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Yankees, Todd Frazier talk reunion — December 13, 2017

Yankees, Todd Frazier talk reunion

Todd Frazier

By Brendan Kuty

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Thumbs down?

Might be thumbs up.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has met with the representative for third baseman Todd Frazier, Cashman told reporters at Day 2 of the 2017 MLB Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney Swan & Dolphin Resort on Tuesday night.

“Todd did a tremendous job for us and was a valuable member of our positive results on the field, as well as that clubhouse,” Cashman said, sitting at a table in a suite at the resort.

Cashman didn’t say how many times he’s met with Frazier’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenan of Creative Artists Agency. Frazier, a Toms River native, has said he would “love” to return to the Bronx after a midseason trade sent him there from the White Sox last year.

When he arrived, Frazier displaced regular third baseman Chase Headley.

Headley wouldn’t be an obstacle next season. The Yankees traded him and nearly all of his $13 million salary, alongside talented but inconsistent pitcher Bryan Mitchell, to the Padres in exchange for outfielder Jabari Blash, who doesn’t figure to be long for the pinstripes. Blash, a right fielder, is blocked by at least six outfielders on the club’s depth chart.

Frazier won’t just accept whatever the Yankees toss him, though.

A source with knowledge of his requests told NJ Advance Media early Tuesday that Frazier wants a multiyear deal. The Yankees may prefer Frazier on a one-year pact as they wait for Miguel Andujar, the team’s No. 5 overall prospect according to MLB.com, to mature into an everyday third baseman. Andujar’s bat seems ready but his defense, particularly his hands and throwing accuracy, is a work in progress, several opposing talent evaluators have told NJ Advance Media.

The Angels, who may be in the market for a third baseman, could prove as competition for the Yankees.

Cashman said the club could go into spring training with Andujar, Tyler Wade, Ronald Torreyes and top prospect Gleyber Torres competing for time at third base and at second base, where the team has a hole following the trade of Starlin Castro to the Marlins in exchange for slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

“We have some hungry, talented, inexperienced kids ready to prove they can take that next step. But at the same time, there might be some opportunities that exist, may it be free agency or trade that could make us gravitate in a different direction. So we’ll see,” Cashman said.

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Yankees to announce new bench, third base coaches — December 11, 2017

Yankees to announce new bench, third base coaches

boone and poon

By Brendan Kuty

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — That was quick.

The Yankees will name Josh Bard as bench coach and Phil Nevin as third base coach Monday, according to a pair of sources with knowledge of the team’s personnel decisions. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the news hadn’t been announced publicly.

Bard, 38, spent the last two years as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach and the previous three years as a scout and a special assistant. He was teammates with manager Aaron Boone with the Indians in 2005.

Since his retirement, Nevin, 46, has managed in independent ball, Double-A, Triple-A and was the Giants’ third-base coach in 2017.

The Yankees were also expected to retain Mike Harkey as the club’s bullpen coach.

The trio will join pitching coach Larry Rothschild on the Yankees’ staff, supporting Boone, who has no coaching experience.

It’s unclear who will be the Yankees’ first base coach. They also haven’t named hitting coaches. Tony Pena, who also handled the catching coordinator duties, was the first base coach. Alan Cockrell (primary) and Marcus Thames (assistant) were the hitting coaches.

Here’s what Boone had to say regarding how he would select his coaching staff when he was announced as the team’s manager last week.

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff.

“Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”

Owner Hal Steinbrenner had said he was concerned with the idea that the Yankees may hire a manager without previous coaching experience, but he was satisfied when his front office told him Boone was their approximately unanimous pick.

It’s killing Derek Jeter that he might be helping the Yankees — December 10, 2017

It’s killing Derek Jeter that he might be helping the Yankees

By Ken Davidoff

sssd

Here in New York, we know better.

Derek Jeter as a double agent, working to help his old team? That would make as much sense as suggesting the former Yankees captain would use Alex Rodriguez as his “Phone a friend” were he to ever appear on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

You can bet a year’s worth of gift baskets that trading his expensive, unhappy superstar Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees brought only unhappiness to the Marlins’ rookie CEO. That being cornered into making this deal, which resulted in sizable social-media mocking that questioned his true loyalties, has to add aggravation to what has been a very rough opening act of Jeter’s new career.

He’ll have his opportunity to defend this transaction, to insist that his ownership group has the financial fortitude and baseball savvy to pull the Marlins out of their morass. What he can’t say, but what everyone in New York knows, is this:

The last thing he wants to do is help the Yankees.

After playing baseball, Jeter’s greatest gift might be his ability to hold a grudge. Remember that turbulent negotiation during Jeter’s one experience as a free agent, between the 2010 and 2011 seasons? Jeter does.

In the first three years after he retired, Jeter made himself scarce on Yankees property. He came to Yankee Stadium out of respect for his honored teammates Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams, then when the franchise retired his own No. 2. In Tampa, where he lives full-time and the Yankees hold spring training, Jeter met off-site a few times with Yankees minor leaguers at the request of Gary Denbo, his first professional manager and perpetual swing doctor who now works as the Marlins’ vice president of player development and scouting.

So folks in South Florida, Boston and everywhere else can dispatch with the theory that Jeter wants the Yankees to add to their trove of trophies. Besides, Marlins fans can find plenty of legitimate grievances and concerns about Jeter and his chairman and principal owner Bruce Sherman.

Start with the question about money. The top asset the Marlins received from the Yankees for Stanton was payroll flexibility, as the Yankees assumed $265 million of the $295 million Stanton has guaranteed. Had the Marlins been willing to take another bad Yankees contract or pay down more of the contract, they would’ve been in position to ask for better talent in return. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports first reported that the Marlins continue to seek out more investors.

Then go to competence. Jeter has experienced his share of missteps and misfortune already, from dismissing the franchise’s four wise men (Jeff Conine, Andre Dawson, Jack McKeon and Tony Perez) and clumsily attempting (and failing) to bring them back, to veteran scout Marty Scott getting fired while he was in the hospital recovering from surgery to treat his cancer. He also admitted at the owners’ meetings last month that he had yet to speak with Stanton, a most curious decision.

These actions gave Jeter less margin for error when it came to the Stanton trade, and man, it got hairy when Stanton made it clear he would decline transfers to both the Cardinals and the Giants. With the Dodgers’ offer of bad contracts (like Adrian Gonzalez and Scott Kazmir) unappetizing, the Marlins turned to the Yankees, who at least offered a decent player in Starlin Castro and a couple of lower-level prospects (Jose Devers and Jorge Guzman), whom Denbo knows first-hand, in addition to the bailout.

In South Florida, after this move, Jeter’s popularity probably polls similar to that of his Marlins predecessors Jeffrey Loria and David Samson — and far below beloved Miamian A-Rod. This marks more new territory for Jeter. More challenges. Both his legacy and that of commissioner Rob Manfred, who very much wanted Jeter to get this opportunity, are on the line.

He has so much to prove. Yet the proof exists already to acquit him of the most egregious charge. Rest assured that nothing would make Jeter happier than this trade creating as much Yankees agita as the A-Rod deal 13-plus years ago, and even less October success.

Yankees turn attention toward filling out Boone’s coaching staff — December 6, 2017

Yankees turn attention toward filling out Boone’s coaching staff

By George A. King III

mike harkey

Mike Harkey could come back as the Yankees’ bullpen coach.

Carlos Mendoza and Reggie Willits are under consideration to join new manager Aaron Boone’s coaching staff.

Mendoza, 38, recently completed his fifth year as the Yankees’ minor league infield field coordinator and could be Joe Espada’s replacement as the third-base coach.

The former Yankees minor leaguer has worked with infielders Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar and Thairo Estrada and is highly thought of within the organization.

Espada left the Yankees following the postseason to join the Astros as the World Series winners’ bench coach.

Willits, 36, played six seasons for the Angels and has been the Yankees’ minor league outfield/base-running coordinator for the past three seasons.

When Boone, who received a three-year deal with an option, is announced Wednesday at Yankee Stadium as Joe Girardi’s replacement, the Yankees won’t officially have a bench coach, hitting coach, first-base coach, third-base coach or bullpen coach. Nevertheless, there are indications Mike Harkey will return as the bullpen coach.

The Yankees announced Monday that pitching coach Larry Rothschild will return for his eighth season.

Former Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson moved to the Phillies for the same job. Alan Cockrell and Marcus Thames, the Yankees’ hitting coaches the past two seasons, could return. Like all Yankees coaches, they were granted permission to look elsewhere for work following the ALCS loss to the Astros. Tony Pena just completed his 12th season on the big-league staff, the past six as the first-base coach.

MLB free agency: Shohei Ohtani tells Yankees he won’t sign with them — December 4, 2017

MLB free agency: Shohei Ohtani tells Yankees he won’t sign with them

Shohei Ohtani

Star Japanese pitcher Shohei Ohtani.

By Brendan Kuty

STAMFORD, Conn. — Oh-no-tani.

Japanese star Shohei Ohtani‘s agents have told the Yankees he won’t sign with them, general manager Brian Cashman told reporters Sunday night.

Ohtani, 23, is considered one of the best talents to have come out of the country and the Yankees were expected to be heavy front-runnersto nab him.

“We have been informed today that we have been eliminated from the Ohtani sweepstakes, so we are out,” Cashman said. “I got a call (Sunday), this afternoon, the first round was presentations. And I don’t know who’s invited to Round Two, but we’re not.

“I started getting a feel that wasn’t good a few days ago. I knew that our presentation was excellent. The feedback from that was outstanding, but I did get a sense that I can’t change that we’re a big market and I can’t change that we’re in the east. So that was something that presentation or not, might be a difficult thing to overcome.  But we would see. Then I got the unfortunate news today that we were out of the picture. That does not mean that anybody east coast and anybody big market is out of the picture. I can’t speak for them. But I did get a feel that we were in jeopardy when I got praise on the presentation, but it felt like I was getting prepared for something that was coming that I wasn’t going to want to hear.”

Ohtani’s two problems with the Yankees? Cashman said he was told that it was that they’re not a small-market club, nor are they on the West Coast.

Cashman said he got the news earlier Sunday. The GM said the Yankees made a sterling presentation to his crew and that Ohtani’s agents — Creative Artists Agency — told him they were impressed, but that he received hints the pinstripes might not be in the running.

Cashman said he got the feeling that the Yankees were never really even being considered by Ohtani.

It’s a big loss for the Yankees, who had a once-in-a-generation opportunity to could slot Ohtani into the front of their rotation as a ace-level pitcher and possibly as an impact designated hitter.

“Listen,” Cashman said, “when players are in the marketplace like that, you do everything g you possibly can. In this case, we prepared with trade-deadline money acquisitions in international slot money, and we put forward everything we’re about. But if it’s not a fit, it’s not a fit.  You move on and continue to engage anything that’s available to make your better…We’re proud about what we have going on here in the city with the fans we have. It’s just not for everybody. We wish him the best of luck, he’s an exciting young talent. Some fan base is going to be excited about it, but unfortunately I’m delivering news I’d rather not.”

“My understanding is that Round Two is going to be in southern California, but again we got informed that we’re not invited to that second round.”

Last season, Ohtani hit .332 with eight homers and 31 RBI in 65 games, battling various injuries. In 2016, he hit .322 with 22 homers and 67 RBI while also going 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA in 21 games (20 starts). Several scouts have told NJ Advance Media they expect Ohtani to transition into full-time pitching eventually.

“It was a pretty extensive presentation, I can tell you that. Something we were real proud about. I know we knocked their socks off, but because of the way CAA responded to us that they were amazed about the amount of time and effort and passion that was put into it. I told our staff when we filed this, if it’s not gonna be us, it’s not because of us. I felt real comfortable and confident and proud about everything that we did. I can tell you with ease, if it’s not going to be us, it has nothing to do with us and everything we did to try to put ourselves in position to be the team to secure him. It’s just not going to be us.

“We’ve scouted him since 2012, we’ve been around it and unfortunately the one thing you can’t do is get in the house and get to know the person and the player. You’re flying blind a little bit, so all you can do is educate them about who you are and what you are and let the brand stand for itself. We did that, but at the end of the day, he has an opportunity as a posted player to pick where he’s gonna be most comfortable. That’s yet to be determined, but I can just tell you that it’s not going to be the New York Yankees.”

Greg Bird discusses the Aaron Boone hiring — December 3, 2017

Greg Bird discusses the Aaron Boone hiring

By George A. King III

birdy

If the Yankees attempted to pump life into the Yankees’ clubhouse by selecting Aaron Boone to replace Joe Girardi, they accomplished that goal with a big piece of the 2018 roster.

First baseman Greg Bird can’t wait to get to know Aaron Boone.

“I don’t have a personal relationship with him, but I am excited and everyone is excited to get to camp,’’ Bird told The Post via phone Saturday after a round of golf in Colorado. “We saw him when he did the ESPN games. He would come around and say, ‘What’s up?’ He seemed calm. I am looking forward to it. Everyone is looking forward to getting back to work. It didn’t work out the way we wanted it to last year.’’

That’s when the Yankees fell a game short of reaching the World Series for the first time since they won it in 2009.

Bird, a big part of the Yankees’ youth movement that includes Aaron Judge, Luis Severino and Gary Sanchez and might add 23-year-old Shohei Ohtani, has learned early on that things change.

“Joe was great to me. He is the only thing I know in the big leagues, but that is the nature of the business,’’ Bird said of Girardi being let go in October after 10 seasons at the perch Boone will inherit. “People move around.’’

In a day and age when the Yankees were looking for someone to communicate with people from all walks of baseball life as their manager they turned to Boone.

Never mind that Boone hasn’t been in a major league dugout since he retired following the 2009 season and his only exposure to the big leagues has been from the broadcast booth.

The Yankees selected Boone, 44, over five other candidates with an announcement expected this week.

Though nobody knows how Boone will turn out as a first-time manager handling a club that is expected to win 90-plus games and contend for a World Series title, his communication skills were easy to see 14 years ago when he was acquired from the Reds.

“When he was traded over here he impressed by how he transitioned to the clubhouse,’’ said John Flaherty, the Yankees’ backup catcher in 2003 when Boone joined the Yankees on July 31 and three months later carried them into the World Series with a Game 7, 11th-inning walkoff home run in the ALCS against Tim Wakefield and the Red Sox. “Everybody is talking about communication, well, he fit into the clubhouse easily and right away. That was pretty impressive.’’

Those who counter Boone’s lack of experience with the fact that he has been around the big leagues since he was seven when his dad, Bob, was a member of the 1980 World Series champion Phillies.

That was a team which featured hard-boiled players such as Pete Rose, Larry Bowa, Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski, John Vukovich, Dickie Noles and Tug McGraw with Dallas Green in charge. Those types of personalities have long vanished from baseball’s landscape.

“Looking back, no,’’ Bowa said if he ever imagined Boone becoming a big league manager. “But he has plenty of knowledge about baseball. The only drawback is that he hasn’t done anything at the major league level, but it is so much different now.’’

6 reasons Yankees won’t regret Aaron Boone hire — December 2, 2017

6 reasons Yankees won’t regret Aaron Boone hire

By Brendan Kuty

What Yankees manager candidate Carlos Beltran revealed about interview — November 30, 2017

What Yankees manager candidate Carlos Beltran revealed about interview

carlos beltran,

By Randy Miller

2017 MLB EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR: YANKEES GM BRIAN CASHMAN — November 28, 2017

2017 MLB EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR: YANKEES GM BRIAN CASHMAN

By George King

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v New York Yankees, Game 6

Hire them. Empower them. Don’t suffocate them.

That is Brian Cashman’s way of handling his staff. It’s a way that’s paid off.

The Yankees outperformed expectations by winning 91 games. They took the Red Sox to the final weekend in the AL East and went to Game Seven of the ALCS before falling to the eventual world champion Astros. Their eight prospect-packed domestic clubs produced a winning percentage of .602, the best in the sport.

In each case moves made by Cashman played a big part, which is why Cashman is Baseball America’s 2017 Major League Executive of the Year.

Before Cashman acquired Gleyber Torres, Justus Sheffield, Clint Frazier and Dillon Tate in July 2016 the talent in the Yankees’ system was already easy to spot. Luis Severino, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez transitioned from high-end prospects at the start of 2016 to very productive big league players in 2017.

So in 2017, the Yankees flipped the script. As contenders, they used that farm system to acquire Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson from the White Sox and Sonny Gray from the A’s. The price was steep, but the payoff was significant.

“It was difficult giving up 10 prospects but there were certain guys we were not going to give up at all. They were no go,” said managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner. “Sonny Gray will be great and we keep Sonny, it’s not like we got him for two or three months. The White Sox deal was good. Both deals were well thought out.”

The development of players like Jordan Montgomery, Miguel Andujar, Thairo Estrada, Tyler Wade, Chance Adams, Domingo Acevedo, Albert Abreu, Torres, Sheffield and Clint Frazier provided depth to cover for those lost in trades.

Talk to the people who work for Cashman and those above him and there is common thread connecting them: They aren’t suffocated by him.

“Cash is very deliberative. He seeks consensus and is inclusive in his information gathering,” team president Randy Levine said. “He is not defensive when his opinions are challenged but strong enough to go with his gut in making tough calls.”

Cashman says his job is far too big for one person to handle.

”Baseball operations is an extremely large operation. There is no way you can effectively micromanage domestic amateur, international, professional scouting (and) player development. Most important is selecting the right personnel and empowering them to do their jobs,” he said. “I do believe I am one of the easiest general managers to work for because I do believe we have a tremendous process in place that I learned from a lot of great people over time. We empower our personnel to do their job within the guidelines and be as effective as they possibly can be. All the departments have connected in what currently has become a productive picture of effectiveness and success in the present. It’s our challenge to make that picture bright and shiny.”

Tim Naehring, the Yankees vice president of baseball operations, has been with Cashman for a decade.

“He has done a very good job of leading by example, taking a step back and letting us do our job. He respects a lot of people’s opinions and he always has a platform for a variety of people,” Naehring said.

There was a time when being young and a Yankee meant being dealt because the path to the big leagues was blocked. That, according to Naehring, has changed.

“For years the players worked in the minor leagues thinking, ‘If I play well I might get traded because I am blocked.’ Cash has changed that culture to the point now where young players not only develop as Yankees but have the goal of playing at Yankee Stadium and helping a championship club,” Naehring said.

Damon Oppenheimer has been with the Yankees for 25 years, the last 15 as VP of domestic amateur scouting and appreciates the respect Cashman has for those under him.

“He doesn’t micromanage. It’s ‘Show me the process and get results.’ When he lets you do your job it makes it comfortable,” Oppenheimer said. “You still have heavy requirements but you don’t feel like you are working for a taskmaster who is just beating the hell out of you all the time.”

Jean Afterman has been Cashman’s assistant GM for 16 years. She also knew him as an adversary when she represented players.

“Brian’s remarkable qualities are the same, regardless of which side of the table you sit on.  He is smart, forthright, straightforward and honest.  He has integrity and an unwavering commitment to the New York Yankees.  That he has managed to keep all of these qualities consistent in the roller coaster fire-ride that is New York is an achievement in and of itself,” Afterman said.  “In addition to his loyalty to the Yankees, he is incredibly loyal to those who work for him. He is humble, and always gives credit to those around him.”

Now, the credit belongs to Cashman.

The Yankees’ short, simple Black Friday wishlist — November 22, 2017

The Yankees’ short, simple Black Friday wishlist

brian-cashmanjpg-

By Brendan Kuty