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Game 143: Lindor, Mets get the last laugh

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With tonight’s 7-6 loss to the Mets, the Yankees are now out of a Wild Card spot. The team’s tumble continues — they’ve coughed up 10.5 games to the Blue Jays in 16 games — and are now one game behind the Red Sox for the second Wild Card spot (albeit even in the loss column). There are 19 games left to turn this thing around, though I’m not holding my breath.

Francisco Lindor stole the show tonight and hit three home runs to effectively carry the Mets on his back. He also jawed with the Yankees about yesterday’s game (Taijuan Walker pitch tipping), but ultimately, Lindor’s go-ahead solo homer against Chad Green in the 8th was the knockout punch. More on that in the takeaways after the jump:

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New York Mets Series Preview: September 10 to 12

Well, if this isn’t rock bottom for the 2021 Yankees it’s certainly close. After losing a series to the putrid Orioles, the Yankees got swept by the Blue Jays in truly embarrassing fashion. Bobby outlined just how poor they played in that series in last night’s recap. Since the 13 game winning streak, the Yankees are 2-10, lost 6 straight, and dropped 3 straight series to teams that are currently not in a playoff position. The playoff win probability chart says it all:

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The Yankees playoff odds have dropped from over 95% to just over 57% with the Blue Jays nipping at their heels. The turnaround needs to start and it needs to start tonight. Luckily for the Yankees, they are not the most publicly embarrassing organization in the city and they start a 3 game series against that team – the crosstown rival Mets – tonight.

Setting baseball aside for a moment, this is a very important series because it’s the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and I’m sure the ceremonies will respectfully honor the important occasion. Hopefully it is a weekend of healing for the people and the city who can never forget what happened.

Winter Meetings Day 3 Recap: Mets get moving, Cleveland listening on Lindor, MiLB announcement

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While the Yankees remain quiet, there are rumors involving other ballclubs to pass along today. Particularly with the Yankees’ crosstown rivals, the Mets. The Yankees will do something…eventually…but that day doesn’t appear to be today, unless something comes out of the blue. For now, let’s get to the latest around the league:

Mets closing in on deal with James McCann — or are they?

Conventional wisdom indicated that the Mets would be in hot pursuit of JT Realmuto this offseason. Instead, it appears the team is going with James McCann instead. There’s no doubt that Realmuto is the best catcher in baseball at this moment, but McCann certainly will come at a lower cost.

McCann has been quite good since 2019, albeit after an extended stretch of pretty lousy play in years prior. Through 2018, the soon-to-be Met had a .240/.288/.366 (75 wRC+) and -0.1 fWAR in 1,658 plate appearances. Since, in his age 29 and 30 seasons, he’s batted .276/.334/.474 (116 wRC+) and racked up 3.8 fWAR. Not only did the bat come around, but so did the defense.

Obviously, the Mets are banking on McCann’s recent success to continue. Realmuto would be the safer bet, but there is potential for McCann to provide similar production at a lower cost. At the same time, there’s a much lower floor here than what Realmuto offers.

All that said, perhaps Rosenthal’s report is a tad premature. Jon Heyman indicates that the Angels are in on the backstop too:

Mailbag: Cubs fire sale, free agent shortstops next year, Kluber, and a Lindor proposal

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Happy Friday, everyone. It’s been a few weeks since our last mailbag, so apologies for the delay. We have a few good questions to address today. But before that: if you’d like to be considered for a future edition, please email viewsfrom314 [at] gmail [dot] com with your questions. We plan to choose our favorites each week. Now to the mailbag.

Sam asks: With Theo leaving the Cubs, it really feels like they’re about to tear everything down. What Cubs players make sense for the Yankees to target in the trade market? Adding Schwarber’s left-handed power is very appealing.

Yup, a selloff certainly seems to be coming. Schwarber feels like someone the Yankees would pursue, especially since the team was connected to him in the past. That said, I don’t like the fit in spite of his undeniable power from the left side. Even though he absolutely crushes the ball, he’s another low-contact bat (28 percent career strikeout rate) and is without a position. Statcast had him in the 2nd and 23rd percentiles in Outs Above Average and Outfielder Jump this season. With Giancarlo Stanton parked at DH, there’s really no place for Schwarber.

There are a bunch of other players on the Cubs I’m interested in, though. Javy Báez would be cool as a Francisco Lindor/DJ LeMahieu fallback. He had an oddly bad 2020 (57 wRC+) after hitting .286/.321/.544 (123 wRC+) from 2018 through 2019. One thing remained steady: his elite defense, which would unequivocally help the Yanks.

I’d also love to bring in Yu Darvish, who I mentioned yesterday in our news and notes post. The 34 year-old has been dominant since mid-2019 and can probably be had for very little because his contract goes through 2023. I’d bet that the Yanks would be able to get the Cubs to take Adam Ottavino’s deal as part of a trade too.

The VF314 Official 2020-2021 Offseason Plan

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We’re a couple of weeks later than last year, but better late than never. It’s time for us to unveil our Official Offseason Plan for the Yankees. Everyone on staff has discussed and debated various decisions the Yankees have ahead of them this winter and are ready to share our consensus today.

As a preface, this plan is a bit conservative and would get the Yankees under the $210 million luxury tax threshold. It’s not clear whether or not the Yankees will exhibit austerity this winter, though there have been hints in the media. That led to some difficult decisions that you’ll see unfold below. That said, we are planning to share another less-stringent plan soon. It’ll be more fun, we promise.

With that, let’s dive right in.

Option decisions

We wouldn’t do anything differently than what the Yankees actually did. On the option front, Zack Britton stays while Brett Gardner and JA Happ depart.

Team Free Agents & Qualifying Offers

DJ LeMahieu: It’s tough to say goodbye, but something coming later will explain why.

Masahiro Tanaka: Another really tough goodbye here. Tanaka was terrific for seven years in pinstripes, but in trying to fit under the $210 million tax threshold, it just couldn’t be done.

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