Category: Summer Camp Page 2 of 3

July 14 Yankees Camp Notes: J.A. Happ’s Contract, Aaron Judge’s Injury, & More

(Via Yankees)

It is Tuesday, and we are now four days away from the Yankees’ first exhibition game. That’ll be on Saturday against the crosstown rival Mets. It’ll be interesting to see if the Yankees deploy a five-man infield with Zack Britton on the mound and how the pitching lines up generally. We are getting really close to real game action, so all of this stuff is starting to get more relevant.

That’s all good news. More good news: the Yankees released a new commercial, this time featuring everybody’s favorite fourth outfielder, Mike Tauchman:

Good stuff. The Yanks are getting good at these commercials. Anyway, let’s get to today’s news.

The Big Story: J.A. Happ’s Option

Last week, both Derek and I confidently told you that J.A. Happ’s vesting option would be prorated under the terms of the March 26 agreement between MLB and MLBPA. There was no reason to assume otherwise. Then, last night, Joel Sherman of the New York Post introduced a new wrinkle into the conversation. Apparently, Happ is one of a few players not covered under the terms of that agreement. Weird!

That means that Happ’s option will not be strictly prorated. If it was, Happ would need to start 10 games or throw 60 innings for his full $17 million option to vest for 2021, but now that’s not necessarily the case. Now those terms will need to be completely renegotiated. If the two parties can’t reach an agreement, it’ll go to arbitration.

This is all very strange. Andy Martino of SNY reported that the clause was intended for players who “weren’t expected to be available from day one of the season were carved out a bit.” I’m not sure why that would mention Happ. He was pitching in Spring Training and he appeared to be healthy. It’s always possible – perhaps even likely, given Yankee injury tomfoolery these days – that there was some weird injury we didn’t know about, but it doesn’t really add up. Anyway, Martino says the Yankees and Happ are working to resolve this “confusion.”

I’d guess that both parties want to get this sorted out as quickly as possible. There’s no use in waiting around. It’s definitely a “win” for the Yankees, though. The Happ contract was already a bit questionable even before his lackluster 2019 performance. Factor that in, coupled with the fact that both James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka are free agents following this season, and it becomes clear that the Yankees would prefer not to pay Happ $17 million for 2021. (Here’s an updated primer on the Yankees payroll situation from a few months ago, which should still be relevant.)

I actually happen to think Happ got especially screwed by last year’s rocketball – he gave up a disproportionate amount of HR – but even still, it’s not a contract the team wants. There’s no way Happ would get $17 million on the open market right now. He’s 37-years-old with declining velocity and spin rates on top of generally declining performance.

As for Happ, it’s a tough blow obviously. He negotiated a great contract for himself only to seemingly get screwed out of the option due to the pandemic. It is unfortunate, and I hope for his sake that whatever terms he get are achievable and can’t be easily fudged by the Yankees by using an opener or whatever. Hopefully, he and the Yanks can reach a fair agreement without an arbiter, which will give everyone peace of mind. More to come on this.


  • Daily Aaron Judge Update: Aaron Judge was on the field today, so hooray for that. He apparently even took batting practice. Still, it’s not all good news. He was undergoing treatment earlier in the day. Despite that, Judge was questionable for tonight’s game a few hours ago. It wasn’t meant to be. For what it’s worth, there have been no tests so far, just treatment. That’s allegedly good news, but given the last 16 months, it makes my skin crawl anyway. I’m sure I’m not alone.
  • Giancarlo Stanton is Still Healthy: Am I the only one who thinks it’s weird how we are constantly getting Giancarlo Stanton injury updates? He had a quad strain in Spring Training that meant he should only miss a few weeks of the season. It should be a distant memory by now. Makes me think there was some setback or additional injury. Oh well. In any case, he is healthy. That, despite anything else, is good news.
  • Masahiro Continues to Get Better: Look, I’m going to level with you. If a 112 mph rocket off Giancarlo Stanton’s bat drilled me square in the face, I would not watch the video “many times.” I assumed that to be standard operating procedure, but I guess that’s what makes me different than our friend Masahiro Tanaka. He feels good despite the concussion and hopes begin preliminary bullpen sessions soon. That’s good news. Less good is Masahiro’s update regardinghis decision to move his family from Florida – I don’t want to assume, but it doesn’t sound good. Be better, people.
  • Gio Urshela at Second Base Alert: I’m definitely going to chalk this one up to camp weirdness, but Gio Urshela was playing second base today. I guess that opens up a possibility that Miguel Andújar plays 3rd with Gleyber at short and Gio at 2nd while DJLM is out. I’m not really sure how I feel about that, but it’s change, and change is exciting!
  • Bern, Baby, Bern: Neil Payne over at FiveThirtyEight has a good read today appreciating Bernie Williams. Anyone reading this blog surely already adores Bernie – if you don’t, what the hell is wrong with you? – but it’s always good to remember just how dominant he really was. I don’t think any Yankee fan with memories of the era undervalues him, but it’s absolutely true that the Core Four stuff has diminished his legacy. That’s a damn shame.
  • Yanks Sign Draft Picks: The Yankees have now signed all three of their 2020 Amateur Draft selections. In addition to Austin Wells, they’ve signed fourth rounder Beck Way to a $600,000 deal and third-rounder Trevor Hauver to a $587,000 deal. Learn more about Beck here and Hauver here.

There is a game tonight, remember. Chad Green is taking on Jordan Montgomery. Here are the lineups:

We’re closer and closer to real action and that’s exciting. Enjoy tonight’s game, but before you do, check out this old Bernie walkoff from the 1999 ALCS. Love that dude.


July 13 Yankee Camp Notes: Aroldis Chapman and the 2020 Season, Aaron Judge’s Neck, & Other News

Happy Monday, everyone. The Yankees are just practicing today – they’re not doing another intrasquad game. That will come tomorrow, and hopefully Aaron Judge will be in it. I haven’t done one of these since Friday (sorry about that), so this one might get a little long. Let’s get right into this one today, as there’s quite a bit to cover.

The Big Story: Aroldis Chapman, COVID-19, and the Season

(Via Yankees)

I would like for there to be a baseball season. My life is better with baseball in it, and, given the fact you’re reading this blog, my guess is that yours is, too. It’s been cathartic to think about on-field stuff over the last two weeks and I am looking forward to the games counting. However, with that said, this weekend’s Aroldis Chapman news really underscores how challenging and risky this entire exercise really is.

Chapman tested positive for COVID, of course. He is the third Yankee, after DJ LeMahieu and Luis Cessa, to do so – but he is the first to do so after arriving at camp. Chapman has been working out with the team and has presumably been in close contact with his teammates. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Chapman unwittingly spread it to other Yankees (and their families) but it does mean it’s a real possibility. That’s just how it is.

The news came on Saturday, just a few hours after Royals catcher Cam Gallagher also tested positive. Gallagher was asymptomatic and even played in Friday night’s intrasquad game, saying he “felt great” and then he learned that his “most recent test had come back positive.” Like with Chapman, that means the entire Royals team has been exposed.

That news came just a few hours after the Astros cancelled their Saturday workout because a staff member tested positive. Another team, in a third state, all exposed within 24 hours of one another. It is worth remembering that this also includes the players’ families, ballpark workers, taxi drivers, and countless others.

This all brings us to today. Like last weekend, the weekend proved problematic for MLB’s testing infrastructure. The Astros and Cubs, potentially among others, have delayed or cancelled workouts today due to delays in test results. Different teams, in different states, all have different local protocols guiding their workouts. (subs req’d.) It is all going to be tremendously, tremendously challenging.

And, frankly, challenging is the kindest way to put it. It’s only been 13 days since MLB teams have reported to camp and the cracks in the league’s COVID infrastructure is already showing. Once we inject travel, broadcast teams, and other factors in a few weeks, it may only get worse – and more dangerous. I really, really want it to work. I really hope it can work. If it’s going to, though, MLB is going to have to clean this up, and fast.


  • Saturday’s Starters: J.A. Happ and Clarke Schmidt went at it again on Saturday and both of them looked pretty good. Schmidt was a bit more wild than I’d like – 3 walks in 2.2 innings – but both only gave up 1 run. I’m not going to get too tied up in any results these days, at least not until exhibition games, but it’s nice to see both of these guys looking good so far.
  • Mike King and Gerrit Cole: Mike King was yesterday’s other pitcher he is apparently learning from the new ace. This is yet another example of Cole’s impacting extending even beyond the on-field stuff. Check it out:
  • Young Arms on the Bump: A bunch of prospects threw BP today according to the Yanks, including Albert Abreu, Domingo Acevedo, Brooks Kriske, and Nick Nelson. Pretty cool. Relatedly, Boone said over the weekend that the Yanks’ secondary training site (in Moosic, PA) will be operational this week.
  • Rosell Herrera is Banged Up: Boone said today that former Spring Training darling Rosell Herrera is dealing with some “heel issues” that have prevented him from going at full speed so far. That’s too bad for him, honestly, as he looked like he had won the job a few months ago. We’ll see what it means for him.

Believe it or not, Opening Day is a week from Thursday. Remember, the Yanks have exhibition games against the Mets on Saturday and Sunday and against the Phillies on Monday. Today’s “off” day will be one of their only remaining such days until October, if all goes well. They’ll take the diamond again tomorrow, with Jordan Montgomery and Chad Green starting that one.

Enjoy your night, everyone.

July 10 Yankees Camp Notes: Bullpen Advantage, Deivi and Montgomery, Thairo Estrada

It is disgusting outside, so it was a good idea for the Yankees to hold off their next intrasquad game until tomorrow. The Yanks will take the field again at 5:15 pm for another intrasquad game. It’s a rematch of the first one, with camp darling Clarke Schmidt taking on J.A. Happ.

The gross weather means it’s a quiet day for news, so I’ll keep this short. However, we did get this video today, which you should watch before we get into the news and notes from today:

The Big Story: Bullpen, Bullpen, Bullpen


The bullpen and its usage is really worthy of its own post, so I’m going to keep this brief, but I wanted to bring it up today because I haven’t yet. The Yankee bullpen is extremely good – and they’ve looked extremely good so far. It’s going to be a huge factor in a short sprint of a season, and I think you could argue it already is playing a huge role.

“Pitchers are always going to have an advantage early [on in a season],” Mike Tauchman told reporters yesterday. “One of the advantages to facing our pitching is that they’re just running out All-Star after All-Star, elite arm after elite arm. I think that that’s going to help us adjust pretty quickly when competition starts”

I think that’s a great point from Tauchman, who also noted that pitchers have an easier time reaching game speed and intensity while working out on their own. The Yanks batters will face one of the premier bullpens in baseball day-in and day-out during this camp. Will that help them round into form quicker than it would if they had a trash bullpen? I’m not sure, but it feels like a good point from Tauchman so I’m going to roll with it. Why not?

Anyway, it sure does feel like the Yankee pen is looking about as good as we’d expect it to. Zack Britton agrees:

Seems about right to me. They’ve all looked really good. And while the starters have shown an ability to throw a lot recently, the Yanks are still going to be relying heavily on their pen, especially out of the gate. This is a good sign for the Yanks. I’m curious how they’ll manage workloads and leverage, but it’s going to be fun to watch. The first step is getting these guys consistent reps and up-to-speed, though. The good news is that it seems like they’re already there. Next step: July 23.


  • Deivi García With A Limited Appearance: Everyone’s favorite Yankee prospect Deivi García took the hill last night and he looked good – albeit in limited action. He retired the side 1-2-3 in the first “inning”, getting Mike Tauchman to fly out and Miguel Andújar to ground out to third before retiring Gary Sánchez on strikes (video below). As Aaron Boone said, it was “good” for Deivi to get action in the Bronx, but I’m interested by the length. He only threw 12 pitches. Maybe he’s just being eased into action – or maybe the Yanks are prepping him for the bullpen. His stuff would certainly play there in the short season before returning to the rotation in 2021. I’m good with that, personally. Don’t let the Joba memory scare you.
(Via Brendan Kuty)
  • Jordan Montgomery Goes 4 Innings: Yesterday’s big story, I argued, was the return of Jordan Montgomery to the mound. Gumby looked pretty good out there, lasting 4 innings and throwing 58 pitches. He got 3 strikeouts against 2 walks (62% strike rate). I’ll take it. Montgomery himself said his arm feels about as “the best it has in a long time“, which is the most important thing. He’s healthy, and hopefully that means he’ll be able to contribute like it’s 2017. Here’s some video of him striking out Aaron Judge:
(Via Max Goodman)
  • Summer of Thairo: Another game, another homer for Thairo Estrada, who has two so far. The 24-year-old infielder is a favorite of mine. I hope he can keep it up.
  • Tommy Kahnle’s Changeup Usage: Check out this analysis from Ben Clemens over at FanGraphs on Tommy Kahnle and the innovative way he uses his changeup. It’s worth the read.
  • Notes from Up North: Future nemesis Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is no longer a third baseman. Reports are that he will focus on 1B and DH, with third as a backup option. This move makes sense for a lot of reasons. I think people sleep on the Blue Jays as a potential pain in the ass.
  • COVID Issues: Surprise surprise, it’s becoming clear that the testing infrastructure MLB promised is very difficult to deliver. There was a really embarrassing display from the league not testing folks arriving from the Dominican Republic yesterday on top of just general logistical concerns. I’ve kept it very baseball-heavy lately (this is, after all, a baseball blog) but this is 100% the biggest story out there. This all falls apart if they can’t keep this up.

We’ll keep you posted if anything else interesting happens before tomorrow’s game, but I doubt there will be anything. Enjoy your rainy Friday night, everyone. We’ll see you tomorrow.

July 9 Yankees Camp Notes: Jordan Montgomery Takes on Deivi García After Increasing Velocity This Spring

(Via Yankees)

Another day, another intrasquad game for the Yanks. As I noted earlier, we’re somehow just two weeks away from Opening Day. It’s all happening so fast. The Yanks already announced their “lineups” for the night, and they’re actually different than when I wrote earlier that we’ve seen the same lineup every time:

The big difference is obviously that Sánchez is hitting with the B-squad while Kyle Higashioka hits with the A-team. Rosell Herrera, a darling of a Spring Training that feels like it happened a century ago, is also subbing for Tyler Wade at 2B. A lineup we’ll probably see pretty early on in the season, in other words. There continue to be few surprises here. (And, yes, obviously there are two DHs. But none of this matters.)

The Big Story: Jordan Montgomery Takes the Hill

Yes, yes, I know. Everyone wants to hear about Deivi García. I understand why. He’s the prospect darling of Yankee fandom, after all. I get it. But I don’t think he has much more than an outside chance at meaningful innings at this point – I’d love for him to prove me wrong, though – so as much as I want to see him, I’m more interested in Jordan Montgomery tonight. He’s going to be in the rotation if he’s healthy, and he’s pretty interesting at this point.

Like Miguel Andújar yesterday, I think people forget how good Montgomery was in his rookie year. (Granted, that was 2017, but still.) He was the best rookie pitcher in baseball, believe it or not. He’s a five-pitch pitcher (FB/SNK/CU/CH/SL) who, in theory, would have a tough time rebounding from Tommy John given his low velocity. Then, Spring Training happened.

The guy was an absolute stud, racking up 16 strikeouts, 1 walk, and just 7 hits allowed in his 11 innings of work. That’s cool, but it’s Spring Training, right? Underneath all of that success, though, was an uptick in velocity. Reports were that Monty was hitting 94 on the gun, which is a pretty significant uptick for a guy who averaged less than 92 mph on his fastball from 2017-19.

There is some evidence that Tommy John surgery can “improve” velocity by repairing ligaments that were damaged even before the injury was known – therefore reducing velocity inadvertently – and maybe that’s what happened here. We don’t get a gun on the broadcast, unfortunately, so we’ll have to wait to hear what the team says. Still, Montgomery was looking really, really good earlier this year and I’m excited to check him out tonight. Let’s hope he looks as good as he did in March. That’d be nice.


It’s a quiet day today so far. They’ll probably have some sort of press availability after the intrasquad game, so we’ll update this with anything relevant after that. Until then:

  • Tomorrow’s Schedule: Aaron Boone expects tomorrow to be an off-day given some expected bad weather. (Bryan Hoch) It’s supposed to be bad all weekend, which is unfortunate because I am looking forward to seeing Jonathan Loaísiga pitch on Saturday.
  • CC Sabathia, GOAT: As I’m sure everyone around here knows, CC Sabathia absolutely rules. Retirement has not made this any less true, as is obvious from this great story with the big fella by Lindsey Adler (subs req’d).
  • Dellin Betances, Met: File this one under “things you just absolutely hate to see.” Dellin Betances is a Met, and he just looks wrong in that blue and orange. It’s not right and it will never sit right with me. Dellin was an all-time favorite – even more than Didi, who ruled – and it sucks to see him gone. It also sucks that he’s apparently only throwing 93 mph, but he’s always a slow starter with velocity. I hope he regains it. Good Dellin is as fun to watch as anyone, and I’ll be rooting for him even if he’s in the wrong borough.
  • 2021 Schedule (lol): Folks, we have a 2021 MLB already. Opening Day 2021 will be April 1 at home against the Blue Jays. There’s a long way between now and then, so I’m not going to spill any additional ink on it. Check out the full thing here if you’re so inclined.

First “pitch” is set for 6 pm. It’s really nice to have some YES on at night as work winds down again, isn’t it? How I’ve missed it. Enjoy the “game”, everyone.

July 8 Yankees Camp Notes: Miguel Andújar Takes Gerrit Cole Deep, Injury News, and More

(Via Yankees)

Happy Wednesday. The Yankees have now played back-to-back intrasquad games and it’s starting to feel like a rhythm again. My favorite moment of camp so far isn’t a home run or strike out pitch but instead Brett Gardner being hilarious. Check this out:

(Via Justin Diamond)

I love that despite the fact it is extremely dystopian, but hey: this is the new normal. We might as well have fun with it, if we can. I wonder if the Yankees will do this all summer. We won’t find out for a while, as I’m not sure when the next televised Yankee event will be (they are airing some workouts, FYI), but we do know there are three exhibition games starting on July 18. That will be cool.

Before we get to today’s news, though, check out this new commercial from the Yankees:

(Via Yankees)

Not that there was ever a doubt – it’s been obvious for a while now – but the Yankees are really Judge’s team now. With CC gone, Judge is the undisputed face of the franchise. Now let’s just keep him healthy.

The Big Story: Miguel Andújar, Back in Action

Everyone, myself included, got in front of their TV last night to watch Gerrit Cole take the mound in the Bronx. Meaningless game or not, we’ve been waiting a very long time to see exactly that. And then, in the “top of the first”, Miguel Andújar came to the plate and did this:

(Via YES)

Everyone, including Ryan Ruocco and Ken Singleton – an incredible booth, by the way – was focused on Cole, and Andújar immediately stole the show. It was pretty funny, but it was also a reminder that Andújar is healthy once again. I’m looking forward to getting his bat back in the order regularly. It’s easy to forget, but our man was a straight up stud in 2018. He hit .297/.328/.527 (130 wRC+)! Bad defense, an injury, and persistent trade rumors seem to obscure this in many fans’ minds. I mean, check out his 2018 stats, with rankings among qualified rookies in parentheses:

  • Home Runs: 27 (1st)
  • Batting Average: .297 (3rd)
  • wRC+: 130 (4th, behind Ohtani, Juan Soto, and Ronald Acuña, Jr.)
  • Contact Rate: 81.9% (4th)
  • Strikeout Rate: 16% (4th lowest)
  • Isolated Power: .230 (4th)
  • fWAR: 2.8 (t-7th with Shohei Ohtani)

He was damn, damn good and very fun to watch. He’s a different kind of hitter than the Yankees are used to – he’s a free swinger who makes a ton of contact and doesn’t strikeout or walk – and I think they missed him last year. I’m not a Three True Outcome™ crank by any means, but it’s nice to have some variety. (I do think this played a role in why Yankee fans fell in love with DJ LeMahieu last year, as well.) He adds another level of dynamism to the Yankee lineup, and let’s hope he’s a regular fixture in it.

There are still questions about his defense – remember, the Yankees pulled him early in every playoff game in 2018 – but he absolutely should play a major role on this team either as a rotating infielder, outfielder, or DH. The point is that it’s good that he’s back and healthy. The Yanks are better with Andújar in the lineup, and, hopefully, yesterday was just the first in a series of reminders of that.


  • Gerrit Cole is Intense as Hell: Gerrit Cole has been a Yankee heartthrob for years and his performance and disgusting stuff is obviously why. But the Yankees have been gushing about Cole’s makeup and personality since signing him in December. We got an example of that yesterday, when he was intense as hell during a completely meaningless intrasquad scrimmage game. “I was trying to win. Unfortunately, we lost,” Cole told Lindsey Adler. The dude is capital-I Intense. I mean, David Hale got 5 outs in one inning and Cole still did this when he missed a spot (and still got an out!):
  • Michael King Looked Sharp: Continuing a trend of pitchers being ahead of batters, Michael King looked very good yesterday. He’s been a darling of prospect watchers for a while now and I’m really rooting for him. He and Schmidt will hopefully make it very difficult on the Yankees for playing time this summer. Anyway, King was asked about his pitch selection and went into some depth about it. Good stuff. Check it out:
  • A “Little Foot Injury”: Folks, we have another injury. This time, it’s Clint Frazier, who is, according to Aaron Boone, “dealing with a little foot issue.” Apparently he has been for months (this sounds like plantar fasciitis to me. Update 5:44pm: It is, in fact plantar fasciitis.) The Yanks are easing him into playing time, which makes sense, but this is honestly laughable at this point. It wouldn’t take long to develop a Yankees injury generator for how the team talks about injuries: “[Insert player] is nursing a little [body part]. Initial tests were positive and [player] is in good spirits. He’ll bounce back quickly.” Then we don’t see the player in action again until next year.
  • COVID Injured List: The Yankees placed DJ LeMahieu and Luis Cessa on the 10-day injured list. (Bryan Hoch) Both players will need to test negative twice before being permitted to join the team.
  • Pitching Race: My personal favorite Jonathan Loáisiga is in the park, having cleared his COVID test. He is scheduled to throw two innings on Saturday. As you can imagine, I am very much looking forward to that. He can be a real weapon out of the bullpen, I think.
  • Tanaka at the Park: Hey, look – a Masahiro Tanaka sighting. That’s good. Hopefully he’s doing ok after that nasty liner. (Update 5:44pm: Tanaka is continuing to exercise and workout with no ill effects.)
  • Being Black in Baseball: Howard Bryant has a very, very good story over at ESPN today that is worth your time. The Yankees factor into it a bit, with Bryant noting that the Yankees are “subtly discouraging their new superstar, Aaron Judge, from being publicly vocal on racial issues.” I touched on this a bit here, and I’d really like to hear more about this specific issue. It feels like there’s a whole story there. Anyway, as always, Bryant covers a the intersection of race and sports with the care and perspective it deserves. Check it out.
  • World Series Odds: SportsLine gives the Yankees a 20.8% chance of winning the World Series in 2020. That’s second only to the Dodgers, who are given a 25.1% chance. These are clearly the two best teams in baseball, so it makes sense on a basic level. At the same time, though, color me extremely skeptical that there is essentially a one-in-two chance that the Dodgers or Yankees win the World Series this year. It’s a 60-game season with expanded playoffs. Way, way too much can happen for me to be comfortable with these odds. Still, it’d be nice.

There is no “game” to watch tonight, but that’s okay. Opening Day is now just 15 days away (apparently) and will be here before we know it. I look forward to that. Enjoy the rest of your night, everyone. I leave you with this:

That Gary sure is scary.

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