Category Archives: Yankees

What the Balance of Power Looks Like in the AL East after the JD Martinez Signing

After months of negotiations, the best hitter on the free agent market has finally signed. JD Martinez signed with the Red Sox today, as expected, for 5 years and $110 million. Martinez signed for less than the 5 years/$125 million that was previously rumored to be on the table, and far less than the 7 years/$210 million that agent Scott Boras claimed he was seeking. Martinez is coming off a career year in which he hit .303 with 45 HR and 104 RBI for the Tigers and Diamondbacks. While he may not be as flashy of a name as Giancarlo Stanton, Martinez is definitely a huge addition to the Sox lineup that was desperate for a power hitter.

The real question is, does this shift the Red Sox back to the favorites in the AL East? If not, how much does this move close the gap between them and the Yankees? Despite both teams adding two of the game’s top power hitters, these moves are completely different. The Yankees added on to their biggest strength, their powerful lineup. The Red Sox addressed their biggest need, a lineup that was starved of power. The Yankees actually led the majors in home runs last year, while the Red Sox ranked 27th.

In a division decided by only two games in 2017, who is the favorite going into 2018? The gap between these two teams and the rest of the division is still too wide to consider the Rays, Orioles, or Blue Jays division contenders, in my opinion. So we’ll just compare the Yanks and the Sox and see where they stand in terms of chances of winning the division.


Prior to the Martinez signing, I would’ve given this to the Yankees without question. But adding a player of his caliber definitely opens up the debate. Like the Yankees, most of the Red Sox’ meat of the order guys come from their outfield/DH spots, in the form of Martinez, left fielder Andrew Benintendi and right fielder Mookie Betts. Betts had a down year in 2017, hitting only .264 after a .318 year in 2016. He’s still a stud on both sides of the ball, but he doesn’t scare me nearly as much as Benintendi. I personally think that guy is gonna be an absolute star, and he would’ve been an easy Rookie of the Year choice if not for Aaron Judge’s historic season. Benintendi is what you could call a “Yankee killer”, and third baseman Rafael Devers seems to fall in that category as well (the game-tying homer off Chapman in the ninth is still tough to watch.) In addition to Devers, the infield is comprised of All-Stars Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia, as well as first baseman Mitch Moreland. Bogaerts, like Betts, had a strong 2016 but really regressed in 2017. Bogaerts vs. Yankee shortstop Didi Gregorious was an interesting debate going into 2017 until Didi’s career year that made him the obvious choice. It will be interesting to see if Bogaerts can make that a discussion again. Don’t get me started on Pedroia, he’s the guy I’ve hated the most for a long time, especially considering he’s won an MVP and Jeter never did. He’s not a guy that’s really gonna scare you when he’s at the plate, but he’s a scrappy guy with a .300 career average that’s gonna help you win games. Moreland is a nice player over at first, a guy who won’t hit for average but can give you some solid power numbers. Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon handle the catching duties, neither of whom are super imposing at the plate but do a solid job.

The Yankees boast Judge and Stanton in the outfield, the last pair of teammates to have both hit 50 homers in a season since Mantle and Maris. Hopefully Stanton can help Judge cut down on the strikeouts, something he has done a good job of himself over the last few seasons. The keys for these two will be Judge staying out of deep slumps like the one he got into in 2017, and Stanton staying healthy. Brett Gardner will play left field and bat leadoff, and while he won’t steal as many bases as he used to, he is fantastic at working counts and getting on base. Aaron Hicks is somewhat of an X-factor to this lineup, as he was All-Star caliber before he got hurt and less than stellar once he got back last year. Regardless of how he is at the plate, Hicks is quietly one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball.

Hopefully he can perform at the plate, as it’s possible the Yanks could turn to Clint Frazier or even Jacoby Ellsbury *gasp* if Hicks isn’t the hitter he was a year ago. The infield is extremely interesting for the Yanks, as it includes two rookies, Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres. Andujar has raked in the minors, but there have been concerns about his defense. As of now, he figures to be the opening day third baseman for the Yanks. Torres will likely spend the first month in AAA before getting promoted to the bigs so the Yanks can gain an extra year of his service time, as the Cubs did with Kris Bryant when he was coming up. Torres is supposed to be one of the best prospects in baseball, and if he lives up to the hype, could be an absolutely electric addition to the lineup. Shortstop Didi Gregorious returns after a career year that included postseason heroics like his game-tying home run in the Wild Card Game, or taking Corey Kluber deep twice in the decisive ALDS Game 5. First baseman Greg Bird looks to reach his full potential after a 2017 season that includes a disastrous 6-60 start, months on the disabled list, and a promising September/playoff stretch. At catcher, Gary Sanchez is one of the team’s most important players. Although he’s been somewhat overshadowed by Judge and Stanton, Sanchez may legitimately be the best hitter on the team. His rocket arm makes him a huge threat to throw out stealing baserunners, and hopefully the weight he lost will help him improve his ability to block balls in the dirt, which was a huge problem last year.

Conclusion: The Red Sox have a deep lineup. A good lineup. But the Yankees simply have too many guys that are not just good hitters, but great hitters. The Red Sox definitely have significant advantages and second and third base right now since you don’t really know what you’re gonna get from Torres and Andujar, but if they live up to their hype that gap wouldn’t be too wide. Sanchez is the clear cut choice at catcher, Didi is better than Bogaerts, Bird at his best is better than Moreland, and I’ll take Judge/Stanton/Gardner/Hicks as my outfield/DH over Martinez/Benintendi/Betts/Bradley any day.

Advantage: Yankees

Starting Pitching

The Red Sox staff is anchored by the best starting pitcher in the American League in lefty ace Chris Sale. I know he wasn’t great in the playoffs last year, but there’s no denying the guy is absolutely filthy. If I was picking a team to make a one-year run at the World Series and I needed a starting pitcher, Sale is probably the first guy I pick not named Clayton Kershaw. I’d consider Max Scherzer or Noah Syndergaard too, but point is Sale is a beast. David Price is an interesting guy at the #2 spot in the rotation. Sure, we’ve seen him perform as one of the best pitchers in the league in the past. But his time in Boston has been riddled with elbow troubles, trouble with the Boston media, and overall sub-par performance. That being said, he still has the ability to shut down any lineup on any given night, as he did to the Yanks on Sunday Night Baseball last year. Rick Porcello followed up his 2016 Cy Young Season with a horrid 11-17, 4.65 ERA 2017. It will be interesting to see which Porcello we get in 2018. Drew Pomeranz quietly had a great 2017 season, going 17-6 with a 3.32 ERA. For a middle of the rotation guy, he is more than solid. Veteran knuckleballer Steven Wright figures to be the 5th starter, although offseason domestic violence charges could come into play there.

The Yanks staff is led by young ace Luis Severino, whose breakout 2017 netted him a third place finish in the AL Cy Young vote, behind Kluber and Sale. However, he has a lot to prove in 2018, coming off of the most innings he’s ever thrown, to prove this was no fluke. He’s followed by Masahiro Tanaka, who had an interesting 2017 to say the least. From shutting out the Sox at Fenway during his early season dominance, to basically forgetting how to pitch for a few months, seemingly getting shelled every time out, until he finally put it back together again for September and the playoffs, you simply don’t know what you’re gonna get from Tanaka. Veteran CC Sabathia returns after a solid 2017 that included a great playoffs, and lefty Jordan Montgomery figures to project as the 5th starter following a solid rookie campaign. The X-Factor of this staff, however, is Sonny Gray. He was good for the Yanks last year after coming over from Oakland in the deadline, but not great. Will he step up to be the ace-potential guy the Yankees thought he could be when they traded three top prospects for him, or will he continue to be a middle of the rotation starter? To me, that’s a huge question regarding not only the Yankees’ division chances, but their title hopes.

Conclusion: These staffs are both interesting. They both boast Cy Young caliber aces (Sale and Severino), and guys who are All-Stars at their best, but pretty bad at their worst (Price, Porcello, Tanaka, Gray). But, considering the Sox staff is overall more experienced, I feel like they have to get the nod here.

Decision: Red Sox


This one is honestly a no-brainer. Sure, the Sox have one of the best closers in the game in Craig Kimbrel, but who’s in the pen besides him? For as demoralizing as it is to go into the 9th losing to face Kimbrel, who’s the bridge between him and the Sox’ starters? Literally no one. The Red Sox bullpen was a huge weakness all season in 2017, and they didn’t really do anything to upgrade it going into 2018.

The Yankees, however, boast the best bullpen in baseball. Sure, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman make you want to pull your hair out, but when they’re pitching well they’re elite. Chapman was great in the playoffs, and hopefully Betances has figured it out this offseason. Chad Green was quietly one of the best relievers in baseball in 2017, and David Robertson is extremely reliable. Tommy Kahnle finally looked like the stud the Yankees thought they were getting in the playoffs, and Adam Warren is more than capable.

Conclusion: The Yankees have the better bullpen, and it’s not close.

Decision: Yankees

Overall, the Martinez move is a good one for the Sox. It gives them the power hitter they needed. But do I think it makes them better than the Yankees? No shot. I may be biased, but to me, the Yankees have a better lineup, much better bullpen, and a rotation that, if healthy, gives them a fighting chance on any given night. In my mind, as great as I think the Yankees can be, I don’t think they should be the favorites to win the World Series. That’s still the Astros in my mind, no doubt about it. But in the East? On paper, the Yankees are better than the Red Sox. The Indians even scare me more than the Sox do at this point. But baseball is a long season. If what’s on paper really mattered, they wouldn’t play the games. Let’s hope I don’t regret this blog once October rolls around, but I have a feeling this is gonna be a great year for the Bronx Bombers. Opening Day, where you at??

What if the Yankees Had Signed Vlad Guerrero in 2004?

Not only am I a huge Yankee fan, I’m a huge baseball fan. I can admire great players no matter what team they are on, unless it’s the Red Sox which leads to a burning hatred. The one exception being Manny Ramirez, who I obviously hated while he was killing the Yankees at the plate, but how could you not love this guy?

That’s the best This is SportsCenter commercial ever, and there were a lot of great ones. Remember the good old days when ESPN was actually good? As Mr. Walker would say, I digress.

I really started to get into baseball around first or second grade. I was absolutely obsessed with baseball cards, baseball video games, you name it. I could tell you every team’s lineup and pitching rotation off the top of my head, and definitely wasn’t a loser or anything. One of my favorite players at that time was Vladimir Guerrero. This guy was absolutely unreal to watch. First of all, he had a CANNON for an arm

On the other side of the ball, the guy could flat-out hit. He finished with a lifetime .318 average and 449 home runs, so he was as well-rounded hitter as you’ll see. But the most fascinating part of his game to me was always his ability to hit a pitch thrown anywhere, or being a “bad ball hitter.”

How do you pitch to a guy who can literally get hits off of balls in the dirt? Vlad’s ability as a bad ball hitter meant he hardly struck out, averaging only 74 strikeouts per season in his career. By comparison, Aaron Judge had 208 in his sensational rookie season, and even MVP Jose Altuve struck out 84 times despite his .346 batting average.

So back to my original point: Imagine if the Yankees had signed Guerrero? In the offseason prior to the 2004 season, George Steinbrenner was following up the Yankees’ World Series defeat at the hands of the Marlins the same way he always did after a Yankees playoff loss: spending money. The Yanks added the likes Alex Rodriguez, and Gary Sheffield to a lineup that already boasted big bats such as Hideki Matsui, Derek Jeter, and Jorge Posada. Steinbrenner locked up Sheffield with a 3-year, $39 million deal to become the team’s every day right fielder. For just $1 million more per year, the Yankees could have had Vlad instead. That is painful to think about. How much of a difference would Vlad have made? For argument’s sake, let’s just look at 2004.

Sheffield was no slouch for the Yanks in 2004, hitting .290 with 36 HR and 121 RBI. That was good enough for second in that year’s AL MVP voting. Who finished first? I’ll let you guess. Guerrero took home the honors with a .337 average, 39 HR and 126 RBI. I don’t even want to think about what peak A-Rod and peak Vlad in the same lineup would have been like. Call me biased, but it’s hard for me to believe the Yankees let the Red Sox come back in the ’04 ALCS with Vlad in the lineup. But then again, that entire series was wild, and it’s hard to say one player would have changed anything. Add in the fact that Sheffield would only have one more solid season in New York while Vlad would be great the next five years with the Angels, signing Vlad would have also made sense for the Yanks long-term.

Although we never got to see him in Pinstripes, Vlad will always be one of my favorite players of all-time.  Congrats to him and the rest of the MLB Hall of Fame Class of 2018, which also included Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, and Trevor Hoffman. Although all four of these players were greats, to me Vlad stands out in this class. He was more than deserving of being a first ballot Hall of Famer, and anyone who watched him in his prime knows he’s certainly a player they’ll tell their grandkids about.

P.S. Vlad in this game rivals Michael Vick in Madden ’04 for most dominant player in any video game. Any fastball near the strike zone was going for a home run, no doubt about it.

What I Want to See in Sports in 2018

When you look back on 2017, not just what happened in sports but as a whole, I think I speak for everyone when I say the only logical reaction is “what the actual fuck just happened?” Definitely a year to remember, but one you wish you could forget. In terms of sports it was certainly an eventful year for my teams. The Yankees were supposed to miss the playoffs and came up one win short of the World Series, the Giants were supposed to contend for a Super Bowl and ended up with the #2 pick in the draft, the Knicks almost let Phil Jackson trade Porzingis only to fire him a week later, and Rutgers tried. On a day when everyone is making “New Year’s Resolutions,” I made a New Year’s wish list for sports because it’s more fun to ask for things out of your control to happen (no one gives a shit that you swear you’re gonna start going to the gym again Brad, get off Twitter.) Obviously it would be easy/unrealistic to say I want all my teams to win championships, so I got a little more creative with it. Here’s what I hope 2018 has in store in the world of sports.

The Patriots Lose in the Super Bowl

No, I don’t just want the Patriots to not win the Super Bowl. I want them to make it there, and then lose. Why? Because love them or hate them, you can’t deny that the big game is always better when the Pats are in it. Was it horrible to see them win last year in the best comeback/worst collapse in Super Bowl history? Obviously, but you can’t deny that it was an amazing game. Every Super Bowl Tom Brady and company have been in has been extremely entertaining (especially 42 & 46 in my opinion.) Give me Brady throwing a game-ending pick six in overtime or something. Fun for the whole family!

Duke Loses in the Final Four

The same logic applies here as my Patriots argument. I would love to see nothing more than Grayson Allen’s Ted Cruz-looking ass get embarrassed by 40 by North Carolina on national TV. March Madness is the best sporting event there is (don’t @ me), and seeing Duke lose just makes it that much sweeter.

The Mets Pitching Staff Stays Healthy

Hear me out on this one. I’m a Yankee fan, but I would love to see this happen for two reasons. First of all, as a baseball fan, I would love to see what a healthy staff of Syndergaard, DeGrom, Matz, Harvey, Wheeler staff could do in a full season. And second, if they Yankees could still beat the crap out of those guys, it would shut up every annoying Mets fan I know.

The Giants Pick a Franchise-Altering Player

I’m torn on who I want them to take at number two. I love the idea of Saquon Barkley in the backfield, but if you legitimately think Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield could be your next franchise quarterback, how do you pass that up? Knowing the Giants, they could also trade back and take a lineman later on, but they would need to get a substantial return to do that. All I know is that this is hopefully the last time they get a draft pick this high for a long time, so they need to choose wisely.

Rutgers Upsets a Big Ten Team at Home

I’ve wanted to storm the field since I got to Rutgers. Unfortunately, the football team has not exactly done a great job at beating their Big Ten opponents recently, or even losing by a reasonable margin for that matter. But after storming the court after the basketball team beat Seton Hall a few weeks ago, all I know is I need to experience that at High Point Solutions Stadium before I graduate. (The fact that 2018 will be my last go-around of tailgates is like the Sunday Scaries times a million, by the way.)

The Yankees Win the World Series

All right sue me, we came within a game of getting there last year and we just traded for Giancarlo freaking Stanton. You’re damn right I want a World Series this year.

Let’s hope 2018 is a year to remember for the right reasons. All of us here at Below the Belt are ecstatic to bring you another year of average blogs.

Why Greg Bird Will Be One of Baseball’s Most Slept On Players in 2018

The biggest news of the baseball offseason thus far has surely been the Yankees acquiring NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins for pennies on the dollar, giving their already potent lineup another weapon. The Yanks led all teams in the majors in homers last year with 241 home runs, while Stanton won the individual home run race with 59. The last time the team with the most home runs in the previous season added the league home run leader was also the Yankees, when they traded for a guy by the name of Babe Ruth. Not really sure who that is, he doesn’t even have a Twitter so he probably wasn’t even that good. But that is neither here nor there.

The Stanton trade gives the Yankees a modern day “Murderers’ Row” (the nickname of Ruth’s Yankee teams in the 1920s/30s), or as I like to call it, “Murderers’ Row and Toe”, a shoutout to lovable infielder Ronald Torreyes, who as of now projects as a starter for the 2018 Yanks. The names that stand out in the lineup are obviously Stanton, as well as Aaron Judge, the 2017 AL home run leader and Rookie of the Year. Catcher Gary Sanchez also often comes up in discussion, as his first two seasons in pinstripes have been nothing short of great. Even shortstop Didi Gregorious receives a fair amount of attention, and deservedly so after a career year in 2017. Gregorious hit a team-high .287 to go along with 25 home runs, not to mention playoff heroics like his game-tying three run dinger in the Wild Card game vs. the Twins or his two homers off Indians ace Corey Kluber in the decisive ALDS Game 5. But there’s one more power bat in the 2018 Yankees lineup that no one is really talking about, and that’s Greg Bird.

The start of Bird’s career has been interesting to say the least. He broke onto the scene late in 2015, helping the Yankees secure a wild card spot as their everyday first baseman while Mark Teixeira was hurt. Bird hit .261 with 11 homers and 31 RBI in 46 games, including two home runs in his first career start. I was at that game, and it definitely made you excited to think about what a perfect marriage Bird’s sweet lefty swing and Yankee Stadium’s right field short porch could completely be.

After missing all of 2016 with a torn labrum, Bird looked to have a big impact on the 2017 Yankees. With the departure of Teixeira, Bird was to be the team’s new starting first baseman. He absolutely raked in spring training, hitting .451 with 8 homers and 15 RBI in 23 games. Sure, it was spring training, but those numbers are too good to ignore. However, after fouling a ball off his foot late in spring training, Bird appeared to get into a funk. Starting the season as the team’s #3 hitter, Bird started an abysmal 6-60 before going on the DL. The foot injury was somewhat of a mystery, and we weren’t sure if we would see Bird again in 2017. This led to a revolving door of Yankees trying to hold down the first base spot, including Chris Carter (yuck), Tyler Austin, Ji-Man Choi, Matt Holliday, Garrett Cooper, and Chase Headley. However, no one played well enough to gain a stronghold on the position until Bird finally returned to the team in late August.

In the month of September, Bird hit .235 with 6 homers and 16 RBI. Not quite the average you want to see, but the power stats were much better than anything the Yankees had seen from first base all year. In the playoffs, however, Bird performed at a new level. He led the team in OPS and slugging, hitting three home runs along the way. The biggest of which was a solo homer off Andrew Miller in Game 3 of the ALDS that gave the Yanks a 1-0 lead and kept their season alive.

I was there and that was probably the loudest I’ve ever heard the Stadium. It literally felt like it was shaking. The video is way better with the song from Titanic in the background (as are most sports highlights), and I watch this one at least five times every day.

In a lineup where most pitchers will have to approach each game trying to figure out how to pitch Stanton, Judge, and Sanchez, Bird should see plenty of pitches to hit in 2018. This is a guy with the capability to hit 30+ home runs a year, and he could bat as low as seventh in the order next season. Am I trying to say Bird is going to be on the level of the three guys I just named? Absolutely not, but I feel like he’s going to get overlooked, at least to start the season, because of their presence and the fact that he’s yet to play a full MLB season. Get me to opening day right now, I need to see this lineup in action. Let’s go Yanks baby.

Can the Yankees Land Another Top Player This Offseason?


I don’t mean to brag, but I predicted this. In my coaches office, my friend and I were discussing the Yankees next steps, and realized Gerrit Cole was on the trade block. However, we did argue which outfield pieces would be best to trade away for Cole.

With an abundance of outfield talent, the Yankees have to get rid of somebody this offseason. Ideally, it is Jacoby Ellsbury, but he has a no-trade clause that he does not want to use. Plus, nobody really wants him due to his massive contract and sub-par play…not a great combo.

In second place is Aaron Hicks. He is one of the better defensive center fielders in the game with a rocket of an arm.

He is also coming off the best season of his career. His intake will never be higher, so sell on him now.

Brett Gardner is a leader in the clubhouse, and he was an essential part in the Yankees’ success in 2017. In my opinion, these young hitters still need guidance, and a familiar role model to shadow their at-bats over the next few years will help them tremendously. Gardner is that dude, and needs to remain at the top of the lineup at all costs.

Lastly, Clint Frazier is a potential superstar, and we all saw what he was capable of during the summer.

He was always thought to be the future of left field in New York ever since he was the centerpiece of the Andrew Miller deal. But now, we have Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton manning the corner spots for the next ten years.  He is also the most appealing asset out of the Yankee outfielders the Pirates could receive in this deal. So my question is, do we need Frazier?

My answer is yes, but it is also no. Is our window for a championship now? Yes. Is our window also in five or six years from now? Yes. That seems to be the dilemma. Do the Yankees want to solidify their offense for the next decade, or do they want to fix their one problem remaining and be the favorite World Series contender right now. Are we still rebuilding, or are we officially rebuilt? I’d argue our work is done, and it is time to focus on the now.

Sending Red Thunder to Pittsburgh for an ace-caliber pitcher is something that is mouth-watering to think about.

Related image
A 98 MPH two-seam fastball that moves like a lefty slider. I could definitely get used to that. 

Frazier will not reach his max potential for another 3-4 years, and frankly, the Yankees window for a title is open now. Who knows if we will have the same bullpen in four years, or if Sonny Gray will stick around.  Will we be able to resign all these young, budding superstars?

Brett Gardner is the third outfielder right now, he has earned that. Clint is going to be stuck in Triple-A, or be the 5th man up after Hicks. It really hurts trading away somebody with so much talent and “legendary bat speed”, but that’s the price of becoming a complete team.

In my opinion, acquiring Gerrit Cole now makes them by far the most complete team in baseball. Here’s a look at the rotation (assuming C.C. Sabathia is signed and this trade is made):

  1. Luis Severino
  2. Gerrit Cole
  3. Sonny Gray
  4. Masahiro Tanaka
  5. C.C. Sabathia
  6. Jordan Montgomery

Having six capable starters is a luxury, for multiple reasons:

  1. Tanaka is injury prone, and most effective on an extra day of rest. Giving him that added time every week will save him this season, and hopefully avoid another disastrous summer.
  2. Severino and Montgomery are still young, and could benefit from throwing less innings to help their arm in the future. This applies more to Montgomery, considering Sevy is the ace and will need to hold down the fort, but is still an added bonus.
  3. C.C. Sabathia is old as fuck, and those legs holding up 300 lbs can’t trot out there every 5th day.
  4. If somebody does get hurt, we are good to go with five capable starters, as well as Triple-A guys that are able to jump in if the 6-man rotation is working out.

These are luxuries indeed, but this depth is something that is required for a championship team. The last weakness the Yankees find is the rotation, but with the addition of Gerrit Cole and the probable signing of C.C., it could quickly become a strength. The only downside…is parting with Clint Frazier and his wealth of potential. I think that is worth a ring.




Life is Beautiful, Yankees Trade for Giancarlo Stanton, This is My Favorite Day of Existing Ever

Wow this is really freaking cool. All day Friday, there were rumblings that Stanton to the Yankees could go from a pipe dream to a reality. I was still skeptical until I saw this tweet a few hours before I went to sleep.

To which I promptly reacted to as such

I’ve never said or heard of that phrase in my life, that’s just the first thing that popped into my mind when I read that tweet. Regardless, I went to sleep and woke up to literal Christmas.

Holy fucking shit, this is one of the best things to ever happen to me. The reigning NL MVP, who also just led the majors with 59 home runs, joining the reigning AL Rookie of the Year, who just led the AL with 52 home runs, in the same Yankees outfield? That’s literally a wet dream. Not to mention Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorious, and Greg Bird? This is easily the most stacked Yankee lineup I’ve seen in a long time, if not in my lifetime. I mean look at this shit.

You figure that Gleyber Torres slides into that lineup somewhere early in the year, either at 2nd or 3rd base, and it just gets even scarier. I’m a Yankee fan, but this should be borderline illegal. Some games may never end. Will the White Sox even be able to get this lineup out 27 times in a game? Is Rob Manfred gonna have to put a mercy rule into play? Regardless, this lineup is scary as hell.

I’ll be the first to admit, I was salty when Shohei Ohtani wouldn’t even give us the time of day earlier this week. I said all along he would go to the Yankees or Dodgers, but I didn’t anticipate him as being weird enough to not care about money or winning. Regardless, trading for Stanton made us Yankee fans forget about him real quick. Basically the Yankees are a spoiled 16-year old girl whose Daddy didn’t get her the new iPhone for her birthday, and she got so upset that he went out and bought her a Mercedes.

So where do the Yankees go from here? They still need to fill out their rotation. Severino, Tanaka, and Gray are locks to come back. Does Jordan Montgomery get another shot at it after a solid rookie campaign? Do we re-sign CC? Does Chad Green become a starter again? Personally, I want to see Green back in the pen where he killed it last year. I have no problem with Montgomery as a 4th/5th starter, and I’d love to see CC come back at the right price. Trading Brett Gardner for a starter is also an option, and Chance Adams is still waiting in AAA.

This is really fun. It’s a video game lineup. After the heartbreaking Game 7 loss in the ALCS over a month ago, I haven’t had much to be happy about in sports. Sure the Knicks are decent but they’re still the Knicks, Rutgers football is not exactly something you can watch soberly, and I don’t know where to start with the Giants. But as of right now, it’s baseball season for me. I’ve convinced myself of it. Yes it is December 9th, and yes it is snowing, but it’s officially baseball season. I’m probably just gonna watch Stanton highlights every day from now until Opening Day.

To all the angry Mets fans, I actually feel legitimately bad for you. Hey, who knows, maybe one of these years all your pitchers will stay healthy enough for you guys to lose to us in the World Series! Wouldn’t that be something. And Red Sox fans, have fun facing us 18 times next year, I thoroughly look forward to seeing how many times Stanton/Judge/Sanchez can take David Price deep over the Green Monster until he retires mid-game.

Merry Christmas Yankee fans, and a Happy New Year it will be indeed.

Can We Please Get Some Clarity With the Yankees’ Manager Search?

It has now been nearly three weeks since the Yankees announced Joe Girardi would not be returning as manager for 2018. I’ve never been a big Girardi fan, and even though I had way more faith in him post-ALCS than I did after ALDS Game 2 (what a turn of events that was, huh?), I still think it was the right call to not bring him back. The Yankees are a young team that has the potential to be a force in the league for the next decade, and I don’t think Girardi was the guy to lead them. There was talk of him wanting to step away and spend more time with his family after 2017 before the playoffs even started, so even though I don’t think the decision was 100% his call, he may not have been up to the task of managing another 10 years.

So yeah, I’m glad Girardi is gone. But I figured that after getting rid of their manager of 10 years, they would have SOME kind of idea who they wanted to replace him. It’s kind of crazy how little I’ve heard about potential replacements for Girardi thus far. They’ve only officially interviewed two candidates. One was bench coach Rob Thomson, which was somewhat surprising because from everything I’ve heard the Yankees are looking mostly externally for their next manager. The other was Eric Wedge, who last managed the Mariners from 2011-2013 but also managed the Indians from 2003-2009, winning AL Manager of the Year in 2007. I could see Wedge stepping into the manager role because he’s experienced and has excelled and managed in the playoffs before.

The Yankees have also been linked to guys like Brad Ausmus, who apparently said he has no interested in managing next year, and 2003 ALCS Game 7 hero Aaron Boone. Personally, there are two guys who I have my eye on.

My logical candidate is Tony Pena. On paper, Pena almost makes too much sense. He’s been a coach with the Yankees since 2006, serving as both first base and bench coach. He interviewed the last time the Yankees’ had the manager job open in 2008, when Girardi got the job. He has managerial experience, as he was the Royals’ skipper from 2002-05, winning AL Manager of the Year in 2003. And, perhaps most importantly in my mind, he’s a former catcher who will be able to work with Gary Sanchez on his defensive woes. As far as downsides, Pena is 60 years old, perhaps not the ideal age for a manager of a young team. Also, who knows how  much he would actually be able to teach Sanchez that he hasn’t already tried. Overall, Pena’s name has not come up much or at all regarding the manager job, but I think he’s a great fit.

If that’s my logical option, who’s my irrational option?

This guy.

No, not Lee Corso. Alex Rodriguez, aka founder of A-Rod Corp and one of the best baseball players of all-time. Before I address why I understand this could be a completely horrible idea, let me explain why A-Rod could actually be a great manager.

First of all, unlike most of the other guys I mentioned before, A-Rod is young. At just 42 years of age and only one year removed from his playing days, he would be able to relate to younger players much better than an older manager would. Second of all, checkered past or not, he is undoubtedly one of the best players not just of this generation, but of all time. What he did as a player will get players to respect him instantly. He is also a great baseball mind, as anyone who has watched his FOX broadcasts can tell he actually has a lot of knowledge about the game.

Now, obviously there is way more too it than that. Off the bat, A-Rod’s relationship with the Yankees’ front office was never the best, from his opt-out during the World Series in 2007 to his career being cut short a month in 2016. Who knows if they would even want him to manage, or vice-versa. Also, A-Rod is just a sketchy dude. He straight up lied about his steroid usage multiple times, had multiple on-field issues with players (Dallas Braden, Bronson Arroyo, etc.), and hasn’t always been in the public eye for the best reasons (see: Madonna.) If he were to get hired, it would be an absolute media frenzy. One of the most exciting young teams in baseball, who also happens to be the New York Yankees, turning over the keys to the franchise to one of the most polarizing athletes of our time? You can’t script stories like that. Especially with him dating J-Lo, the paparazzi would absolutely flock to the Bronx.  And call me crazy, but as much of a mess as that would be, it would be a LOT of fun to watch. Kind of like a modern-day Bronx is Burning (fantastic miniseries, throwback to when ESPN was actually good and not a steaming hot plate of garbage disguised as a sports network.)

But, at the end of the day, the question is this: who is the best-suited person to bring championships to New York. The last time the Yankees were in a similar position, with a promising young team and the manager job open, was 1995. The man they hired, Joe Torre, delivered them four championships in the next five seasons. Am I asking for that out of our next manager? Obviously not, but that would be great. The bottom line is, for as much as the 2017 Yankees overperformed, they still squandered what was a solid chance to win a championship. Their next manager needs to put them in the absolute best position to win a championship every single year. Who is that guy? No clue. If I knew, I’d be working in baseball somewhere, making way more money than I would know what to do with.

So to Brian Cashman, the Steinbrenners, and the rest of the Yankees front office: choose wisely. And to A-Rod: keep doing you, my dude.