corey Sipkin, New York Daily News

So long, A-Rod…

—Scott

Sold to the Lady in the Second Row…

Going, going, gone!…

My wish was answered.  I had been a huge proponent of being a seller at the trading deadline, and in the end, Team Hal saw the view of the world the same as I.  Without any doubt, it was an incredibly painful experience.  I loved having the three-headed beast in the back end of the bullpen, and Andrew Miller was easily my favorite Yankee.  But as I played over and over in my head, having the greatest bullpen in the history of baseball means nothing if you don’t have a supporting cast.

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Credit:  Thomas A. Ferrara, Newsday

I thought that GM Brian Cashman did very well with his trades.  It instantly catapulted the Yankees to the upper echelon of premier farm systems when it wasn’t that long ago we were closer to the bottom.  The end of the latest Yankees dynasty came because the team didn’t pay proper attention to the farm system until it was too late.  Now, as the cream of the crop make their way to Yankee Stadium, the team will be in a much better position to add additional pieces to improve the talent and quality of the major league roster.  The bullpen may be more suspect, but the supporting cast will be much, much stronger, and in the end, it will bring more wins.

The future started this week with the call-up of top catching prospect Gary Sanchez.  It’s only been a few games but it feels like the changing of the guard.  I have to believe that it is virtual certainty the Yankees will try to move Brian McCann at the end of the season if not sooner.  Backup catcher Austin Romine holds better long-term value than McCann so I think the Yankees should throw in cash to entice the Atlanta Braves to take their former All-Star catcher.

The next call up should be outfielder Aaron Judge, although I really want to see what first baseman Tyler Austin can do in September.

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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRider’s Tyler Austin before a game against the Charlotte Knights at PNC Field in Moosic, Pa. on Tuesday, June 7, 2016. Photo by Martin Griff

Credit:  Martin Griff

The DL is going to miss Mark Teixeira…

Today, Mark Teixeira announced he is retiring at the end of the year.  This was the right move.  With his injury history in recent years, no team was going to pay him to be their starting first baseman next year.  There was no real chance that the Yankees would re-sign him.  It is time.  Teixeira now gets the opportunity to walk away as a Yankee.

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Credit:  Brad Rempel, USA Today Sports

I did not realize that Teixeira had hit nearly half of his career home runs as a Yankee.  It’s been eight years and is the longest time Tex has spent with any team including his original team, the Texas Rangers.

I saw a stat today that said the Yankees have only had four first basemen since 1983.  Don Mattingly, Tino Martinez, Jason Giambi, and Teixeira.  Unfortunately, that’s probably the order in which I liked them the best too.  Does this mean I will like the next first baseman even less?  Possibly, but the next first baseman should be the first homegrown Yankee since Mattingly.  The aforementioned Tyler Austin and the injured Greg Bird will enter spring training next year as the favorites for the position, along with Rob Refsnyder.  I like Bird, but I am very intrigued by Austin.  He responded very well to the position change to first this year and re-established himself as one of the top prospects in the organization.

I will be happy with either Austin or Bird, but I do hope that one of them takes the position by stranglehold and that it’s not just a process of elimination.  No offense to Refsnyder but he just doesn’t have the power to intrigue me as the regular first baseman.

Tex has had a great career.  I don’t know if it will lead to the Hall of Fame but he’s certainly put up numbers to be proud of.  He is one of the primary reasons the Yankees won the 2009 World Series.  Although I never fully embraced Teixeira, he was an excellent defensive first baseman and when healthy, one of the best power hitters in the game.  Sadly, the latter was an infrequent occurrence.

Still, I wish Tex nothing but the best as he moves on to his second career.

I hope it’s not Miller Time…

I am writing this post as the Yankees play the Cleveland Indians.  This is a very tough series to watch knowing that Cleveland has the premier closer on their roster.  Hopefully he doesn’t factor into tonight’s game.  But when he does appear, I hope he receives a standing ovation from the Yankee Stadium crowd.

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Credit:  Jason Miller, Getty Images

Is it 2017 yet?…

—Scott

Can I have the cake and eat it too?…

What if the Yankees had traded Mariano Rivera in a deadline deal?…

It’s tough.  I’ve been preaching the Yankees need to sell and I still believe it.  Yet, it was very hard to watch Aroldis Chapman and his 105 mph fastball move to Chicago.  I know, it was the right thing to do.  The Yankees got a player (SS Gleyber Torres) that knocked #1 prospect SS Jorge Mateo off his perch.  They also got promising talent with two other minor leaguers, and the bonus included former Yankee Adam Warren, the perfect spot starter/long reliever.  He should slot nicely into the 7th inning role departed by Dellin Betances when he was promoted to the 8th inning with the trade.

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Credit:  Barton Silverman/New York Times

Andrew Miller is my favorite Yankee.  Going back, my favorite Yankees have been long-term affairs.  I became a Yankees fan in 1974 when P Jim “Catfish” Hunter signed with the Yankees as a free agent.  But it didn’t take long for me to jump to C Thurman Munson as my favorite.  There was a short stint with P Rich “Goose” Gossage, but then 1B Don Mattingly became my favorite.  When Mattingly retired, Mariano Rivera, then an 8th inning set up reliever for closer John Wetteland became my favorite Yankee.  So, from 1983 to 2013, there were two players that were my favorite.  When Andrew Miller joined the Yankees, he became my favorite due to his unselfish, total team approach.  He’s been great at whatever role he’s held with the Yankees and has never complained.  He is now the closer again with Chapman joining the Cubbies.  Yet, with several days to the trade deadline, Miller could still soon be an ex-Yankee.

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Credit:  Elsa/Getty Images

There was a report today that the Washington Nationals might be willing to part with pitcher Lucas Giolito for Miller.  A subsequent report indicated the Yankees would not take Giolito for Miller.  Realistically and considering he is my favorite Yankee, that’s a trade that I would do with no questions asked.  I think Giolito has a very promising future.  There are no guarantees for anyone unless your name is Mike Trout or Bryce Harper.  Pitchers are very fickle.  The Los Angeles Dodgers have the best pitcher in baseball with Clayton Kershaw yet he is on the DL and there’s no word when he’ll be returning.  The Yankees need a New York Mets-like starting rotation and I feel that Giolito could be a cornerstone.  I would hate to lose Miller, and I would be very sad to see him go even if Giolito is the compensation.  Yet, I feel the Yankees would be better off long-term with a potential ace in the rotation and Dellin Betances as the closer.

The Yankees have played better of late but realistically this is not a World Series team.  The Yankees really need to make decisions now to influence the 2017 roster.  That means they need to move guys like Ivan Nova and Carlos Beltran.  Get prospects rather than see the players depart at the end of the year.  I am prepared to cut bait with Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia.  I’d try to move C Brian McCann and 3B Chase Headley.  I’d also check to see if there was any value for LF Brett Gardner.  I wouldn’t trade P Masahiro Tanaka but I’d seriously have to consider moving Michael Pineda and/or Nathan Eovaldi in the right deal.

The influx of additional young talent could allow the Yankees to make a deal for a guy like P Chris Sale or another impact player.

Owner Hal Steinbrenner and President Randy Levine still believe in the 2016 Yankees but they are definitely in the minority.  The Yankees, behind GM Brian Cashman, need to be forward-thinking.  The next couple of days will be crucial to the future of the franchise.

As painful as it is, please sell…

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—Scott

Which direction is the wind blowing?…

To sell or not to sell…

Buy-Hold-Sell

Should the Yankees be buyers or sellers?  That seems to be the burning question circulating the Yankee fan base.  It’s clear that the 2016 Yankees are not going anywhere.  Even if they did somehow snag the second Wild Card spot, what would they do with it?  Nothing.  They do not match up well with the better teams in the AL and if the big hitters on the team can’t hit in July, they sure won’t be hitting in October when the best pitchers are facing them.

Sell.

The answer is plain and simple.  I think the Yankees could get more for Aroldis Chapman than if they take the compensatory pick when he walks at the end of the year.  Carlos Beltran has proven to be a much better Yankee than expected but his time in the Bronx is over.  Let Nathan Eovaldi figuure out how to control those 100 mph pitches in PIttsburgh.  I’d move Brian McCann to someplace like Texas or another team in need of a quality catcher.  I’d cut Alex Rodriguez outright, and take the rest of the contract as the cost of doing business.

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Granted, Aaron Judge is currently on the minor league DL but the Yankees need to find ways to get the younger talent exposed to the major leagues this year.  I’d like to see Jake Cave have the opportunity he had in spring training when he was trying to make the Cincinnati Reds as a Rule 5 draftee.  It didn’t work them but I think he has continued to grow and might be the fourth outfielder that Aaron Hicks is not.  Tyler Austin is another possibility.

I realize that pitcher Drew Pomeranz is having a great year, and was once a fifth selection overall in the draft, but he is still a journeyman pitcher.  For the success he’s enjoyed this year, the San Diego Padres were able to pry the fourth best prospect from the Boston Red Sox in pitcher Anderson Espinoza.  Watching the Red Sox beat the Yankees yesterday, their starter was Eduardo Rodriguez.  Rodriguez was the product of a trading deadline deal a couple of years ago when Boston was seller (sending current Yankee Andrew Miller to Baltimore).  Being sellers paid dividends for the Red Sox.

Retooling this team is not going to work.  The Yankees need to make some extreme choices, and then stand behind those moves.  There’s help on the way in the lower levels of the minor league system, with a few options currently at the AAA level.  But those players need to be supplemented by other high level prospects.

It’s been frustrating to watch the Yankees fight to .500 at the All-Star Break, only to lose the first two games of a three game set with the Red Sox.  But this is the 2016 Yankees.  It’s not going to get any better.

I personally would can Joe Girardi as manager, but that’s not a move that necessarily needs to be made to improve the team over the long haul.  Maybe it is time to make a change at the GM level.  Bring an outside perspective into the organization.  I would love for the team to find a way to pry Alex Anthopoulos away from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The best move would be for the Steinbrenner family to sell the team but that’s not going to happen.  So, sell the older players with value, and move on.  2016 is lost.  Prepare this team for 2017 and beyond.  We need to recapture New York from the Mets and give the fans reason for hope…

So long, Aroldis.  It’s been fun…

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Credit:  Kim Klement, USA Today Sports

—Scott

Seriously, a BJ Upton walk-off homer?…

Glass is half empty…

When the Yankees split the recent series with the Texas Rangers by taking back-to-back walk-off wins, there was talk if those games were the momentum changers that the Yankees needed to propel them upward in the standings.  Off to San Diego to play the lowly Padres, and the Yankees have only continued their disappointing and at times frustrating play.

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When you can say that Ivan Nova held the opponent to one run with seven strikeouts, it should be a sign of optimism.  But in the standings, it was just another loss as the Padres’ Drew Pomeranz threw a superior game.  Is Pomeranz really that good or is it just the miserable Yankee bats?  Probably somewhere in between.

Every fan has known for several years that the Yankees need another top starter to go with Masahiro Tanaka.  There was hope and optimism that Michael Pineda and/or Luis Severino would step up but it hasn’t happened and there was always the potential for this to be the case.  Neither is a surefire option.  I still think the Yankees should have gone after Max Scherzer a couple of seasons ago, but it wasn’t meant to be.

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Credit:  Geoff Burke, USA Today Sports

Regardless of what happens in the coming days, I think it is time to move pending free agent Carlos Beltran.  Yes, he’s been the best offensive force on the team, but face it, the Yankees aren’t going to win the World Series this year.  Beltran will walk at the end of the year as the Yankees have no desire to re-sign the player.  They may as well sell at this point to get something of value in return.  The day for Aaron Judge’s arrival is drawing closer.  Even if Judge isn’t ready, there are guys like Jake Cave who deserve an opportunity.  The Yankees should commit to youth for the good of the organization going forward.

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Credit:  Corey Sipkin, New York Daily News

I would also sell high on CC Sabathia.  The guy was untradeable in the not so distant past.  Now, the Yankees could actually get something in return even if they have to pay some of the salary.  A great Yankee but it’s time to move on.  I’d rather begin to develop guys like Chad Green and Luis Cessa as long time parts for the starting rotation.

I’d sign Cuban free agent third baseman Yulieski Gourriel and unload Chase Headley.

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Credit:  Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

There’s no doubt I’d walk away from Alex Rodriguez, and take the remaining dollars as a loss on the contract as the cost of doing business.  I would also move on from Mark Teixeira despite no readily apparent back up in place.  These guys have been huge drains on the team’s offense, and perhaps they’d flourish elsewhere with the change of scenery but I don’t see either player powering the team to its 28th World Championship.

If Brett Gardner got caught in one of the moves to unload one or more of the above players, then so be it.

The Yankees need to develop a stronger base foundation so that they can enhance the team in the off-season through other trades or possible free agent signings.  I know that the free agent market doesn’t appear to be very attractive this year, but the Yankees need to do something to remove the “past-their-prime” players.

As for youth, I was hoping for more from Aaron Hicks.  I really thought that he might flourish in the Bronx and give the Yankees stronger reason to move Brett Gardner.  But he hasn’t hit either.  Maybe the Yankees should consider adding former Twins outfielder Torii Hunter as a roving instructor.  Hicks blossomed last year under his tutelage.  I still think that Hicks can succeed, but it is rapidly becoming apparent it won’t be this year.

It was frustrating in the off-season to watch the Yankees be so inactive in improving the roster.  We’re now seeing the uneven play of the team as a result.  I think the fans knew that was the more likely outcome than management did.  It doesn’t mean the fans are more educated, but clearly this was a roster full of holes that needed everything to go right.

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Today, Chad Green is the starting pitcher as the Yankees try to salvage at least one game from the San Diego Padres and avoid a sweep.  Hopefully it is the sign of the future, and the first step toward “roster improvement”.

Yankees, just win…

—Scott