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Thoughts on LeMahieu, pitching, and more as snow falls in the New York area

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It’s been a while since any of us has shared a thoughts post, hasn’t it? Not like there’s been much going on in the Yankees’ universe, anyway. We have heard a bit more from the team in the media of late, whether it’s appearances on the YES Network hot stove show or elsewhere. And now that I’ve finished shoveling (twice already), I have some thoughts on what we’ve heard from in recent days, so let’s get to it.

On the latest with DJ LeMahieu. By now you’ve surely seen the reports that the Yankees and DJ LeMahieu are $25 million apart in contract negotiations. Sounds bad, doesn’t it? But really, it’s not. The difference here really is a matter of years, not money. Per the initial NJ.com report, LeMahieu’s camp is seeking $100 million over five seasons, whereas the Yankees prefer four years for $75 million. We’re really talking about one year difference in term and $1.25 million in average annual value.

LeMahieu turns 33 in July and the Yankees’ preference is to have his contract end sooner. That’s always sensible with a player entering his mid-to-late thirties. Meanwhile, LeMahieu wants to scratch out as much as he can since this likely is his final chance to cash in. Also sensible! But perhaps most importantly in this negotiation, both sides have clearly signaled a desire to reunite. At some point, I imagine the Yankees and LeMahieu will compromise on some sort of option for that fifth year.

Now, I must admit all of this admiration and negotiation through the media has grown a little tiring for me. Just get a deal done, already. A blogger needs some news to keep content going, you know.

Even considering my own impatience, I am a little confused about the Yankees unwillingness to do anything until the LeMahieu situation is resolved. The Yankees have something like $30 million of space below the first luxury tax threshold and it’s not like LeMahieu is going to eat up all of that. Sure, he’ll take up a good chunk, but there should still be something like $10 million to play with. I get that the front office isn’t going to turn and sign say, Marcus Semien, since that would eliminate them from retaining LeMahieu. But what about some position player depth? Another relief arm? I don’t know. Again, I’m desperate for something.

News & Notes: Cashman on YES, Hicks, Cortes returns

The Winter Meetings have come and gone with a thud. Sure, a few deals went down, but nothing earth-shattering. I suppose this was to be expected. Rather than a steady flow of rumors and moves, it was just like every other week this offseason.

Brian Cashman sheds some light on the Yankees’ offseason

The Yankees stood pat this week, but we do have some team-related news to relay, mostly thanks to Brian Cashman’s interview on YES yesterday. NJ.com’s Randy Miller transcribed a number of relevant quotes which I’ll break down here as well.

  • Cashman expressed the team’s intent to bring back free agent DJ LeMahieu. No shocker here.
  • After discussing LeMahieu, Meredith Marakovits asked if Masahiro Tanaka fits into the picture if the team re-signs LeMahieu. Cashman was very coy here, basically saying he couldn’t answer the question about what fits into the team’s budget. I’ve seen folks read that response as if Tanaka is a goner. I understand that sentiment, especially given his openness about wanting to bring back DJLM. However, it’s not like he was directly asked about wanting to bring back Tanaka. I wonder if he used the question being targeted toward the financial aspect to avoid talking about Tanaka at all. Perhaps that means a reunion with Tanaka isn’t out of the cards, though maybe I’m just overthinking it.
  • The GM had plenty of good things to say about Gary Sánchez, though he couched his statement by saying that they’re not giving him a pass. Cashman cited how hard he hit the ball this season when he made contact, which was obviously an issue for him (36 percent strikeout rate). It should come as no surprise that the team tendered him a contract last week based on Cashman’s steadfast belief in the backstop.
  • It sure sounds like Domingo Germán has been welcomed back based on the way Cashman spoke about the rotation. Hal Steinbrenner had previously said the team would need “proof that he [Germán] turned his life around”.
  • Cashman would like to add to the rotation this offseason, but he also stated that “you could certainly daydream” that the pitching staff might actually have everything that it already needs. Look, I love some of the young arms that this team has, but let’s add some depth please.

Aaron Hicks says his elbow still isn’t 100 percent

In addition to Cashman, the Yankees’ center fielder was also on YES last night. I believe Hicks mentioned this during the regular season, but I found it notable that he said yesterday that his elbow still doesn’t feel 100 percent after Tommy John surgery. Perhaps it won’t be, which stinks.

As Hicks noted in the interview, he felt like it took him until the end of the year to really feel more like himself. His numbers bore this out too. Offensively, that may be as a result of changing his swing so he doesn’t hyperextend his elbow. I’m pretty sure this is the first we’ve heard of Hicks having to adjust his swing mechanics since the surgery.

Nestor Cortes is back in the organization

Per his own Instagram account, Nestor Cortes has re-signed with the Yankees after spending 2020 with the Mariners. The Yanks dealt him to Seattle last offseason, and sheesh, did Cortes struggle. He had a 15.26 ERA in 7 2/3 innings with the Mariners. Elbow issues appear to be the blame here as an elbow impingement shut his season down mid-August. The lefty is now pitching in the Dominican Republic, so he’s presumably healthy.

The Yankees haven’t announced the move yet, but it’s safe to assume that this is a minor league deal. I’m sure we’ll see Cortes receive an invite to spring training, too. Odds are he’s just minor league depth during 2021, though he could serve as a mop-up man if absolutely needed in the big leagues.

News & Notes: Winter league update, Hall of Fame ballot release, Kahnle, McDaniel

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Got a few tidbits to pass along today. Not much yet with regard to the hot stove, but there are a few things Yankees-related that have happened in recent days. Let’s get to it.

An update on Yankees in LIDOM

Domingo Germán pitched in his first professional game since his suspension for domestic violence began at the end of the 2019 season. He contributed four no-hit innings with seven strikeouts in Toros del Este’s combined no-hitter in its season opener. We still haven’t heard anything about Germán’s future with the Yankees other than Hal Steinbrenner’s words last month.

For whatever it’s worth, I found it interesting that Germán wasn’t listed on the following YES graphic yesterday:

Not sure if that means anything. Anyway, let’s move on to other players in the organization down in the DR.

News & Notes: Winter League Opener, Yadier Molina rumor, and a James Paxton update

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Awards season trudges on as the hot stove remains pretty quiet. Tonight, we’ll find out the AL and NL MVPs. As you know, DJ LeMahieu is a finalist in the AL. The Yankees haven’t had an MVP winner since A-Rod won in 2007. The winner will be announced on MLB Network at 6 p.m. eastern. While you wait for that, here’s the latest Yankees-related news:

Domingo Germán to start Dominican Winter League Opener

If we are to believe Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner, Domingo Germán’s future with the Yankees is still up in the air. Tonight could be his first step in a return to pinstripes though, as he starts the season opener for Toros Del Este in the Dominican Winter League. I don’t know what Hal needs to see from Germán in order to bring him back next year, but it very well could be lip service. Frankly, I fully expect the team to bring him back without (publicly) addressing any rehabilitation following his domestic violence suspension.

Also of note, Miguel Andújar and Gary Sánchez will Germán’s teammates, though Gary isn’t expected to report to the team until next month. We’ll see if Miggy is in the lineup tonight.

If you want to watch the game this evening, you can register here. It’s $15 for the full season, which is a bargain.

News & Notes: Boone stays, Thames interviewing, Germán’s return, Britton’s option, Hank Aaron Award

He’s staying.

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t spent too much time watching baseball since the Yankees were eliminated. I’ve tried to tune in to the NLCS, but my goodness, Globe Life Field is incredibly depressing. What an awful ballpark. As for the ALCS? Just can’t do it. Seeing Tampa Bay going for the sweep tonight is a bummer knowing that the Yankees would have stomped Houston. Sigh. Anyway, here’s the latest in the Yankees’ world:

  • End of season press conferences: Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman spoke to the media today. We recapped it here.
  • Boone is staying: In case you couldn’t already tell from press conference earlier, this is not a huge surprise. Yesterday, Hal Steinbrenner said on The Michael Kay Show that the manager would return in 2021. At the minimum, that means the team will pick up his 2021 option. It could also mean an extension. We’ll see.
  • Marcus Thames interviews for Detroit’s open managerial gig: The hitting coach would be missed here in the Bronx, but is more than deserving. He interviewed with the Tigers last week.
  • Domingo Germán’s future: In the same interview, Hal was asked about whether or not he’d be comfortable having Germán on the roster next season. His response: “I have to absolutely feel comfortable that he deeply, deeply regrets and is sorry for what he did, and I absolutely have to be comfortable with the fact that he’s turned his life around”. The details of the incident aren’t public, but it sure doesn’t sound good.
  • Details on Zack Britton’s option: The reliever told the New York Post that, based on his understanding, the Yankees have to decide on his 2022 option three days after the end of the World Series. If declined, Britton will have two days to decide on opting out of 2021.
  • DJ LeMahieu is the Yankees’ Hank Aaron Award Nominee: MLB announced each team’s candidate this morning. LeMahieu, who won the batting title with a .364 batting average, also had the American League’s best wRC+ (177). He’s got to be the favorite in the AL, no?
  • Send us your mailbag questions: Just a friendly reminder here. Shoot an email to viewsfrom314 [at] gmail [dot] com and we’ll consider your question for upcoming mailbag posts.

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