Thoughts following the Spring Training off-day

The Board of Trustees. (Presswire)
The Board of Trustees. (Presswire)

The Yankees had their first Spring Training off-day yesterday. They’ll jump back into Grapefruit League play with a game against the Red Sox later tonight. That will in no way be blown out of proportion, I’m sure. Anyway, I have some thoughts.

1. We’ve reached the dog days of March. The novelty of baseball being back has worn off and most of the top prospects have been reassigned to minor league camp. Now we’re just going to watch a bunch of big league players go through the motions and get ready for the upcoming season, which can be rather tedious. The grind has officially begun. Spring Training is too long — Eno Sarris (subs. req’d) spoke to a bunch of players (and non-players) and most agree Spring Training could be shorter — but it’s long out of necessity. Starting pitchers need time to get stretched out and it’s also good for players to have a chance to heal up from any nagging spring injuries. Twenty days to Opening Day. It’s so close and yet it feels so far away.

2. I’m not surprised the Yankees pulled the plug on Starlin Castro at third base, but I am surprised they ended the experiment so soon. He never did appear in a game at the hot corner. All he did was take some grounders at third during infield practice. This makes me wonder if Castro needs more work at second base than the Yankees realized. He is new to the position, so it would be completely understandable. Castro couldn’t have possibly learned all the nuances of second base in the 258 innings he played at the position last year. I’m guessing the third base experiment is on hiatus and not over completely — what are the chances we hear about Starlin possibly playing third next spring? 98%? — but clearly the Yankees weren’t comfortable moving forward with it at this time. That seems like a smart move. Asking Castro to learn his second new position within an eight-month span could have been overwhelming.

3. It’s still possible the Yankees will go outside the organization for a backup third baseman — I could totally see a shuttle reliever for an out of options infielder trade going down on, like, April 3rd — but right now things are looking pretty good for Rob Refsnyder in terms of making the team. He’s actually played more innings at third base (23) than second (17) this spring, and only Chase Headley (33) and Deibinson Romero (24) have played more innings at the hot corner in Grapefruit League games. (Romero was reassigned to minor league camp Sunday.) There’s still enough time for someone like Pete Kozma or Ronald Torreyes to win a bench job, though they do seem to be long shots. Refsnyder looks like the guy right now. Kinda weird how the Yankees steadfastly refused to call up Refsnyder last summer despite Stephen Drew‘s long periods of nothing, yet now had him change positions as a way to improve his chances of being on the Opening Day roster.

Sanchez. (Presswire)
Sanchez. (Presswire)

4. Right now I think the backup catcher race is advantage Austin Romine. Joe Girardi has all but dismissed Carlos Corporan as a candidate, which surprised me, leaving Romine and Gary Sanchez. They’ve played the exact same number of innings behind the plate (26) but Romine has stood out more offensively, which he was going to have to do to win a roster spot. Sanchez literally doesn’t have a hit yet; he’s 0-for-10 with three walks and a strikeout. Romine is 5-for-14 (.357) with three doubles. In a way, Sanchez is making this easy for the Yankees. Five weeks in the minors delays his free agency another year, and sending him down to gain that extra year of team control would have been weird had he mashed in camp. I don’t think the Yankees care too much about fan backlash or things like that, but at least now they can say they want Sanchez to play everyday so he can continue to work on things in Triple-A and have it be totally believable. Saying that when a guy hits .350 in camp is a little tougher to believe. We’ll see. Lots of Spring Training left.

5. Jacob Lindgren was both the first 40-man roster player and first bullpen shuttle reliever to be reassigned to minor league camp this spring, and depending on how you want to look at it, the move could be telling or nothing at all. Lindgren is coming off elbow surgery, so the Yankees may want him to take it slow in minor league camp, where he won’t experience the same pressure to win a roster spot. At the same time, non-roster guys like Diego Moreno, Richard Bleier, and Tyler Cloyd are still in big league camp, and whatever innings they throw are innings Lindgren could be throwing. It’s not like those guys are serious candidates to make the Opening Day roster. Lindgren’s overall Grapefruit League numbers are ugly — he had one disaster appearance followed by two scoreless innings — but I don’t think the stats had anything to do it. Lots of guys have hideous numbers right now. I think sending him out was simply an indication the Yankees don’t believe Lindgren is ready to help at the big league level right now. Relievers can get by with bad command — none of the big three relievers have even average command — but they usually can’t get by with bad control, and right now Lindgren has bad control. He has to work on that.

6. My most recent Opening Day bullpen prediction has already been blown up with Lindgren being sent out. So much for that. We know Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances will get two of the seven bullpen spots, and Ivan Nova will get one of the others as long as the five starters ahead of him stay healthy. Right now I have those four remaining bullpen spots going to Chasen Shreve, Bryan Mitchell, Nick Rumbelow, and Branden Pinder. Pinder replaces Lindgren from my original projection and gets the spot over Nick Goody and Johnny Barbato, mostly based on seniority. He threw the most innings and had the most up-and-down trips among the shuttle guys last year. Nova and Mitchell give the Yankees two long men, which will come in handy early in the season as the Yankees ease their starters into things. Shreve is pretty much a lock at this point thanks to his excellent Grapefruit League showing and overall body of work last year. The Rumbelow and Pinder spots are shuttle spots. They might be on the Opening Day roster, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stick around very long. Besides, one is keeping the seat warm for Aroldis Chapman. The bullpen competition will be a year long adventure.

Open Thread: March 14th Camp Notes

The Yankees had an off-day today and it was a true off-day. No workouts at the complex or anything. It was a day for everyone to recharge the batteries. Make sure you check out this Billy Witz article on Alex Rodriguez, who is turning into a modern day Yogi Berra thanks to his way with words. And then make sure you check out Jared Diamond’s article on A-Rod‘s Twitter skills. Pretty great. Here are some notes:

  • RHP Vicente Campos has been optioned to High-A Tampa, the Yankees announced. There are now 52 players in big league camp. Campos will continue to work as a starting pitcher this year.
  • Greg Bird was scheduled to go for a routine checkup on his shoulder today. His rehab is going well, though right now he’s not doing much more than moving his arm around to regain range of motion. [Chad Jennings]
  • Brian McCann, who took that foul tip to the knee yesterday, probably won’t make the trip to Fort Myers tomorrow. Dustin Ackley is scheduled to make the trip, however. He was dealing with a tight quad over the weekend. [Mark Feinsand]
  • A-Rod, Mark Teixeira, Aaron Hicks, and Aaron Judge will also make the trip tomorrow, when the Yankees play their first night game of the spring. Ivan Nova will get the start and the game will be televised.

This is tonight’s open thread. MLB Network is showing the Giants and Athletics live later tonight, plus the Islanders and Devils are both playing as well. Talk about any of that stuff or anything else here. Just not politics or religion. Take that elsewhere.

Minor League Notes: Workout Groups, Judge, Sanchez

Sanchez. (Presswire)
Sanchez. (Presswire)

The Yankees have an off-day today, so here are a bunch of minor league links and notes to help you pass the time this afternoon.

Minor league workout groups

Chad Jennings posted the Spring Training workout groups over in minor league camp, if you’re interested. Keep in mind these are not season assignments. LHP Ian Clarkin will not open 2016 with Triple-A Scranton even though that’s his workout group, for example. Farm system head Gary Denbo told Jennings both RHP Ty Hensley and RHP Austin DeCarr are doing well in their rehab from Tommy John surgery. The team also intends to start C Luis Torrens with Low-A Charleston, which I figured after catching guru Michel Hernandez was moved to that level. Torrens is supposedly all the way back from labrum surgery.

Judge, Rowson discuss mechanical changes

Earlier this month, OF Aaron Judge and minor league hitting coordinator James Rowson confirmed to Brendan Kuty Judge did indeed make some mechanical changes to his swing over the winter. We noticed the changes in the very first Grapefruit League game. Here’s the GIF (2015 on the left, 2016 on the right):

Aaron Judge 2015 vs 2016

The bigger leg kick is most noticeable, but Judge also moved his hands away from his body a bit and raised the bat so it’s no longer parallel to the ground. Rowson told Kuty the changes were Judge’s idea, though the team’s coaches and instructors helped along the way over the winter. “We just talked about what we thought was good and what wasn’t. Once we got to talking about that, we said, ‘Let’s go out and put it together,'” said Rowson.

Judge was reassigned to minor league camp over the weekend, which was not surprising at all. He had close to zero chance to make the Opening Day roster and it’s time for everyone to start getting more at-bats to prepare for the season, minor leaguers included. The Yankees have enough upper level outfield depth that Judge could end up getting 500 plate appearances in Triple-A, so he’ll have time to work on his new mechanics and adjust to those outside pitches that gave him so much trouble a year ago.

Sanchez among Baseball America’s top 2016 rookies

Baseball America’s John Manuel (no subs. req’d) put together a list of the top 20 rookies for the 2016 season. This is different than a top prospects list because not every top prospect is big league ready. These are the guys who will play in MLB this year. Dodgers SS Corey Seager sits in the top spot with Twins OF Byron Buxton and Dodgers RHP Kenta Maeda rounding out the top three.

C Gary Sanchez ranks 18th, with playing time the obvious question. How much will he play behind Brian McCann? “Sanchez has the plus arm and plus power teams look for in backup catchers, and his righthanded bat complements lefthanded-hitting veteran starter Brian McCann well,” said the write-up. I’m not sure Sanchez will even make the Opening Day roster at this point, but I’m sure we’ll see him at some point this summer anyway.

Vidal, Valle among those on WBC qualifying rosters

The 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers No. 2 and 3 will take place this weekend in Mexico and Panama, respectively. The winner of each four-team, six-game tournament gets a spot in the 2017 WBC. Germany, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the Czech Republic are playing in Mexico while Colombia, France, Panama, and Spain are playing in Panama. Australia won Qualifier No. 1 a few weeks ago and Qualifier No. 4 (Brazil, Great Britain, Israel, Pakistan) will take place in September in Brooklyn.

The Yankees have four players on rosters for the two qualifiers this weekend, according to Baseball America: C Sebastian Valle (Mexico), RHP Gio Gallegos (Mexico), OF Carlos Vidal (Colombia), and RHP Jonathan Loaisiga (Nicaragua). Vidal is the best prospect of the bunch and he has a good chance to start for Nicaragua. Valle was reassigned to minor league camp over the weekend. Loaisiga is a 21-year-old righty the Yankees scooped up as a minor league free agent this winter. Those four guys will be spending a few days away from camp next week.

Yankees release Arias, sign Jamison

The Yankees have released 3B Gian Arias and signed RHP Preston Jamison to a minor league deal, reports Matt Eddy. Arias, 24, has not actually played since 2011 for whatever reason. He hit .242/.377/.322 with six homers in 178 Dominican Summer League games from 2009-11. The Yankees gave Arias a $950,000 bonus back in the day, so he was a pretty significant prospect at one point. Alas.

Jamison, 23, was a 30th round pick by the Tigers in 2012. He had a 5.73 ERA (4.97 FIP) with a 16.0% strikeout rate and a 13.0 % walk rate in 66 mostly rookie ball innings from 2012-13 before being released. Jamison hasn’t pitched since, but he’s a 6-foot-6 lefty, so he’s right up the Yankees’ alley. I’m guessing he must have shown some nice velocity during a recent workout or something.

The Yankees keep saying CC Sabathia is not a lock for the rotation, but I don’t believe them

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Yesterday afternoon, in his second start of the spring, CC Sabathia was roughed up for three runs (two earned) on five hits, a walk, and a hit batsman in only 1.2 innings of work. His defense didn’t help matters — Sabathia himself made an error on a would-be inning-ending tapper back to the mound, then the inning snowballed — but there was still a lot of loud contact and two-strike foul balls.

It’s only Spring Training, so the actual results don’t hurt the team in any way. It was still discouraging to see Sabathia have the same problems — long at-bats, loud contact, inability to handle righties — that have plagued him the last two or three years. “I’m 35 years old. I’ve thrown a lot. We’re here trying to win, so it is what it is,” he said to Mark Feinsand after the game. “I’m just going out and getting work, getting ready. We’ll see what happens.”

Following the game Joe Girardi was inevitably asked whether Sabathia has a rotation spot locked up, and Girardi gave the same answer he gave all winter: “We’re going to take what we feel is the five best. Bottom line,” he said. If nothing else, that gives off the impression Sabathia is not guaranteed a rotation spot. Spring competition is a good thing, even among veterans. I just don’t buy it at all. Not for a second. For a few reasons.

Sabathia wasn’t one of their five best starters last year

It was pretty clear Sabathia was not one of the Yankees’ five best starters last season, yet when the time came to make room for Ivan Nova, it was Adam Warren who went to the bullpen. Warren is gone, meaning there’s even less competition for the fifth starter’s spot. It’s Sabathia vs. Nova, and Sabathia was better last season. Better ERA (4.73 to 5.07), better FIP (4.68 to 4.87), better strikeout rate (18.9% to 15.3%), better walk rate (6.9% to 8.0%).

There’s always a chance Nova’s performance will improve as he gets further away from Tommy John surgery. That’s the hope, anyway. At the same time, the Yankees and everyone else have expressed confidence in Sabathia’s new knee brace, especially since he pitched so well late last season. Point is, the Yankees showed last season they’re willing to stick with Sabathia. Actions speak louder than words, and when they needed to open a rotation spot last year, they sent a more effective pitcher to the bullpen and kept running Sabathia out there every fifth day.

Sabathia might actually be one of their five best starters this year

Here’s a not so fun twist: Sabathia just might be one of the five best starters in the organization right now. ZiPS prefers Nova to Sabathia (0.9 to 0.2 WAR), but both Steamer (1.6 to 0.8 WAR) and PECOTA (0.9 to 0.5 WARP) prefer Sabathia. And again, Sabathia out-pitched Nova last year, and Warren is no longer around as proven depth. Bryan Mitchell is likely next in line for a rotation spot. You don’t have to try real hard to envision a scenario in which Sabathia out-pitches both Nova and Mitchell in 2016.

$25M

That’s how much the Yankees owe Sabathia this season. That’s not reliever money. It’s ace starter money, and while Sabathia is no longer an ace, not too many owners would be happen marginalizing a player with that kind of salary. I’m sure the money was part of the reason Sabathia remained in the rotation last year. The Yankees want to get their money’s worth.

If nothing else, the money is a tiebreaker. When the final rotation spot comes down to one guy making $25M and another guy making $4.1M (Nova), and you’re not confident in either being even league average, the dude making $25M is going to get the job. Sabathia is a sunk cost. The Yankees owe him that money no matter what, but chances are they’re going to want to try to salvage the investment as much as possible.

The Yankees don’t base major decisions on Spring Training

I can’t remember the last time the Yankees based a major decision on Spring Training. They’ll use it to sort out bench spots or the final few bullpen spots, that sort of thing, but a major decision like a rotation spot? Nope. They tend to go into Spring Training with everything planned out and adjust only if necessary due to injury or a trade, something like that.

That’s smart. Spring Training is a terrible time to make decisions. We see it each and every year. A player comes in, wins a roster spot with a strong showing in March, then reverts back to his previous self in the regular season. The reverse is true as well. A player struggles in camp then rights the ship in the regular season. There are way too many variables in Spring Training — sample size, the caliber of competition, players working on things, etc. — to take performance seriously.

The Yankees have a history of saying a spot is up for grabs when it really isn’t, and this feels exactly like that. Girardi saying they’re “going to take what we feel is the five best” is as much about motivating Nova as it is letting Sabathia know they need him to pitch better. In the end, everything the Yankees have done the last few years points to Sabathia getting a rotation spot over Nova. The only way I see CC not being in the rotation this summer is injury.

The Latest New Closer [2016 Season Preview]

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees made a controversial trade this past offseason. It wasn’t controversial from a talent standpoint. In fact, this might the only trade during the RAB era in which everyone agrees the Yankees made out like bandits in terms of the talent exchanged. That never happens. Usually more than few folks are happy to say New York got fleeced. Not this time.

The trade: prospects Eric Jagielo, Rookie Davis, Caleb Cotham, and Tony Renda to the Reds for closer Aroldis Chapman. It’s a four-for-one swap that is essentially a two-for-one swap because Jagielo and Davis were the only actual prospects involved, though neither appeared on any of the top 100 lists published this spring. Cotham is a 28-year-old rookie and Renda went unpicked in December’s Rule 5 Draft.

The Yankees were able to acquire Chapman on the cheap because of a domestic dispute incident at his Miami home in October. Chapman had been traded to the Dodgers at the Winter Meetings — the two sides agreed to the deal — but Los Angeles walked away once the details of the incident came to light. Chapman allegedly choked and pushed his girlfriend, and he admitted to firing eight shots from a handgun in his garage.

The trade came with instant backlash. Brian Cashman admitted the Yankees made the deal because the Reds lowered their asking price after reports of the incident surfaced, so the team used a domestic violence investigation to benefit on the field, which is gross as hell. I hope they never ever ever do it again. Several women’s rights groups protested the trade and New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said the team should be boycotted.

People were (and still are, really) mad and it’s not difficult to understand why. Chapman was not arrested, but the allegations were ugly, and the possibility of a suspension loomed. Ultimately, no criminal charges were filed against Chapman and MLB suspended him 30 games under their new domestic violence policy. He agreed not to appeal the ban, likely because MLB threatened a longer suspension, which could have delayed his free agency.

Now that the investigations are complete and the suspension has been levied, Chapman and the Yankees can move forward and focus on baseball. They’ll have to come up with a plan to make sure he’s ready as soon as the suspension ends, though that shouldn’t be a huge deal. Chapman can pitch in Extended Spring Training games in the meantime. It’s not like he’s a hitter who needs to get his rhythm or a starter who has to get stretched out.

The addition of Chapman adds another elite reliever to a bullpen that already had two of them in Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. In fact, Betances, Chapman, and Miller rank first, sixth, and ninth in projected 2016 WAR among relievers according to ZiPS, respectively. Three top nine relievers is pretty awesome, especially since it could easily end up being three top five relievers. These guys are that good. Anyway, here’s some more on Chapman.

Chapman Is Insanely Good

There seem to be a lot of people trying to minimize Chapman’s impact for whatever reason. The Yankees went 66-3 when leading after six innings last summer and that’s really good. It’s a .957 winning percentage when the league average was .882. It’s also totally irrelevant. Last year is last year. This is a new year. The odds of the Yankees repeating a .950+ winning percentage when leading after seven this summer are substantially higher with Chapman on board.

Last season Chapman had a 1.63 ERA (1.94 FIP) with a 41.7% strikeout rate in 66.1 innings and it was only his third best season in the last four years. Chapman is replacing Justin Wilson in Joe Girardi‘s end-game trio and Wilson was very good last season. The Yankees don’t get to the postseason without him. Here is Chapman vs. Wilson:

Justin Wilson Aroldis ChapmanChapman was a lot better than Wilson last season and he projects to be a lot better than him this season. You needn’t look at the projection systems to understand Chapman is an upgrade. He’s a significant addition to the bullpen. That isn’t the say Wilson wasn’t good last year or won’t be good this year. It’s just that any objective measure tells you Chapman will be better.

There is a lot more to Chapman than his high-octane fastball. He’s got a good slider and a sneaky good changeup — hitters swung and missed 56.8% (!) of the time against his changeup last year — and his long stride makes his triple digit fastball play up. Chapman is a true freak of nature. Baseball has never seen anything like this guy before. It’s going to be a treat to watch him on the field this summer.

Another New Closer

Girardi announced Chapman will indeed close this season — Miller will close during the suspension, because duh — which isn’t surprising. Chapman has done nothing but close the last four years while Betances has proven invaluable as a fireman and Miller continues to express a willingness to pitch in any role. There’s no wrong answer here. Any of the three could close and would be awesome at it.

So, with Chapman set to close this year, the Yankees are about to have their fifth different closer in the last five years. Hard to believe after nearly two decades of Mariano Rivera, ain’t it? Check out the list:

2012: Rafael Soriano (while Mo was hurt)
2013: Rivera
2014: David Robertson
2015: Miller
2016: Chapman

That’s not just five different closers in five years, it’s five awesome closers in five years. Robertson probably had the worst season of a Yankees closer from 2012-15 and he had a 3.08 ERA (2.68 FIP). Most teams would kill to have a closer that good. That was New York’s worst closer in a very, very long time.

The crazy thing is this is almost all by design. Rivera’s injury was a dumb fluke, but otherwise going from Mo to Robertson to Miller to Chapman was all planned. It’s not like the Yankees had someone stink as closer and lose his job to someone else, which happens all around the league each year. Chapman will be the team’s fifth closer in five years and in no way is that a bad thing.

One & Done

All indications are Chapman will be a Yankee for one year and one year only. He will qualify for free agency after the season and the team doesn’t spend money these days, at least not on long-term deals. Chapman will have a chance to break Jonathan Papelbon’s record contract for a reliever (four years, $50M) next winter. I can’t imagine the Yankees will go there, especially not with one big money reliever already on the books.

The Yankees will be able to make Chapman the qualifying offer after the season and I think the only way they don’t tender the qualifying offer is catastrophic injury. A blown elbow or shoulder, something that will sideline him the entire 2017 season. That sort of thing. Even with a down year, I think the Yankees would be willing to roll the dice with a qualifying offer. Worst case scenario is they get Chapman back on a one-year contract in 2017. The big salary doesn’t scare them, it’s the multiple years.

So, barring injury, this trade will likely net the Yankees one year of Chapman (well, 132 games of Chapman) plus a supplemental first round draft pick after the season. That’s a pretty great return considering they gave up two good but not great prospects and no one off their big league roster. The Yankees took a massive PR hit with this trade. Hopefully Chapman’s on-field performance makes it all worth it.

Fan Confidence Poll: March 14th, 2016

Spring Record: 3-8-2 (45 RS, 62 RA)
Spring Opponents This Week: Mon. OFF, @ Red Sox (Tues. on TV), vs. Blue Jays (Weds. on TV), @ Pirates (Thurs. on TV), vs. Orioles (Fri. on TV), vs. Braves (Sat.), @ Twins (Sun. on TV)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the Features tab in the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Open Thread: March 13th Camp Notes

The Yankees lost 3-0 to the Phillies this afternoon. CC Sabathia allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and one walk in 1.2 innings. One scout told Erik Boland Sabathia was 86-89 mph and his “breaking ball (was) not playing at all against right-handed hitters”. That’s nothing new. Michael Pineda allowed one hit and one walk in three scoreless innings. He struck out four. Dellin Betances struck out the only man he faced and Aroldis Chapman struck out three in his scoreless inning.

Starlin Castro had two of the team’s five hits. Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius, and Carlos Corporan had the other three. The Yankees made five errors as a team (Sabathia, Castro, Chapman, Aaron Hicks, Dustin Fowler) and all but Fowler’s were pretty hilarious. Joe Girardi let everyone sleep in today because of daylight savings time says Jared Diamond, and geez, it was obvious on the field. Lots of sloppy defense and lackadaisical play in general. Everyone was looking forward to tomorrow’s off-day, I guess. Here’s the box score, here are the video highlights, and here are the day’s notes from Tampa:

  • The Yankees announced their first round of roster cuts after the game: LHP Jacob Lindgren was optioned to Triple-A Scranton and RHP Domingo German, RHP Chad Green, RHP Kyle Haynes, RHP James Kaprielian, RHP Brady Lail, C Santiago Nessy, LHP Tyler Webb, C Francisco Diaz, C Kyle Higashioka, C Sebastian Valle, IF Jorge Mateo, IF Deibinson Romero, IF Tyler Wade, OF Lane Adams, OF Aaron Judge, and OF Dustin Fowler were all reassigned to minor league camp. Lindgren is the only real surprise. There are still 53 players in big league camp.
  • Brian McCann was removed from this afternoon’s game for precautionary reasons after taking a foul pitch just above the knee cap. It stiffened up a bit afterwards. McCann said he would have remained in the game if it were the regular season during an in-game interview. [Jack Curry]
  • Brett Gardner (wrist) took nine at-bats in a simulated game and everything went well. The Yankees are going to see how he feels tomorrow before finalizing any plans, but right now Gardner is tentative scheduled to play in his first spring game Wednesday. [Bryan Hoch, Curry]
  • Tomorrow is the first off-day of the Grapefruit League season and it’s a full off-day. No workouts or anything scheduled. The Yankees play their first night game of the spring Tuesday. Ivan Nova gets the start and the game will be televised.

This is tonight’s open thread. This afternoon’s game will be replayed on YES after tonight’s Nets game, so figure it should start around 11pm ET or so. MLB Network is showing the Rangers and Angels live right now, then there will be games on tape delay the rest of the night. Both the Knicks and Nets are playing later tonight and there’s some college hoops on the schedule too. Talk about anything other than religion or politics here. Thanks in advance.