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Yankees don’t sound excited about these new MLB rules — February 20, 2018

Yankees don’t sound excited about these new MLB rules

By Dan Martin  and  George A King III

gary larry sevy

TAMPA — There won’t be a pitch clock this season, but MLB took steps on Monday to speed up pace of play and one of them could impact the Yankees more than many other teams.

The Commissioner’s Office announced that teams will be limited to six mound visits per nine-inning game, with one visit added for every extra inning.

Since those visits include those made by infielders and the catcher, it means Gary Sanchez won’t be able to stroll to the mound an unlimited amount of times — as he did last year.

The new rules count a mound visit as any time a coach or player leaves “his position to confer with the pitcher, including a pitcher leaving the mound to confer with another player.”

Exceptions include “discussions between pitchers and position players that … occur between batters in the normal course of play and do not require either the position player or the pitcher to relocate.”

If a team has used up its visits and the home-plate umpire determines that a pitcher and catcher have been crossed up on a pitch, a visit will be permitted.

“We will adjust well,’’ manager Aaron Boone said. “We will be ready. I won’t go too far down into specifics on how we will do it. That’s all part of our job, to prepare Gary and all our players. We have to make adjustments and that is what major league athletes have to do all the time. … It’s a new way of doing things.”

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild admitted it would be “a major adjustment.”

“It impacts your bunt plays,” Rothschild said. “It impacts when runners are given signs. … The hard part is that in spring training, you are not going to have it impacted so much because there are so many pitching changes.”

And following last year’s sign-stealing controversy between the Yankees and Red Sox, MLB will install new phone lines to “monitor the communications over those lines to prevent their use for sign-stealing.” MLB will also give teams direct slow-motion camera angles after the Yankees didn’t challenge a call in Cleveland during the ALDS because Joe Girardi said they didn’t get the right angle in time.

Regardless of his issues behind the plate, Sanchez consistently produces at the plate and Boone said that is sometimes taken for granted.

“Gary rakes, that’s what I think,’’ Boone said after Sanchez put on a show during batting practice. “He is special. He gets into that box and I do think he gets overlooked. I can’t wait to see what he is going to do again this year. We are going to work really hard in aiding him and hopefully allow him to continue to get better on both sides of the ball.”

On Monday, he crushed a live batting practice pitch from Taylor Widener over the St. Joseph’s Hospital sign above the left-field wall and hit the ball harder than anyone during regular BP.


Brett Gardner understands his role heading into a season hitting in the same lineup as Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.

“I wish I could feel what they feel when they hit a baseball,” Gardner said of the sluggers. “It’s pretty humbling for me to get in there sandwiched between those two guys. It reminds me my job is to get on base and let those guys hit the ball over the fence.”

Gardner said he hopes the depth in the lineup means more fastballs for him.

“That would be the idea, but it seems like all across the league, people are seeing less and less fastballs,” Gardner said. “I think the last thing [other teams] want to do is put someone on base in front of those two guys.”

Gardner added he is preparing to play left field on a regular basis, especially in the Bronx, where left field is larger than in some other stadiums.

“Obviously, there will be times when we’re facing a lefty and I probably won’t be there, but hopefully more times than not, I’ll be out there,” Gardner said. “We’ve got a lot of outfielders capable of doing a lot of different things. Wherever I fit into the picture, I’ll be glad to be out there.”


With all the buzz about the Yankees adding Stanton, the empty seats at GMS Field for the first full-squad far outnumbered the filled ones on a holiday.


Gleyber Torres was fielding throws in the dirt at second base long after the regular portion of the workout was over. On Sunday he worked extra at second base. If the highly rated prospect doesn’t start the season in the big leagues, it won’t be for lack of a work ethic.

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Ex-Yankees pitcher busted as alleged drug kingpin — February 12, 2018

Ex-Yankees pitcher busted as alleged drug kingpin

By Post Sports Desk

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Journeyman starting pitcher Esteban Loaiza was arrested Friday in San Diego with over 20 kilograms of cocaine and/or heroin, according to police documents.

Loaiza is being held in South Bay Detention Facility on $200,000 bail. His next court hearing is Wednesday.

Loaiza spent 14 seasons in the major leagues, including a brief stint in 2004 with the Yankees. The 46-year-old Mexico native also pitched for the Pirates, Blue Jays, White Sox, Nationals, Athletics and Dodgers.

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6 pitchers Yankees should target with Yu Darvish off the board — February 11, 2018

6 pitchers Yankees should target with Yu Darvish off the board

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By Brendan Kuty

The Chicago Cubs swooped in and nabbed free agent starting pitcher Yu Darvish on Saturday. Here are some top options for Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees.

Jake Odorizzi
Yankees acquire Russell Wilson in trade with Rangers — February 7, 2018

Yankees acquire Russell Wilson in trade with Rangers

By Jerry Crasnick

Giancarlo Stanton isn’t the only superstar newcomer who will be making an appearance at the New York Yankees‘ training camp this spring.

The Texas Rangers announced Wednesday they have traded Seattle Seahawksquarterback Russell Wilson to the Yankees for future considerations. Wilson, a four-time Pro Bowler, is expected to appear at the Yankees’ Grapefruit League camp in Tampa, Florida, sometime in February or March.

Wilson, 29, has no plans to emulate Deion Sanders or Bo Jackson and try to reinvent himself as a two-sport athlete, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN. But he’s maintained his love for baseball and wants to continue his ties to the sport.

He has long expressed a desire to play for the Yankees, and Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and his New York counterpart, Brian Cashman, have spent several weeks working to accommodate his wishes, a source told ESPN.

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NFL quarterback Russell Wilson made appearances at spring training as a member of the Texas Rangers in 2014 and 2015. His next stop will be in the Grapefruit League with the New York Yankees.

Wilson expressed his gratitude to the Texas organization in a statement accompanying the announcement.

“I want to personally thank the Texas Rangers for giving me the chance to experience professional baseball again,” Wilson said. “Growing up taking grounders, hitting BP, and throwing deep post routes early in the mornings with my dad and brother is where my love of sports came from, and those memories stick with me every morning I wake up. I remember how excited I was when Texas selected me in the Rule 5 Draft in December 2013. During my two springs in Arizona with the Rangers, I was reminded just how much I love the game of baseball.

“While football is my passion and my livelihood, baseball remains a huge part of where I came from and who I am today. I’ve learned so much on the baseball field that translates to my game physically and mentally playing quarterback in the NFL. I thank the Rangers and their great fans for making me feel at home and a part of the family! While I embrace the chance to be a New York Yankee, I will forever be grateful to have been a part of a world class organization like the Texas Rangers.”

Wilson played two years of professional baseball as a second baseman in theColorado Rockies‘ system after being selected in the fourth round of MLB’s 2010 first-year player draft. He hit .228 with five home runs in 315 at-bats for Tri-City of the Northwest League and Asheville of the South Atlantic League during the 2010-2011 seasons.

The Rangers selected Wilson off the Colorado roster in the December 2013 Rule 5 draft, and he made one-day cameo appearances at Texas’ Cactus League complex in Surprise, Arizona, in 2014 and 2015.

“I never want to kill the dream of playing two sports,” Wilson said during a 2015 interview with HBO’s “Real Sports.”

The Rangers, however, said they were content with inviting him to spring training and having him share his experiences as an elite athlete with players throughout the organization.

“Russell has the competitiveness and work ethic to where he’d have a shot if he committed to baseball,” Daniels said in a 2015 interview. “Obviously, he’s got a pretty good thing going on with the Seahawks, and we’re not going to get in the way of that. Playing quarterback is more intensive than the positions of other guys who have attempted to play both sports.”

Reviewing Yankees’ many 3B options post-Todd Frazier —

Reviewing Yankees’ many 3B options post-Todd Frazier

By Brendan Kuty

Agent Brodie Van Wagenen accuses MLB owners of collusion, threatens spring training boycott — February 2, 2018

Agent Brodie Van Wagenen accuses MLB owners of collusion, threatens spring training boycott

By Gabe Lacques

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The specter of collusion – and the potential for resulting labor unrest – has lingered in the background during Major League Baseball’s slowest off-season in history.

And now a prominent player agent has taken that elephant in the room and given it center stage.

Brodie Van Wagenen, the lead baseball agent at Creative Artists Agency, accused MLB’s owners of conspiring to suppress the free agent market and warned that players might be willing to boycott spring training in solidarity if the market does not loosen.

Van Wagenen wrote in a Friday tweet that behavior among owners “has changed dramatically” and that the activity “feels coordinated, rightly or wrongly.”

“Many club presidents and general managers with whom we negotiate with are frustrated with the lack of funds to sign the plethora of good players still available, raising further suspicion of institutional influence over the spending,” Van Wagenen wrote.

“Even the algorithms that have helped determine player salaries in recent years are suggesting dramatically higher values than owners are willing to spend.”

A backlog of impact players remain on the market with just 10 days remaining until spring training camps open. Seven of the consensus top 10 free agents, led by J.D. Martinez, Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, remain unsigned, and productive players such as Van Wagenen’s client, former New York Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier, remain days and perhaps weeks away from finding their place in this market.

More than 120 free agents remain unsigned.

So Van Wagenen, who has negotiated nine-figure contracts for the likes of Ryan Howard, Robinson Cano and Ryan Zimmerman, says players are ready to flex their collective will in a fashion not seen since the last player strike began in 1994.

“(Players) are outraged,” he wrote. “Players in the midst of long-term contracts are as frustrated as those still seeking employment. Their voices are getting louder and they are uniting in a way not seen since 1994.

“I would suggest that testing the will of 1,200 alpha males at the pinnacle of their profession is not a good strategy for 30 men (owners) who are bound by a much smaller fraternity.

“A fight is brewing. And it may begin with one, maybe two, and perhaps 1,200 willing to follow. A boycott of spring training may be a starting point if behavior does not start to change.”

A boycott of spring training would likely be in violation of baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, the most recent version ratified in December 2016 and running through 2021.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said at Thursday’s owners’ meetings that a myriad of factors conspired to slow a market in which outfielder Lorenzo Cain (five years, $80 million) has signed the largest contract to date.

“Every [free-agent] market is different,’’ Manfred said. “There’s different players, different quality of players, different GMs, different decisions, a new basic agreement, different agents who had particular prominence in a particular market in terms of who they represent.

“Those factors, and probably others that I can’t tick off the top of my head, have combined to produce a particular market this year. Just like there’s been some markets where the lid got blown off in terms of player salary growth, occasionally you’re going to have some that are not quite as robust.’’

Baseball has not had a work stoppage since 1994-95, when owners’ threats of a salary cap caused players to walk out in August 1994. Labor peace has reigned since, but a luxury tax phased in since the last stoppage has in recent years served as a de facto cap for some teams.

The full text of Van Wagenen’s statement:

Brodie agent

MLB hot stove: Mike Moustakas to Yankees or Cardinals? Mets hot for Eduardo Nunez? Todd Frazier update — January 19, 2018

MLB hot stove: Mike Moustakas to Yankees or Cardinals? Mets hot for Eduardo Nunez? Todd Frazier update

Mike Moustakas

By Randy Miller

Yankees and Mets target pushes himself toward the market — January 17, 2018

Yankees and Mets target pushes himself toward the market

By Dan Martin

josh harrison

Could Josh Harrison’s desire to get out of Pittsburgh get him to New York?

Both the Yankees and Mets are in need of another infielder and in the wake of the Pirates trading both Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen in the last week, the 30-year-old Harrison said in a statement to The Athletic on Tuesday that, “If indeed the team does not expect to contend this year or next, perhaps it would be better for all involved, that I also am traded. I want what is best for the organization that gave me a chance to be a Big Leaguer.”

Each New York team has been linked to Harrison this offseason, largely because of their interest in other players.

The Yankees talked to the Pirates about Cole and the Mets spoke with them about McCutchen before both veteran players went elsewhere.

The Yankees, as of now, are willing to go into the season with some inexperience in the infield.

General manager Brian Cashman hasn’t ruled out the possibility of playing both Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, as well as looking at Tyler Wade and Thairo Estrada to replace the traded Starlin Castro and Chase Headley. And the Yankees also signed Jace Peterson to a minor-league deal as another potential option.

In Harrison’s statement, he said, “I want to win, I want to contend, I want to win championships in 2018, 2019 and beyond.”

According to a source, the public request for a trade won’t influence any potential pursuit by the Yankees of Harrison, who is due $10 million this season and has team options for both 2019 and 2020.

But the Yankees have more than enough outfielders thanks to the addition of Giancarlo Stanton, and the Pirates are in need of one now that McCutchen is in San Francisco.

The Mets still seem more interested in going the free-agent route to play either second or third, since their farm system is already depleted.

On that front, a number of options, including Neil Walker, Jose Reyes, Todd Frazier and Eduardo Nunez, remain available.

Astros To Acquire Gerrit Cole — January 10, 2018

Astros To Acquire Gerrit Cole

By Jeff Todd

The Astros have struck a deal to acquire right-hander Gerrit Cole from the Pirates, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network (via Twitter). The return has yet to be reported.

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Cole, now 27, was the first overall pick in the 2011 draft. He ascended quickly to become Pittsburgh’s top pitcher, though he has not exactly been at his peak of late. In 2017, he worked to a 4.26 ERA in 203 frames. Clearly, though, Houston still believes it is getting a top-flight starter to fill out the team’s rotation as it embarks upon a World Series defense. Cole will cost a projected $7.5MM in 2018 with one more season of arbitration control thereafter.

With the swap, the Pirates are not necessarily giving up all hope on the coming season, but their 2018 expectations will clearly take a significant hit. The team does still have a variety of rotation options in-house, along with a reputation for finding gems at a bargain rate on the open market. For a low-budget organization, this sort of re-shuffling is a frequent, if sometimes frustrating, necessity.

Having cut ties with Cole, it stands to reason that the Bucs will be more willing than ever to part with long-time star Andrew McCutchen. That’s just one possible element of the fallout from this agreement, though. Houston had been one of the most notable potential suitors for top free agent starters, up to and including Yu Darvish. Now that they have landed Cole, they’re likely out on Darvish and others, which may help give clarity to that market. And having parted with young talent to boost the rotation, it’s fair to wonder whether Houston will look to free agency to finish compiling its bullpen.

Here are the 17 biggest sports knuckleheads from 2017 — January 1, 2018

Here are the 17 biggest sports knuckleheads from 2017

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By Steve Polti