Off the field is a very different story than what we’re seeing on the field for the New York Yankees. On the field, we have Carlos Beltran acting as a mentor, starters coming out healthy and major prospects putting in major workloads. Off the field, we have a lot of question marks and you could choose where you would prefer question marks to surface.
It’s a pick your poison situation and we won’t have an answer for a little bit.
On the Field Updates:
- The elbow twins are rolling early. Nathan Eovaldi was already clocked reaching 100 MPH early in spring. Eovaldi’s season was shut down for elbow issues but he has already stated he’s ready for the regular season. The righty is headed into his prime and finished the year when he was healthy on very positive notes. The Yankees are hoping he is one of a few pitchers who could top 200 innings if he stays healthy (Eovaldi’s previous career high is 199).
- Tanaka, the other half of the duo, has now made it through two spring sessions with no setbacks in the bullpen. With the highest upside in the rotation, New York is hoping Tanaka can revert to his 2014 ace form, but would settle for an effective pitcher who can stay healthy all year and ward off Tommy John Surgery. Tanaka has still not committed to being ready to pitch by Opening Day.
- Beltran is mentoring Aaron Judge. Speaking of Judge, he’s unanimously a top two prospect and considered the best by many in the system, but he’s also showing the intangibles so many people get furious about when they’re mentioned. Judge showed up before position players generally do and has seeked guidance from some of the Yankees’ veterans. He also concentrated on patience, feeling a major reason he struggled in AAA was because he was facing veteran pitchers compared to young, electric prospects like himself. It’s very encouraging to start for a guy who can make an impact in 2016, especially in the wake of former top prospect, Greg Bird‘s torn labrum injury.
- James Kaprielian is healthy and in camp. Nothing out of the ordinary to report, but many feel he can be on the major league roster at some point this season. With Luis Severino graduated, Kaprielian is the top pitching prospect and a rise to the majors this quickly could take a lot of burden away from spending money on the rotation if Tanaka, Michael Pineda or Ivan Nova leave in the next two years (all possibilities).
- Speaking of Nova, Joe Girardi has already been praising his faster arm motion and thinks he will have a nice walk year.
- Speaking of walk years, Brian Cashman feels money could motivate Mark Teixeira into a healthy and productive season. Tex would have had a full year in 2015 if not for fouling a ball off his shin and breaking his leg.
- Pineda is in camp and looks like a WWE star. The man is ready to go.
Off the Field Updates:
- Alex Rodriguez and his comeback story in 2015 was nice for a few reasons. Some feel he was punished too harshly, some root for the underdog, he helped the team, he came back after an entire year off and many are wishing for a somewhat happy ending to what has been a brutal few years. At the end of the day, the Yankees and its fans want the money to have been worth it.
But losing site of why A-Rod was punished in the first place is losing sight of a problem which gave a decade of black eyes to the sport. MLB made its statement by suspending him for a season, but the Yankees seem to want to straddle both sides of the fence. He sued you and dropped his lawsuits over the marketing incentives with his home run milestones and not recognizing them was the correct decision by the franchise. I get wanting to appease the defacto face of the team, but planning a celebration for when he ties and passes Babe Ruth is hypocritical.
A-Rod receiving praise because he only lied to the media and fans twice and now is acting like a good boy is disgraceful and disingenuous and treats fans and viewers like morons. The reason steroids became so rampant was because the media was quick to make excuses (“The balls are wound tighter” “players are in better shape these days” “The league has too many teams it dilutes the talent” “he fixed ____ in his swing”) and quick to turn a blind eye in favor of ratings.
Now it appears nobody learned its lesson in favor of money, as usual.
- Aroldis Chapman‘s spring training and regular season are both up in the air right now. Many expect a suspension, but nobody knows if he will be able to continue his spring (although reports indicate he will) or how long a suspension would be in the regular season or if it would be a combination of both. Personally, if there is cause for anything, he should and will be suspended, but it should be something like 10 games for player misconduct and he should be able to finish his spring.
Chapman is not the same category as Jose Reyes or someone who actually got caught up in domestic violence. He’s someone who did some stupid things while his girlfriend happened to be near and he needs to be punished for poor decisions and a lapse in judgment with his anger.