|Photo Credit: Kevin C Cox, Getty Images|
Red Thunder Gets No Rest…
Now that we don’t have Gerrit Cole rumors to fuel our days, it looks like we’ll be hearing more and more about Yu Darvish until he finally signs somewhere.
John Harper of The New York Daily News floated a trade possibility this morning. In his scenario, the Yankees would send Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier to the San Francisco Giants for second baseman Joe Panik. By including Frazier, Harper figures the Yankees could get the Giants to pay $12-$13 million annually of what’s left on Ellsbury’s contract. In his line of thinking, the trade would open the pathway for the Yankees to sign Darvish so he basically views it as an Ellsbury/Frazier swap for Darvish/Panik.
|Photo Credit: Lance Iversen, USA TODAY Sports|
I am not sure that I’m crazy about the trade idea but if the Yankees were willing to send Frazier to Pittsburgh for Cole, they’d be willing to move him to bring in Yu Darvish.
If the Yankees carried a fifth outfielder on the roster to start the year (assuming Ellsbury and Frazier are dealt), it would most likely be Tyler Austin, who could back up first and the corner outfield spots, or Billy McKinney, an outfielder who did work at first base during the Arizona Fall League.
Panik’s presence would allow the Yankees to take their time with Gleyber Torres or move him to third base as once planned. A native New Yorker, Panik, 27, hit .288 with 10 home runs and 53 RBIs for the Giants in 2017. He was eligible for arbitration for the first time this year and settled with the Giants last week for $3.45 million. He can be a free agent in 2021. His lefty bat would play well in Yankee Stadium.
No one is going to take Ellsbury in a straight one-for-one swap, even with boatloads of cash included. So as much as I’d hate to lose Frazier, this is probably a trade that I’d make so long as I knew that I could sign either Darvish or Alex Cobb for the starting rotation.
In an unrelated rumor, Jim Bowden is saying that the Milwaukee Brewers are interested in signing third baseman Mike Moustakas if they could trade Travis Shaw to the Braves, Mets or Yankees. I’m never too excited about adding an ex-Red Sock, but Shaw had a breakout year for the Brewers in 2017 with 31 home runs and 101 RBIs. He batted .273/.349/.513. He is a left-handed bat and will turn 28 in mid-April. Not sure what level of interest the Yankees might have, but it bears watching. It would certainly cause much angst in the Red Sox Nation.
|Photo Credit: Jim Davis, Globe Staff|
Congrats Hideki Matsui…
According to The Japan Times, former Yankee (and Yomiuri Giant) Hideki Matsui has been elected to the Japanese Hall of Fame. At 43 years and 7 months, Matsui is the youngest entrant to the Japanese HOF, eclipsing former Dodgers/Mets pitcher Hideo Nomo, who was 45 years and 4 months at the time of his election.
Before heading to the United States to join the Yankees, Matsui won three Central League home run titles (1998, 2000, and 2002) and he was MVP of the CL in 1996, 2000, and 2002.
This was Matsui’s first year on the Japanese ballot and he garnered 91.3% of the vote. He was joined by former Hanshin Tigers star Tomoaki Kanemoto and former Yomiuri Giants manager Tatsunori Hara.
In his prepared statement, Matsui thanked his mentor, former Yomiuri Giants skipper Shigeo Nagashima. “Day in and day out, (Nagashima) checked my swing, and those days formed the cornerstone for me as a baseball player.”
|Photo Credit: Kyodo|
Hideki’s father, Masao, attended the announcement ceremony on his behalf. Hideki is in New York and was unable to attend.
Congratulations to the great #55 for the well-deserved honor!
Stanton and Judge who?…
Aaron Hicks caused quite a stir on Instagram this weekend when he posted a workout pic that shows he is more than capable of holding his own in the Yankees outfield. I was a little shocked when I first saw the pic and there were plenty of people who questioned whether or not it really was A-A-Ron (it is). Justin Diamond (@justindiamond) had the best tweet: “Sweet baby Jesus. @AaronHicks31 you on the juice this off-season?”…
Wow, what a football game!…
As a lifelong Minnesota Vikings fan, I’ve endured my share of disappointment over the years. The Vikings have found more unique ways to lose big games than any NFL team that I can think of. Well, outside of the Buffalo Bills. Yesterday’s NFC Playoff game against the New Orleans Saints was a game of atonement for me.
The Vikings jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first half and I was getting congratulations from a number of friends. As a Vikings fan, I knew it was way too early to start getting excited. Plus, Drew Brees is still one of the game’s great quarterbacks. Sure enough, a couple of plays in the second half shifted the momentum to the Saints. The Vikings lost the lead and then re-captured it with less than 2 minutes to go. I was fearful that the Vikings had left too much time on the clock for Brees and Company and unfortunately I was right. Brees led the Saints to a field goal to re-capture the lead at 24-23 with 25 seconds left. Starting on their own 25 after a touchback on the kickoff, the Vikings moved to their 39 and faced a third down with 10 seconds left and no time outs. I was resigned to the agony of defeat when Vikings QB Case Keenum hit WR Stefon Diggs for a 61-yard touchdown to win the game. The Vikings won the game, 29-24. It was such an incredible feeling…something like Aaron Judge hitting a game-winning home run in the bottom of the 9th.
|Photo Credit: Pioneer Press|
I am not sure what will happen next week in Philadelphia as the Vikings take on the Eagles for the NFC Championship but I am enjoying the ride. The Eagles are the only thing that stands between the Vikings and playing this year’s Super Bowl at US Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. So regardless of whether they win or lose, the Vikings are going home. I just hope it is with a game still be played.
Lastly, We Remember…
Today, we remember the late great Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Actually, he is thought of every day, but today is officially his day. He had so many great words over the course of his life, but I’ll leave this post with one: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Thank you, Dr King, for making a difference. We are a better country because of you and would have been even greater if you hadn’t been taken from us prematurely. We are forever grateful for you and your efforts to make this a better World for all of us.
Never forget MLK Jr…
I have to admit that my biggest fear about the upcoming season is the health of an aging 37 year-old catcher’s surgically-repaired right shoulder.
Jorge Posada sat out Saturday’s 7-3 exhibition loss to the Minnesota Twins due to shoulder soreness. He downplayed the severity of the soreness after the game. “I am not concerned at all.” Posada said. “I did something I wasn’t supposed to do and it’s sore.”
Courtesy Mad Magazine
Jorge is a competitive guy. Once the regular season gets underway, he could either be tentative out of concerns for “over-doing” it or he could get caught up the heat of the moment and literally throw his shoulder out. With Jorge’s competitiveness, I would suspect the latter to be a very real possibility.
There is no Plan B. Jose Molina is a good back-up but he has proven that he is not a starting catcher. He cannot be depended upon over the long haul, nor is Kevin Cash a long-term solution. There is hope in the farm system with Austin Romine and Jesus Montero, but neither guy is ready for major league action right now. The Yankees need to develop a sound contingency plan for ‘what if’.
There are other uncertain positions on the team, such as center field and right field. But in those situations, the Yankees have choices. If the first choice doesn’t work out, they can still fall back to the other option and should be okay. But with catching, they have a front line starter with average, capable back up support. Take away the front line catcher, and there’s not much left.
I am hopeful that Brian Cashman is actively working to identify a solution. There’s is too much riding on this season to depend upon Posada’s health at this stage of his career. Theo Epstein is in a relative similar situation in Boston as Jason Varitek’s skills are declining with age. It will be interesting to see whether Cash or Theo is more successful at addressing their team’s needs by the the end of spring training…
Ron Gardenhire’s Comments
I saw the comments by Ron Gardenhire yesterday where he felt that the Yankees weren’t done yet. It was an apparent, but unsaid, reference to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ inability to re-sign Manny Ramirez.
I honestly do not believe that the Yankees will enter the mix for Manny regardless of what happens with the Dodgers. I would really believe the Giants would sign Manny before the Yankees would. Contrary to public opinion, even the Yankees have a budget and they’ve been affected by the poor economy like every other team.
I think it is more imperative for the Yankees to figure out solutions for other current weaknesses on the team before they enter the fray for Manny Ramirez.
Would I love to see Manny in the Bronx? Absolutely. But looking at the whole picture, it does not make sense and there are still too many shortcomings in other areas that need to be addressed.
Jim Bowden Resigns…
Jim Bowden has finally stepped down as the GM for the Washington Nationals, and it is about time. Regardless of whether he is innocent or guilty regarding the federal government’s investigation into skimming signing bonuses, he had become too much of a distraction for the Nationals.
When I first heard that Jose Rijo had taken a leave of absence (later fired) regarding the bonus given to the “prospect” with the falsified age, I wondered why the GM was not being held accountable. It seemed as though Rijo was being made the scapegoat, and that responsibility rested higher within the organization.
It wasn’t that long ago Bowden was mentioned as a possible successor for Brian Cashman (before he subsequently re-signed with the Yanks). Now, Bowden is most likely done depending upon how the investigation turns out…
It’s a sad situation for an organization that deserves better.
Re-tooling the Vikings…
Okay, I was a little disappointed to see the Vikings miss out on QB Matt Cassel, but I do still believe that Sage Rosenfels was an upgrade over Gus Frerotte. Had Cassel been dealt to the Vikings, he would have been the clear starter. Rosenfels, on the other hand, will enter camp in competition with Tavaris Jackson. I have not heard much about John David Booty, so I don’t know how his development is coming along or if he projects to anything more than a career as a backup.
Somehow, Vikings backup QB’s have a tendency to go elsewhere and find new life (i.e., Rich Gannon). Tyler Thigpen, who started for the Chiefs last year, is another example, although he’s been relegated to backup status with the Chiefs’ acquisition of Cassel.
Nevertheless, I am hopeful that the Vikings cash savings with Rosenfels (instead of pursuing someone like Cassel) allows them to re-sign C Matt Birk.
On Saturday, owner Zygi Wilf flew a private jet to Seattle to pick up WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh who had been visiting with the Seattle Seahawks on Friday. Although I don’t know how to say or pronounce T.J.’s name, he would be a great addition for the Vikings, and a perfect complement to WR Bernard Berrian. T.J. would potentally give the Vikings their first 90-catch WR since Randy Moss.
Prior to the free agency period, T.J. had mentioned the Vikings as a possibility. “If I can play with Adrian Peterson, can you imagine what I would do getting 1-on-1 coverage with Adrian Peterson?”, he said. “I am going to win 98.6% of the time with 1-on-1 coverage with him in the backfield.”
T.J. has apparently indicated that he’ll decide by tonight whether to stay in Cincinnati or sign elsewhere. Here’s hoping that he is wearing Purple and Gold in the not-so-distant future…