Saturday Links: Judge, Home Run Derby, Players Weekend

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

This nightmare of a West Coast trip continues this afternoon with the third of four games against the Athletics. I look forward to seeing what creative way the bullpen lets a late lead slip away in this one. Anyway, here are some random bits of news and notes to check out while you wait for the game.

Judge not yet invited to Home Run Derby

In about three weeks, MLB will officially announce this year’s Home Run Derby contestants. Aaron Judge, who leads MLB with 23 homers, has not yet received an invite, he recently told Brendan Kuty. “I haven’t even thought about it. I’ll wait to the day (I’m invited), I guess,” he said. Here’s what Joe Girardi told George King about Judge and the Home Run Derby:

“From watching BP, I have a better idea. Some guys don’t have the power to all fields like Aaron Judge has,’’ Girardi said before the Yankees’ 3-2 loss to the Angels in 11 innings on Tuesday night. “When you watch his BP, there are a lot of homers going to right and lot of homers going to center. Sometimes you worry about them doing something they don’t do during the course of a game. To me it would just be a normal BP.’’

As I said a few weeks ago, I am 100% on board with Judge participating in the Home Run Derby, and it would be a great thing for MLB and the Yankees. People can’t take their eyes off this guy. He’s someone you want front and center in one of the game’s biggest events. I couldn’t be any less worried about some sort of Home Run Derby hangover effect either. You see how this guy makes adjustments? Put Judge in the Home Run Derby.

MLB will have a “Players Weekend” in August

According to Jeff Passan, MLB and the MLBPA have agreed to hold a “Players Weekend” from August 25th to 27th in which uniform rules will be relaxed. Players will be allowed to put nicknames on the back of their jerseys, wear bright cleats, and put a personalized patch on their jersey. The jerseys will be sold afterwards with proceeds going to the league’s Youth Development Foundation.

Gimmicky? Sure. Harmless? Yep. Will the Yankees allow players to put a nickname on their back of their jersey? I mean, this was negotiated by MLB and MLBPA. I don’t think teams will be able to refuse it. Imagine Michael Pineda on the mound with a BIG MIKE jersey, or Gary Sanchez with KRAKEN. We might see it! Could be cool. The Yankees will be home to play Robinson Cano and the Mariners that weekend, by the way.

Judge has top selling MLB jersey

Speaking of jerseys, Judge now has the No. 1 selling jersey in baseball, according to Josh Kosman. A few weeks ago MLB announced Kris Bryant had the top selling jersey — followed by a whole lot of Cubs — with Judge nowhere to be found in the top 20. (Sanchez was ninth overall and the best selling AL player.) Judge has since smashed a bunch of dingers and jumped to the top of the jersey sales rankings. Pretty awesome.

Also, Kosman says the Yankees will soon start selling souvenir white wigs with Judge’s name at Yankee Stadium. Between that and The Judge’s Chambers out in right field, the team is marketing the hell out of him. As they should! Judge is everything you could want in a franchise player, right? He’s great on the field and humble off it. He represents the Yankees and MLB well. They should be slapping this guy on every billboard possible.

Yankees and Royals rained out, makeup game on Sept. 25th

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

This afternoon’s series finale between the Yankees and Royals has been rained out, the two teams announced. They’ll play the makeup game on Monday, September 25th. The start time is TBA. That was supposed to be the Yankees’ final off-day of the regular season. At least the Royals have to come to New York and the Yankees don’t have to go anywhere.

Here’s what the Yankees say about the ticket situation for today’s rainout:

Fans holding paid tickets for today’s postponed game (May 25) may use them for the rescheduled game on Monday, September 25, or exchange their paid tickets for any regular season game at Yankee Stadium within 12 months of today’s postponed game (subject to availability).

Fans holding Complimentary (COMP) tickets for today’s game must use them for the rescheduled game. COMP tickets or equivalent tickets bear no cash value and do not have any additional benefits that may be offered to ticket(s) with a dollar value.

The Yankees already have two makeup games on the schedule for the second half this year. They’ll make up this game with the Royals on September 25th, and they’re also due to play a doubleheader at Fenway Park on July 16th. That’s the first Sunday after the All-Star break. The Yankees and Red Sox were rained out on April 25th.

I suppose the good news is the Yankees get an off-day today to break up their 20 games in 20 days stretch. They’re halfway through it — today was going to be game ten. The Yankees will play three games against the Athletics this weekend before going out on the road for three games in Baltimore and four games in Toronto next week.

The rainout gives all the starting pitchers an extra day of rest, which means if the Yankees had any plans to call up a spot sixth starter at some point during this 20 games in 20 days stretch, they might not have to now. They could still do that, of course, but now they have the option of waiting a little longer or skipping it all together.

Masahiro Tanaka, who has been dreadful the last two times out and owns a 6.56 ERA (6.05 FIP) on the season, was scheduled to start this afternoon. He’ll presumably get the ball tomorrow instead. The Yankees haven’t announced their pitching plans, though I would be surprised if they used the rainout to skip Tanaka’s start.

Losing the final off-day of the regular season to a makeup game isn’t a huge deal. The Yankees will now close the season with ten straight games rather than six. Plus rosters will be expanded, so they’ll have all the extra bodies. And! The last place Royals could very well sell at the deadline, so they might be much less imposing then than they are right now. We’ll see.

Saturday Links: Happ, Zimmer, Sanchez, Mock Drafts, Girardi

The Yankees and Rays will play the second game of their three-game series later this afternoon. Here are some links to check out until then.

Yankees passed on Happ, Jimenez, Zimmer

This is pretty fun and interesting. According to Joel Sherman, during trade talks last year, the Yankees and Cubs agreed that New York would receive either Gleyber Torres, Ian Happ, or Eloy Jimenez in the Aroldis Chapman trade. Also, during talks with the Indians about Andrew Miller, it was down to Clint Frazier or Bradley Zimmer. Both Happ and Zimmer were called up within the last week, and both have hit their first MLB home runs already.

Sherman says the Yankees passed on Jimenez because he was furthest away among the three Cubs prospects, and they passed on Happ because he’s not expected to be much of a defender. Torres had the best all-around ability. The Yankees went Frazier over Zimmer because he’s two years younger and has fewer exploitable holes in his swing. (Zimmer had a 30.7% strikeout rate between Double-A and Triple-A last year. Yikes!)

I really do like Happ, though I am totally cool with passing on him for Gleyber. The Yankees picked correctly in both cases, in my opinion. Torres is a budding superstar. Frazier has a much better chance to be an impact bat long-term too. Something tells me we’ll all have one eye on Happ and Jimenez and Zimmer over the next few years. Either way, the trade deadline last year truly was a franchise altering event. The Yankees are in much better shape long-term right now than they were 12 months ago.

Sanchez among top 25 under 25

A few days ago Keith Law (subs. req’d) ranked the 25 best players in baseball under the age of 25. Not surprisingly, Bryce Harper claims the top spot. Manny Machado and Carlos Correa are second and third. Yeah. The Yankees have one player on the list: Gary Sanchez, who ranks 14th. He’s one spot behind Alex Bregman and one spot ahead of Dansby Swanson. Here’s the write-up:

Sanchez had a rookie season — well, half-season — for the ages last year, with 20 homers in 53 games, good enough to get him second in Rookie of the Year balloting and push the Yankees to trade Brian McCann and give Sanchez the starting job behind the plate. Sanchez has improved enough as a receiver to stay back there, though he is probably always going to be a bat-first, throw-second, glove-third kind of guy. I’m sure the Yankees will be fine with that.

Aaron Judge, who turned 25 last month, was not eligible for the list. I’m sure he would have made it had the list been players age 25 and under. The list is very position player heavy — Noah Syndergaard, Aaron Sanchez, Julio Urias, and Michael Fulmer are the only pitchers — and I’m guessing Luis Severino wasn’t particularly close to making it. That doesn’t surprise me. Sanchez is the only catcher in the top 25, and that is pretty darn cool.

Baseball America’s mock draft v3.0

Baseball America released their third mock draft of the year earlier this week, and now they have the Twins selecting Vanderbilt RHP Kyle Wright with the top pick. California HS RHP/SS Hunter Greene, the top prospect in the draft class, is projected to fall to the Padres with the third pick. The mock draft has the Yankees taking Alabama HS OF Bubba Thompson with their 16th pick. Here’s the write-up:

New York has been linked to preps this spring such as Huntington Beach first baseman Nick Pratto and Alabama prep outfielder Bubba Thompson, who’s likely to go in the 16-23 range. Pratto’s relatively modest spring offensively has pushed him down lists a bit.

The draft is a little more than four weeks now, so things are still pretty wide open. So far the Yankees have been connected to mostly high school players, though that doesn’t mean much. Last year they were mostly connected to high school arms and college bats before the draft, then bam, they went with a high school bat. Hopefully things get narrowed down a bit over the next month.

MLB.com’s mock draft v1.0

In other mock draft news, Jim Callis dropped his first full mock draft of the year last week. He has the Twins taking Louisville LHP/1B Brendan McKay first overall. It seems Minnesota has been connected to all the top prospects except Greene. Weird. Anyway, Callis has the Yankees taking California HS 1B Nick Pratto withe their first rounder.

One of the most rumored mid-round marriages is New York and Pratto, though this is more a floor than a ceiling for the best high school bat available. Burger and Canning are other potential targets.

Here’s my write-up on Pratto. Also, here’s my write-up on UCLA RHP Griffin Canning, who Callis connected to the Yankees as well. Burger is Missouri State 3B Jake Burger, who is one of the top power hitters in the draft. He’s probably going to end up at first base though, and it’s unclear if his less than picturesque swing will allow him to handle pro pitching. Meh. Doesn’t seem like the kind of player the Yankees usually target in the first round.

Girardi on new competition committee

Earlier this week MLB announced the relaunch of the competition committee, a 16-man committee that is “charged with studying all aspects of the game and advising the Commissioner and Club Owners on on-field matters.” They’re going to look for ways to make baseball better, basically. I guess automatic intentional walks and talking about pace of play constantly isn’t working as well as hoped.

Anyway, Joe Girardi is one of four current big league managers on the committee, along with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, and Orioles skipper Buck Showalter. Here is the press release with all the committee members. I do like that commissioner Rob Manfred is open to new ideas and seems genuinely interested in improving the game. I have no idea whether the new competition committee will result in any tangible improvements, but hey, at least they’re trying.

Today’s game rained out, Yankees and Astros will play single admission doubleheader tomorrow

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

As expected, this afternoon’s game has been postponed due to inclement weather, the Yankees announced. The Yankees and Astros will make up today’s game as part of a rare single admission doubleheader tomorrow. The first game will begin at 2pm ET and the second at 8pm ET.

Tomorrow is, of course, Derek Jeter day at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are retiring Jeter’s number — fitting they’ll play two games on the day they’re retiring No. 2, eh? — and having a ceremony and all that. The ceremony is still scheduled to take place at the same time. Nothing has changed. It’ll all go down prior to the late game as scheduled.

As for tickets, only tickets for tomorrow night’s scheduled game will be valid for the doubleheader. If you had tickets for today’s game, you can’t use them tomorrow. The Yankees say you can exchange them for tickets to another regular season game at any point from now through the end of 2018.

I assume Luis Severino (today’s scheduled starter) and Masahiro Tanaka (tomorrow’s scheduled starter) will start the two games tomorrow. The Yankees have yet another off-day Monday, so the doubleheader won’t mess with the rotation. They’ll be able to keep everyone on turn going forward. No need to call up a spot starter or anything like that.

As far as I can tell, the Yankees and Astros will be able to call up a 26th man for the doubleheader. The rulebook says teams can add the 26th man “as long as the second game was scheduled at least 48 hours in advance.” Tomorrow night’s game was the regularly scheduled game. I think that means they’ll have the 26th man.

The ten-day rule doesn’t apply to the 26th man, so the Yankees could call up Chad Green even though he was sent down Thursday. Green is scheduled to start for Triple-A Scranton today, so if he doesn’t make that start, we’ll know he’s coming up. Bryan Mitchell and Luis Cessa started the last two days and won’t be called up because they can’t pitch for a few days.

Other potential 40-man roster call-up candidates include Ben Heller, Mason Williams, and Rob Refsnyder. The Yankees do have an open 40-man roster spot, so I suppose they could add someone like Tyler Webb or Joe Mantiply for the day. I’d bet against it though. We’ll see. I’m not even sure they’ll have the 26th man anyway.

The Yankees also have a doubleheader scheduled for July 16th against the Red Sox. They last played a doubleheader back in September 2015, when they were swept by the Blue Jays. The Yankees got steamrolled by Toronto in the second half that year. Hopefully tomorrow’s doubleheader goes a bit better.

Report: Derek Jeter part of ownership group with deal to buy Marlins for $1.3 billion

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

It looks like Derek Jeter‘s dream of being an owner is coming true. According to Barry Jackson, Jeter is part of an ownership group that has agreed in principle to purchase the Miami Marlins from Jeffrey Loria for $1.3 billion. There are still some details to work through, plus MLB and the other owners have to give approval, so the sale is not final.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is leading the ownership group and will be the “control person” while Jeter will have an “active role” with the franchise, according to Jackson. Sounds like a Magic Johnson situation. The Guggenheim Partners own controlling interest in the Dodgers, but Johnson owns a piece and is basically the face of the ownership group.

Loria has been looking to sell the team for months now and at one point reportedly had a $1.6 billion handshake agreement in place, but that fell apart due to political reasons. Loria purchased the Marlins for $158.5M back in 2002. He sold the Expos to MLB and bought the Marlins from John Henry, who then bought the Red Sox. It was essentially three sales at once.

Jeter has made it no secret he wants to one day own a team, and while he won’t have controlling interest in the Marlins, he has a piece of the pie. I have to say, I always figured Alex Rodriguez would buy into the Marlins. Not Jeter. The team is right in A-Rod‘s backyard. A-Rod buys the Marlins and Jeter buys the Rays. That’s how it’s supposed to work!

In all seriousness, it’s going to be kinda weird seeing the Cap’n promoting the Marlins, huh? What if he throws a ceremonial first pitch in a Marlins jersey? That’s going to be weird. I’m sure Hal Steinbrenner will love cutting Jeter and the Marlins a revenue sharing check too. That won’t be awkward at all.

Tonight’s game rained out, doubleheader set for July 16th

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Another night with no Yankees baseball. Tonight’s series opener at Fenway Park has been postponed due to inclement weather, the Red Sox announced. The game will be made up as part of a split admission doubleheader on Sunday, July 16th. That’s the Sunday after the All-Star break. The games will start at 1pm ET and 8pm ET.

The weather forecast in Boston is pretty terrible — it’s supposed to rain nonstop from now right through tomorrow afternoon, basically — and the next two days won’t be much better, but those games should at least be playable. Between off-days and the postponement, the Yankees have played three games in the last six days.

As far as the Yankees are concerned, the postponement is good news because this means they will play one fewer game without Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius. The Yankees have played well in the super early going this season, but I’d still rather see them at full strength for as many games as possible. This rainout helps.

Neither team has announced their pitching plans for the next two days, though I assume both clubs will simply push everyone back. That means Luis Severino vs. Rick Porcello on Wednesday night, and Masahiro Tanaka vs. Chris Sale on Thursday night. We’ll see what the teams say, but that seems simple enough, right?

I do believe this is the Yankees’ first weather delay of any kind this season. It’s definitely the first postponement. I’m pretty sure we haven’t even seen the tarp for an in-game delay yet. Anyway, this is now six off-days in the first 24 games of the season for the Yankees. Not enough baseball!

Quick Postgame Notes: Sanchez, Montgomery, Shreve

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees announced some news following this afternoon’s win over the Rays. A quick recap:

  • Sanchez out four weeks. Gary Sanchez will miss four weeks with a Grade I strain of his brachialis muscle. That’s the muscle behind the biceps. Girardi clarified that the Yankees expect Sanchez to be back in the big leagues in four weeks, not just starting baseball activity.
  • Montgomery to debut Wednesday. Jordan Montgomery will start Wednesday’s game and make his big league debut. Girardi said they’re doing that specifically to give Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia an extra day of rest. Luis Severino will pitch Thursday instead.
  • Shreve sent down. The Yankees optioned Chasen Shreve to Triple-A Scranton following today’s game. That clears a 25-man roster spot for Montgomery. They still need to clear a 40-man spot. That might not happen until Wednesday.

So good news and bad news. Yay for Montgomery, boo for the Sanchez injury. All things considered though, four weeks for Sanchez isn’t terrible. The way he grimaced in pain Saturday had me thinking it was a serious shoulder problem.