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Yankees Spring Training News & Notes: February 25, 2021

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Another quiet day for the Yankees in Tampa. So it goes. Spring training is in full swing and we’re not too far away from game action (this Sunday! and it’s on TV!).

Before we get to the story of the day and a few other notes, take a look at the ups and downs of Mike Tauchman’s day:

Take it easy there! It’s not even March yet. Then again, Tauchman is fighting for a job this spring. With Kyle Higashioka, Tyler Wade, and Brett Gardner assured bench roles already, there’s just one open spot remaining. Could be Tauchman, but he’ll have to beat out Jay Bruce and Derek Dietrich. At least Tauchman redeemed himself later:

Similar to what Lindsey tweeted, it’s still a lengthy spring training to get through. A lot of players are eager to head north within a week or two of Opening Day, but Tauchman could still be fighting for a job at that point.

Yankees Spring Training News & Notes: February 24, 2021

Happy Wednesday, everyone. It was another full day of Yankee camp – and yet another day without an injury. That’s two days in a row now. As the old saying goes, three is a streak. So let’s make it a streak, shall we?

Despite the full day of camp, it was again a (relatively) light news day today, so I’ll try to keep this one as brief as possible. Here is today’s video, before we get to it. This time it is Jameson Taillon throwing live BP to his new teammates:

Here’s to a great year from Jameson Taillon. It all starts here. Anyway, news after the jump.

Yankees Spring Training News & Notes: February 23, 2021

The gang’s all here.

The gang is all here now, including Brett Gardner. It’s a full camp and we made it a full day without an injury. I’m considering that a win. I bet you are too. Every day without an injury is a good day for the Yankees, especially after the last few years.

Today was a pretty quiet day in camp, all things considered. So that means that this is a pretty quick roundup. Funny how that works. But before we get into it…here is today’s requisite Tampa Video:

Some batting practice. You love to see it. On to the news.

The Big Story: The Roster Fills Out

The outstanding roster moves went down today: the Yanks officially signed left-handed reliever Justin Wilson and brought back Brett Gardner. The corresponding moves were designating Greg Allen for assignment and putting Luis Severino on the 60-day injured list to make room on the 40-man roster. We have known this coming for a while, but now it’s official. Here are the details on both signings:

  • Justin Wilson: one-year guaranteed at $2.85 million, with a $2.3 million player option for 2022. If declined, things get really interesting. Here are the full details, per Jon Heyman. Total is two-years, $5.15 million guaranteed.
  • Brett Gardner: one-year guaranteed at $1.85 million in 2021 with a $1 million signing bonus. He also has a $2.3 million player option in 2022, with more weird incentives for the Yankees. Total is two-years, $5.15 million guaranteed.

These are very weird contract structures! But they are also very smart contract structures, under the very specific format of the Competitive Balance Tax. The total “cap” hit for each player is $2.575 million, or $5.15 for the both of them. This is why the deals are structured as they are, and a part of me wonders if the league will do something about this sort of structure in the next CBA. It is borderline manipulation. But hey, it works!

Per Spotrac, the Yanks salary considerations is somewhere around $205 million. That’s probably exactly where the team wants to be. It leaves them enough room for midseason call-ups and any trades they may make without going over the almighty $210 million luxury tax threshold. Say what you will about that goal or the structures, but one thing is clear: Brian Cashman is outrageously good at his job. You just gotta hand it to him.

As is probably obvious, I like both of these moves. The Wilson signing makes a lot of sense to me, and I’m thrilled to have Gardner back. I think we can start having a real conversation about the roster and bench now – especially now that the team designated Greg Allen for assignment. That means one of Derek Dietrich or Jay Bruce will occupy the final slot on the roster. My money is on Dietrich, who I think is the more versatile and valuable player at this point.

We’ll see though. Point is that this is the last real roster update for a while. What we see is what we get now.

Leftovers

Again, pretty quiet day in camp. There are still some leftovers, though. Here’s what we’ve got today:

  • Gerrit Cole Rules: Friends, Gerrit Cole is the best. We’ve known this forever, of course, but I can’t get over it. Today, he continued to show that he is a Real One by sounding off on the Kevin Mather situation, analytics, and the current labor situation in the league. As usual, Cole was thoughtful with his responses. He also thanked Marvin Miller, something he did in his introductory press conference with the Yankees, along with Curt Flood. Keep it up, Gerrit.
  • Aaron Boone Weighs In: Speaking of Kevin Mather, Aaron Boone also offered his opinion. He said that service time manipulation “shouldn’t have a place in our game.” I agree, and it’s good to hear Boone say it, but it also rings a little hollow given that the Yankees are a team that has done this and will do it again. Still, nice to hear. It’s better than nothing, I guess.
  • Giancarlo Stanton, Outfielder: Boone also said that Giancarlo Stanton, who has primarily been relegated to DH status in the Bronx, may play in the outfield this season. I think it’s a good idea. Stanton is a career National Leaguer prior to the Yankees stint, and he is, contrary to popular belief, not made out of glass. He can play the outfield, and it should not be off-limits to him. Even if he’s primarily a DH, it’s fine. He’ll live.
  • Aaron Judge Speaks, with New Teeth: Aaron Judge, who saw a dentist in the last few weeks, says the Yanks are a “special group” that is poised to have a “special year” in 2021. I sure hope so. They have the talent and can get it done, but we hear this every year now. Would be nice to see the team deliver on the promise this season. Just one guy’s opinion!
  • Domingo Germán Speaks to the Team: Domingo Germán addressed the team twice today, first addressing pitchers and catchers and then the rest of the team. (They are divided for COVID-related reasons, I presume.) Aaron Boone says that he feels like “he has his teammates’ support.”
  • Luis Medina, in the Bronx: Aaron Boone didn’t rule out that 21-year-old Luis Medina might make his MLB debut this season, though he also didn’t really say he would, either. He basically said that he’s someone you’re hearing about more and more. “He’s somebody we’re very excited about … you never know what can happen. He’s somebody that we feel has a bright future and a Major League future”, Boone told Max Goodman. Fine with me. I love following Medina and hope he can take the next step.

And that’s that for another day in Yankees camp. If you missed it, please check out Randy’s vital writing on Kevin Mather, Ana’s great Views debut on DJ LeMahieu, and Derek’s positional preview on the catching depth chart. We’ll keep you posted if anything happens, but if not, we’ll see you tomorrow. Have a great night, everyone.

Yankees Spring Training News & Notes: February 22, 2021

Hello, friends.

Happy Monday! Today was another day in camp for the Yankees, which is always nice. It sort of looks like a horror movie outside in New York right now so I appreciated the bad Spring Training Twitter Photo genre even more than normal today, honestly. First, here are some photos of position players reporting to camp, which happened today:

Love it. And here is one such video, a slow-motion capture of Gerrit Cole throwing a live BP, courtesy of Lindsey Adler:

So, with today’s requisite photography and videography out of the way, on to today’s news and notes after the jump.

Yankees Spring Training News and Notes: February 21, 2021

It is podium season. (Via Yankees)

Another day, another practice for the Yankees. There is not as much today as there was in yesterday’s three-day update – funny how that works – but there is still enough to go around. I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel like it’s really Spring Training now. I mean, look at these videos:

You don’t get videos like that at just any time of year, folks. That is prime Spring Training material right there. (And hopefully the start of the Gary Sánchez Resurgence Tour.) Anyway, on to the major happenings from Yankee camp today.

The Big Story: The Germán Saga Continues

Look, I am not exactly thrilled that I have to write about this one again. I said everything I had to say on this situation yesterday and was hoping that would be that. Alas, it was not to be. The Domingo Germán saga continues and, to the surprise of exactly zero people, it is even uglier than it was yesterday. Today’s situation started with a new report from The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler:

The post is behind a paywall, but the new information is pretty straightforward: after the initial incident at CC Sabathia’s charity gala in September 2019, Germán and his girlfriend returned home. The violence escalated there, prompting the victim to reach out to the wife of a Yankee player. After that outreach, the couple went to Germán’s house, where the wife protected Germán’s girlfriend and the unnamed teammate tried to calm down the belligerent Germán.

All of this is to say: yikes. We already knew much of this story, but the more we find out, the worse it gets. And it really puts Zack Britton’s comments in perspective, I think. This situation directly involved members of the team beyond Germán. It is bad and it highlights why Britton was so candid. It is reasonable to wonder if his very presence is uncomfortable for several of his teammates.

After the story, Germán’s scheduled press availability was subsequently cancelled, and he released this statement:

The statement is pretty bland as these things go, but once again, the Germán drama impacted his teammates. This time it was Aroldis Chapman, whose press availability was set to precede Germán’s. Chapman, who himself has been abusive to women, said he spoke to Germán yesterday, advised him to address the team before meeting the press, and declined further comment on the situation.

What a mess this all is. It is not the opening to camp that anyone with the team would have liked, but I don’t really feel sorry for the organization. They made their bed by keeping Germán around. (And, it must be said, with their history with Chapman in the first place.) It is genuinely surprising to me how unprepared the Yankees have seemed for all of this. They have experience! Even still, Boone has not seemed equipped to handle questioning, Germán’s been absent, and the result is that other players have had to step up. It’s not great.

Regardless of your view on Germán’s (and/or Chapman’s) continued employment with the Yankees, it is undeniable that the team is handling this poorly from a communications perspective. What happens next remains to be seen, but it does not need to be this way. I just hope the Yanks do the right thing.

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