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Hal Steinbrenner: Even a ring wouldn’t have kept Joe Girardi around — November 17, 2017

Hal Steinbrenner: Even a ring wouldn’t have kept Joe Girardi around

The Yankees boss says he and GM Brian Cashman already had decided to make a change.

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Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said Wednesday that he would not have asked Joe Girardi to return even if he had won the World Series.

By Erik Boland

ORLANDO, Fla. — A World Series title would not have been enough to save Joe Girardi.

In his first public comments since the Yankees parted with Girardi after 10 years as manager, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said Wednesday that his call would have been to move on, regardless of how the postseason ended.

“I felt like my decision was my decision,” Steinbrenner said shortly after arriving for the owners’ meetings. “I’m sure there would have been more pressure, it maybe would have been a more difficult decision to make, but I still believe I would have made it because I felt that’s what’s best for the organization going forward.”

The more Steinbrenner talked, the more it was obvious it wasn’t a case of his simply acting on Cashman’s recommendation to get a new manager. “I wasn’t following his recommendation,” Steinbrenner said. “I agreed with it.”

Though Steinbrenner didn’t get into specific reasons, he echoed what Cashman has said: that with a young team, the franchise thought having a better communicator was best. And it wasn’t a concern that popped up suddenly in 2017.

“(Cashman) and I have had conversations throughout the years,” Steinbrenner said. “This is not something that came from two or three weeks, it came from two, three, four years and everything we observed in that time period.

“I think you’ve got to consider that you have a young team and that maybe a different type of leadership, perhaps, is needed for a younger team than it is for a veteran team.”

Steinbrenner mentioned other qualities he’d like.

“It’s important for the next manager to have an understanding of analytics because it’s such a big part of the game, and if they don’t, at least a willingness to learn,” he said. “But again, everybody’s going to have their pros and cons. Nobody’s going to have all positives. Just going to be a long process of sifting through all the intel.”

The process will continue Thursday and Friday when Aaron Boone and Hensley Meulens are expected to interview. Chris Woodward, the Dodgers’ third-base coach, also has emerged as a candidate. Only Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson and Eric Wedge, the former manager of the Indians and Mariners, have interviewed.

Steinbrenner isn’t hurrying the process. He said he and his family won’t get involved until the field is whittled to the final two or three candidates and they are invited to Tampa for another round of interviews.

“I’m not rushing (Cashman), I’m not rushing the people under him because again, these are pretty extensive interviews and there’s going to be more than one round,” Steinbrenner said. “We have not talked about any kind of timetable.”

Steinbrenner said he expects there will be “less than 10” interviewees. After being asked an obligatory Alex Rodriguez question, he said he doesn’t anticipate it to include the retired third baseman. A-Rod, who serves as a special adviser to Steinbrenner, was paid $21 million in the final year of his 10-year, $275-million contract. The owner is interested in a continued role for Rodriguez, who toward the end of his career was a clubhouse leader and mentored many young Yankees.

“I haven’t had a chance to talk to him, he actually texted me today,” Steinbrenner said. “I’d love to have him involved in spring training, love to have him involved with whatever instructional leagues we have if we can agree that he wants to be here and we can make it so.”

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Yankees will keep at least one familiar face in the dugout — November 14, 2017

Yankees will keep at least one familiar face in the dugout

By Joel Sherman

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ORLANDO, Fla. — The Yankees will have a new manager but will keep continuity with at least the same pitching coach. Larry Rothschild is going to fill the position for whoever replaces Joe Girardi, The Post has learned.

Rothschild has been the Yankees pitching coach since 2011, replacing Dave Eiland, who this offseason was named the Mets pitching coach.

The Yankees front office always has valued Rothschild’s ability to blend analytics with hands-on work with the staff.

In 2017, the Yankees finished with the majors’ fifth-best ERA at 3.72, and Rothschild oversaw the rebound of Luis Severino from despair in 2016 to Cy Young candidate this year, as well as the emergence of Jordan Montgomery and the reinvention of CC Sabathia.

It remains possible other members of the previous coaching staff, notably bench coach Rob Thomson and assistant hitting coach Marcus Thames, ultimately could be retained as well. Thomson interviewed for the managing position and still is in play to succeed Girardi.

Nevertheless, after his interview, Thomson mentioned his long association with the Yankees and wanting to stay with the organization even if he did not get the managing job. The Yankees value him for myriad reasons, including the fact that he organizes spring training annually.

The Yanks also could look to their minor league ranks to fill coaching spots with candidates such as Jay Bell, Josh Paul and Reggie Willits possibilities.

Aaron Judge’s magical season capped with Rookie of the Year —

Aaron Judge’s magical season capped with Rookie of the Year

By Ken Davidoff

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ORLANDO, Fla. — All rose.

Aaron Judge, not surprisingly, has won the 2017 American League Rookie of the Year award by unanimous decree. All 30 Baseball Writers Association of America voters placed the Yankees right fielder first on their ballot, making him the ninth such AL rookie to do so and 22nd overall. Among the star names in that group of unanimous recipients is Derek Jeter, the last Yankee to capture this award (in 1996).

The sweetest plum remains for Judge: On Thursday, he’ll learn whether he can add the AL Most Valuable Player trophy to his resume. He has been announced as a finalist for the award alongside the Astros’ Jose Altuve (viewed as the favorite) and the Indians’ Jose Ramirez.

No matter what happens Thursday, Judge’s rookie campaign will be remembered as one of the best freshman years in baseball history. After not making the Yankees’ Opening Day roster until the tail end of spring training, Judge — whose 2016 major league cup of coffee saw him strike out 42 times in 84 at-bats — set the rookie single-season record with 52 home runs. That total led the AL, as did his 127 walks and 128 runs scored (and his 208 strikeouts, for accuracy’s sake).

His fantastic first half, culminating in his Home Run Derby victory at Marlins Park, turned him into a transcendent figure, someone baseball commissioner Rob Manfred projected as a potential face of the game.

Yankees well represented for Silver Slugger Awards — November 10, 2017

Yankees well represented for Silver Slugger Awards

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Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (right) and right fielder Aaron Judge picked up their first Silver Slugger Awards on Thursday night.

By Randy Miller

There was no way Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge would be passed over again Thursday night.

After missing out on winning a Gold Glove earlier in the week, Judge is a Silver Slugger Award winner.

This was an easy call.

His 52 homers shattered baseball’s record for rookies. Judge also hit .282 with 114 RBIs, 128 runs, 127 walks and a 1.049 OPS.

The Yankees have two Silver Slugger Award winners among nine players on the American League team, as catcher Gary Sanchez was picked, too..

Sanchez’s 33 homers and 90 RBIs led all Major League catchers.

Judge and Sanchez were among eight first-time winners.

The National League Silver Slugger team included Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy, who won for the second year in a row since leaving the Mets as a free agent.

Judge figures will pick up more hardware next week. He’s a finalist for the AL Rookie of the Year and a lock to win, and he’s also one of three finalists for the AL MVP.

Here are all of the Silver Sluggers:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

1st base: Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals (1st Silver Slugger)

2nd base: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros (4th)

3rd base: Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians (1st)

Shortstop: Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians (1st)

Outfielder: Aaron Judge, Yankees (1st)

Outfielder: Justin Upton, Los Angeles Angels (3rd)

Outfielder: George Springer, Houston Astros (1st)

Catcher: Gary Sanchez, Yankees (1st)

Designated hitter: Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners (2nd)

NATIONAL LEAGUE

1st base: Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks (3rd)

2nd base: Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals (2nd)

Shortstop: Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers (2nd)

3rd base: Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies (3rd)

Outfield: Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins (2nd)

Outfield: Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins (1st)

Outfield: Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies (2nd)

Catcher: Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants (4th)

Pitcher: Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals (1st)

Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka makes decision on opt out — November 4, 2017

Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka makes decision on opt out

By Randy Miller

He’s still the Yankees‘ ‘Hiro.

Starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka won’t exercise the opt-out clause in his contract, Tanaka said via a statement through the team on Friday night.

Tanaka will stick with he three years and $67 million left on his deal rather than test free agency.

“I have decided to stay with the Yankees for the next three seasons. It was a simple decision for me as I have truly enjoyed the past four years playing for this organization and for the wonderful fans of New York,” Tanaka said in the statement.

“I’m excited to continue to be a part of this team, and I’m committed to our goal of bringing a World Series Championship back to the Steinbrenner family, the Yankees organization, and the great fans of New York.”

Latest on Yankees’ manager hunt

Tanaka had three days after the World Series to make a final decision on opting out of the final three seasons of a seven-year, $155-million contract that includes $22 million salaries for 2018 and 2019, then $23 million for 2020.

Tanaka, 29 as of Wednesday, had a tough decision because a good case could be made for him to use or pass on using his opt-out.

 

His overall numbers in four seasons since he left Japan to play for the Yankees are very good, as he’s 53-28 with a 3.56 ERA over 105 starts.

Also, he ended a down 2017 season by allowing just two runs over 20 innings in three postseason starts.

However, Tanaka was terrible at times this past season, allowing eight earned runs once and seven four times while going 13-12 with a career-worst 4.74 ERA.

And, that partially torn UCL in his pitching elbow that he’s been pitching with since September 2015 figures to lead to Tommy John surgery at some point.

 

Tanaka missed a start in August due to a short stint on a the disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder, but his UCL hasn’t been an issue.

UPDATE: Odds on 20 candidates to replace Joe Girardi as Yankees manager — October 27, 2017

UPDATE: Odds on 20 candidates to replace Joe Girardi as Yankees manager

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By Randy Miller

Joe Girardi will not return as manager of Yankees — October 26, 2017

Joe Girardi will not return as manager of Yankees

By Andrew Marchand

Joe Girardi will not be back next season as manager of the New York Yankees, sources told David Kaplan of ESPN 1000 in Chicago on Thursday.

Girardi just concluded a four-year, $16 million contract, and he and the team agreed to part ways, sources said. They will make an announcement later Thursday.

Girardi, 53, and the Yankees came within one game of going to the World Series this year, losing to the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. In 10 years at the helm, Girardi won one World Series and made the playoffs six times. He has talked extensively about how the talent at the major and minor league levels could bode very well for the Yankees in years to come, but now Girardi will not be a part of that future.

One of the complications of Girardi’s departure is there is not an obvious candidate to replace him. Internally, bench coach Rob Thomson is highly respected, but it is unclear whether the Yankees would go with a lower-profile candidate. First-base coach Tony Pena has managed in the majors before. The Yankees are expected to look externally as well.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman will favor a candidate who has a good feel for the clubhouse, a willingness to use advanced statistics and one who can handle the extreme expectations of fans and media in the Bronx.

Cashman’s contract also was up at the end of the season; however, he is expected to return after building a strong roster and farm system.

Though the Yankees advanced deep into the playoffs, Girardi had the lowest moment of his managerial career when he was held responsible for a loss in Game 2 of the American League Division Series in Cleveland after he failed to ask for replay review on a strikeout that was incorrectly called a hit batsman. The Yankees stormed back to win the final three games of the series and then nearly came back from a 2-0 deficit against the Astros in the ALCS.

After the Yankees lost in the ALCS, Girardi professed his love for managing but said he would once again discuss his situation with his wife and three children, asking them what they thought was best for their family. He has expressed similar sentiments on previous occasions when his contract was up, but has always returned to the team.

Girardi has had aspirations to work in baseball operations, possibly in the commissioner’s office. He also could return to broadcasting. Girardi also has a passion for college football, and while he has said it is a long shot, has spoken about serving as an athletic director.

After managing the Marlins for one year, Girardi took over the Yankees in 2008. He won a World Series in 2009 and finishes his Yankees tenure with an overall record of 910-710.

As a catcher, Girardi played for 15 years in the big leagues, winning three World Series titles in four years with the Yankees.

Yankees’ CC Sabathia makes like Joe Namath, Mark Messier with Game 7 prediction — October 21, 2017

Yankees’ CC Sabathia makes like Joe Namath, Mark Messier with Game 7 prediction

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Left-Hander CC Sabathia will be the Yankees’ starting pitcher Saturday night against the Houston Astros in in Game 7 of the ALCS at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

By Randy Miller

HOUSTON — Just a few minutes after it became official that champagne corks would not be popped in the Yankees clubhouse on Friday night at Minute Maid Park, CC Sabathia lumbered into the media room and took a seat front and center.

The Yankees had just blown the first of two chances they’d earned to be a World Series team with a 7-1 loss to the Houston Astros in an entertaining ALCS Game 6 that was close until usually stellar bullpen piece David Robertson made like a BP pitcher allowing four runs while getting nobody out in the eighth.

This loss forces the Yankees into their first Game 7 since one of the darkest days ever at the old Yankee Stadium, the time that the 2004 Boston Red Sox became the first and only Major League ballclub to win a seven-game series after losing the first three.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi planned ahead this Game 7 scenario by lining up his rotation so that his most experienced big-game pitcher would be the starter.

And that’s why Sabathia was ushered in to the press room after the Yankees’ Game 6 loss.

Two questions in …

Wow!

Usually one to let his pitching do the talking, Sabathia this time opted to send a loud and proud message that wasn’t all that different from Joe Namath guaranteeing the Jets would win Super Bowl III and Mark Messier’s famous “we’ll win tonight” prediction during the Rangers’ 1994 Stanley Cup run.

“We’ll come out tomorrow and play a great game and win tomorrow,” Sabathia said for the world to hear.

You’ve got to love the confidence oozing from the big lefty, who has had a tremendous rebound season at age 37 and is coming off a great outing in a Game 4 ALCS win over the Astros, six shutout innings.

Here’s the question that brought out Sabathia’s brash statement that probably will be hung on Astros clubhouse walls Saturday, if it isn’t there already:

You guys have had four elimination games. Your young guys have responded well. What have you liked most about the way your team plays in these elimination games?

“Just the way we can turn the page,” Sabathia answered. “It’s something that these guys have a gift to do. It’s hard to do, especially for a young team. And they seem to do that every day.”

Sabathia paused, then threw out his guarantee without actually using the G word.

Sabathia’s pretty much done it all as a pitcher and he’s been through a lot in life.

He’s won a Cy Young, a World Series and 237 games. He went to six All-Star Games. He’s had a lot of injuries and nearly drank himself out of baseball.

His 23rd career postseason game and 22nd start will be his first Game 7.

“To be able to have the opportunity to go to the World Series, one game … I’m excited,” Sabathia said.

So are his teammates.

They remember Sabathia starting the Yankees’ last elimination game, a Game 5 Division Series win in Cleveland 10 days ago. Sabathia didn’t qualify to be the winning pitcher because Girardi had a quick hook, but this 4 1/3-inning, two-run, nine-strikeout, no-walks outing was a good one.

“Any time we have a big situation and we need someone to go in there and have a quality start, CC’s been our guy for us,” right fielder Aaron Judge said after Game 6. “There’s nobody else we’d want on the mound for us.”

Now it’s up to Sabathia , who is 10-4 with a 4.24 ERA in the playoffs, to put up or shut up.

The Jets upset the Baltimore Colts 16-7 in Super Bowl III in January 1969 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, and Namath was named MVP.

The Rangers staved off elimination by beating the Devils in Game 6 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals after Messier said they would, then they went on to win Game 7 and then knock off the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final for their first title since 1940.

Sabathia will be in Broadway Joe and Messier’s company if his prediction comes true.

“It’s been a tough road, not being in the playoffs for a long time, and going through my personal things,” Sabathia said. “It will feel good to get out there (Saturday) and have an opportunity to try to pitch this team to the World Series.”

Dellin Betances is out of chances — October 17, 2017

Dellin Betances is out of chances

By Dan Martin

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Any hope of fixing Dellin Betances this postseason was probably gone even before Monday night, but another wild outing all but ensured the right-hander won’t see another important inning this October.

Betances entered Monday’s 8-1 win over the Astrosto start the top of the ninth and immediately struggled with his control again.

For a second straight outing, he failed to record an out and had to be rescued by Tommy Kahnle.

Fortunately for the Yankees on Monday, they had a healthy lead during Betances’ latest implosion, but his inability to get through the inning forced Joe Girardi to go to one of the important parts of his relief corps — and warm up Aroldis Chapman — on a night he clearly hoped to avoid doing so.

“It’s a matter of me getting more work, but that’s hard now,” Betances said. “In the playoffs, you’re gonna rely on the arms that have been hot. Joe’s given me some of these situations to correct myself and I’ve put my teammates in bad spots.”

Betances hadn’t pitched since Game 4 of the ALDS, when he also didn’t get an out in the eighth inning of a 7-3 win. Kahnle came into that game and got the final six outs.

“He’s out of whack,” Girardi said. “He’s [gone] through it a couple of times this year and we’ve seemingly been able to get him on track a number of different times. And we’re still trying to do that. Because I still think he’s really important to us and we need him.’’

On Monday, Betances walked Marwin Gonzalez on four pitches to open the ninth.

After a visit from pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Betances lost pinch hitter Derek Fisher on a full count to end his night.

Betances exited to a chorus of boos from the Yankee Stadium crowd for a second straight appearance.

“I don’t blame the fans,” Betances said. “I’m not doing my job. As a fan, you want the game to be over right there. You don’t want to watch a guy walk the first two.”

He believes things are only slightly off, but remains aware he might not have the opportunity to right himself.

“Physically, I feel fine,’’ Betances said. “I’m keeping my head up high.”

Kahnle entered and gave up a single to Cameron Maybin to load the bases and then struck out George Springer for the first out of the inning. Kahnle followed with a walk to Alex Bregman to force in a run — charged to Betances — as Chapman began to loosen with Jose Altuve coming to the plate.

Kahnle got Altuve to ground into a game-ending double play to get Betances off the hook and keep Chapman from having to pitch.

Adam Warren, who had also slipped into the team’s witness protection program, had a better night.

Warren came in and pitched two scoreless innings after CC Sabathia’s six shutout frames in his first appearance since giving up a run in a loss to the Indians in Game 1 of the ALDS.

Prior to that outing, Warren had pitched just once since Sept. 1; he missed much of the month with back spasms.

So while Warren may have taken a step toward redemption, Betances is even deeper into his morass.

“The good thing is we’re winning games,” Betances said. “I’ve had a lot of success in this game and I know I can get back to that and be the pitcher I know I can be.”

Derek Jeter swoops in and poaches longtime Yankees exec — October 9, 2017

Derek Jeter swoops in and poaches longtime Yankees exec

By George A. King  III

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Yankees VP of Player Development Gary Denbo is leaving the organization to work with Derek Jeter and the Marlins, according to a person close to the situation.

Denbo, who managed Jeter in the low minors and was the Yankees’ hitting coach in 2001, will be the Marlins’ Director of Player Development and Scouting.

Denbo’s last day of working for the Yankees is Monday. He was in his 23rd season with the organization and for the last three seasons was the VP of Player Development.

Even before Bruce Sherman and Jeter purchased the Marlins, Denbo’s name was linked to joining the club because of his long history with Jeter.

Denbo has received praise inside and outside of the Yankees’ organization for his work as the head of player development.

Like many in the Yankees’ organization Denbo’s contract was up at the end of October. So, too, are the contracts of GM Brian Cashman, Joe Girardi, all the big league coaches, Tim Naehring, VP of Baseball Operations and Jim Hendry, special assignment scout.

Hendry’s name has been linked to the Marlins’ GM opening.