Thursday, December 31, 2020


Now this could make for a good debate.

I came across an interesting piece from Dan Martin at the New York Post HERE, and I can't say that I feel the same way necessarily. I always look for the positives in life but I don't share in this enthusiasm. I don't like complacency at all so I don't get excited by his theory that the Yankees "get better" due to the Rays trading away Blake Snell and Charlie Morton signing with the Braves. I can't get excited that the Yankees improve only because the Rays got rid of their big game pitchers. The Yankees only improve when they make changes that take the team to the next level. In this case they did nothing.

And what about this thought:
"The Yankees, if they bring DJ LeMahieu back, seem set to go with a similar roster to the one they had last season, which wasn’t good enough to get past the Rays in the playoffs, but looks more formidable compared to how Tampa Bay is currently constructed."

IF the Yankees bring DJ back they look more formidable to the NEW Rays team as it stands. That's a big IF at this point because the Yankees and DJ are still pretty far apart in their negotiations. So IF we get him back, we keep our best bat in the lineup against their weaker rotation which again doesn't make me confident or excite me. 

And let's not lose sight of the rest of the division. Even the New York Post mentions them:
"And perhaps Toronto will make one of the significant moves they’ve been tied to — from stealing LeMahieu away from the Yankees to signing Trevor Bauer or George Springer. So far, though, the Blue Jays have been quiet."

Yes, the Rays won the division last year and made it to the World Series - but that doesn't mean they are the only competition. They might be a pain in our side again, or they may not be. I don't think the Yankees should disregard any team at this point, especially when the Blue Jays are anxious to spend some money. I think Toronto is going to be very good this year. They gave us a run for our money towards the end of the season and there's no reason to believe they can't do it again, especially if they make significant moves.

There's a lot of time left for any team to make changes. The AL East might not look so tough right now, but a lot will change between now and the start of the season. The Yankees won't get better by doing nothing. We have some holes to fill. 

We only get better when we make improvements. Once we do that, then we can really debate about if we are in a better place in the division.

  --Jeana Bellezza-Ochoa
     BYB Managing Editor
    Twitter: @nyprincessj

Wednesday, December 30, 2020


Source: New York Post

Here at BYB we always look for nuggets to explore with you. Our last piece focused on Gary Sanchez, catcher groomed from a young player in the Yankee system. I rooted for Gary. Watching him grow up at the Trenton Thunder was fun and exciting. The fact that my son became a catcher just a couple of towns over from where Gary was being groomed is just an extra special connection. But, Gary has not lived up to the expectations set for him. And benching him for the playoffs made perfect sense, given his lackluster performance leading into the post season.

"What crossed my mind was that I didn't know what was going on. I didn't know why I wasn't playing, if it was my defense or because I wasn't hitting. That was what I was thinking about. So that's where you start forcing things more than you should, and that's when you make mistakes. I would have liked someone to tell me, "This is what's happening -- this and that," and one has to understand and accept that as a man. You focus in that you have to improve this and that. But no one explained to me why," said Sanchez as reported ESPN.


No way he didn't know why or what was happening. You have to be buried under a rock to not fathom why you were sitting. The fact that the Yankees have given him so many chances baffles me, really. "His defensive woes, particularly his inability to dependably block pitches in the dirt, are well-documented. Sanchez's 52 career passed balls are the most for any big league catcher over the past five seasons. Nonetheless, Sanchez's performance at the plate consistently outweighed his defensive blunders, as evidenced by having the third-highest weighted runs created plus (wRC+) among all backstops since 2016," reported ESPN. But when his bat went silent what value did he bring?

The piece by ESPN is noteworthy. It got me thinking about how Sanchez must feel, finishing up 2020 and then being given one final chance in 2021 to redeem himself. "It's about focusing on 2021. Everyone's numbers start at zero. I went through something similar in 2018: I was hurt all year, and there was so much criticism. [In 2019], I came in, proved myself and had one of the best years of my career," said Sanchez. 

Perhaps the interview was reflection and therapeutic for Sanchez. Being called lazy and overrated is one thing but talking about it and facing it is another. I hope that Sanchez looked down at the belly of the beast and had a come to Jesus of sorts. So much so, that I hope Sanchez turns a 360, and has the best career of his life. He had better. Or it is off to the junk yard for him come 2022.  

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof

Tuesday, December 29, 2020


You gotta love Reggie.  Reggie was on a few teams in his career, playing well with the A's, the Angels... even being on the Orioles for a hot minute. But he knows his home is New York... and I love that.  

Now we've all been coming down on Gary Sanchez pretty hard. Many of us have ranked on him for his chunkiness... his slowness. Many have accused him of being lazy. But in the end, it's stuff like this that makes me realize just how hard the game truly is.  Believing. 

Reggie tweeted this to Sanchez. Check it out:

"Gary Sanchez, the job is yours, you only have to claim it. You were the best hitter on the team at one time, work your butt off and prove it. I’ve believed in you since you were 16. And so do a lot of others. Let us see what you got sobrino, Tío Reggie"

In the end, it's that type of public push that really makes us all stop.  It's baseball. It's not easy. But there are supporters and believers everywhere, and sometimes human beings need a reset... maybe in their occupation like Gary Sanchez, but definitely in a mindset like us fans. 

Hey... it's the holiday season. We just came off a horrible 2020. Let's step back a sec, realize that there is light at the end of the tunnel and learn one important thing. Kindness.

Thanks Reggie... I needed that.

Monday, December 28, 2020


It's another reminder that 2020 sucks A LOT. The baseball world lost another legend over the holiday weekend, Phil Niekro passed away at 81 years old from cancer.

Did you know that the baseball world has lost SEVEN Hall of Fame players this year? Just more proof that it's not just a tough year for you and I but for the sports world as well. We lost a good one this past weekend, Niekro was a unique gamer.

We may never see a story like his again. They don't make them like they used to....and he's proof. He's a unicorn and one hell of a knuckleballer. He had a long career despite debuting in 1964 when he was 25 years old. He pitched for 24 seasons and called it quits in 1987 at 48 years old. 

Niekro was a gamer. He threw 104 complete games and 1,977 innings after turning 40. He was a master of pitching the complete game and is ranked third-most in the modern era. He wasn't just good at raking up innngs pitched though, he has 3,342 career strikeouts in his career with 318 career wins.

These are just a few of the many accomplishments of Niekro's career. He was a unique talent and a great ambassador to the game who will be missed. He spent 20 years with the Braves, and two as a Yankee but he has a legacy that will last forever. Chipper Jones is right, it's a sad day.....everywhere.

It's another sad day in 2020. It's a sad day for baseball and another reminder that cancer sucks. Prayers to his in Peace, Knucksie.

  --Jeana Bellezza-Ochoa
     BYB Managing Editor
    Twitter: @nyprincessj

Sunday, December 27, 2020


Clearly the only guy that makes sense for the Yankees despite the fact that he will put them over their salary cap is DJ LeMahieu. And with other teams swarming around the big fish, the Yankees still remain LeMahieu's top contender. But put that aside for a minute to consider other bats the Yankees need to remain a contender for the world championship. Kyle Schwarber is available, can crank out home runs and could be a cheap option for the Yankees to ignite the lineup.

Source: ESPN

"Have you seen the short porch in right field? It’s like Schwarber was born to play in Yankee Stadium, and likely part of the reason the Yankees have been connected to the ex-Cubs slugger for years. Schwarber is coming off a down season (.701 OPS, 88 OPS+), but only a year removed from crushing 38 home runs and posting an OPS+ of 122 for a playoff team in 2019. On the right team and in the right spots (platooning only vs. right-handed pitchers), there’s a valuable hitter here," reported on Saturday. 

I like the guy. I mean, he provided much needed offense for the Cubs, even late into the Series in 2016, despite being on the IL for most of the season. He could fit the DH spot and also fill in from time to time in the outfield. Now, many will say well, that is what we got Giancarlo Stanton for; true but he's a dud. 

Source: The Chicago Tribune

The Yankees are not the only team who could go after Schwarber. DJ LeMahieu's old team has an interest in the outfielder too, which would make for a great addition to the team. According to Colorado Rockies manger Bud Black, "the team is looking to add a bat either in the outfield or at first or second base this offseason. Now, the Rockies are hardly a big-market presence, but they could absolutely swing a deal that would bring Schwarber to the Mile High City and balance out a lineup that’s pretty right-handed heavy as currently constructed," reported Fansided


Brian Cashman also needs to cleverly balance a budget while also picking up another couple of pitchers to round off the staff. Word on the street is that 34-year-old David Phelps could be someone who not only fits the budget but also has a heavy hand in the bullpen. Whatever happens in the next couple weeks between LeMahieu, Schwarber and even Phelps will be very telling for the Yankees who need to do something soon and get their Spring Training and 2021 Season revved up and ready to go. 

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof

Saturday, December 26, 2020


 And is that a bad thing?

With still no news about DJ LeMahieu, the Yankees obviously need to figure out who their back up plans can be.  DJ is so versatile, not to mention an incredible table setter for the Yankees, it's really gonna be hard to match a player like him if he and the Yankees can't make a deal.  Enter Tommy La Stella.'s Joe Giglio writes:

"This guy just feels like a Yankee. Maybe it’s the name. Maybe it’s his New Jersey roots. This guy is a grinder, on-base machine (.370 in 2020) and has turned into one of the hardest players in baseball to strikeout. La Stella wouldn’t just represent a player than could fill LeMahieu’s shoes in the field and at the top of the order; he would be an effective replacement for Brett Gardner’s kind of approach at the plate."

Pinstripe Alley writes:

"La Stella is what you would call a swing-changer. In reality, what he changed the most was his approach and stance, and it worked wonders for him. You can read more about his transformation here. Basically, he watched hours of video and decided to stand “taller, knees hardly bent at all, with his bat at about a 45-degree angle on his shoulder,” per the OC Register.

In five seasons between 2014 and 2018, he hit 10 home runs in total. Then, after re-working his swing with the Angels in 2019, he hit 16 balls out of the park for a new career-high. No, he isn’t a 35-home run hitter now, but he has decent power, as he drives the ball more often."

But look. All of this bothers me because this replacement, while a very good one, is not the answer. I said it perfectly a few weeks ago... WITH NO LEMAHIEU, YANKS HAVE NO SHOT AT A WORLD SERIES TITLE IN 2021. I'm sticking to that. The Yankees don't have the tools without a guy like DJ...bottom line.

But don't worry Joe Giglio from believes the Yankees will be fine. His reasons? These:

"Here are five reasons why.

Yankees can win the division without LeMahieu...

When Brian Cashman puts a dollar valuation on a player, he’s usually right...

This franchise unearths talent now...

Replacement options are there...

Decline at is probably coming soon..."

There's plenty wrong with these 5 reasons, but the big one is that he's wrong. 

Let's face it, guys like Giglio are the same guys that said that picking LeMahieu up in the first place was a bad idea. 2 years later, it's clear looking at his numbers, his ability to get on base, his defense and his ability to come through in the clutch, that no one can replace him, AND/OR the Yankees will have a real hard time winning without him.  Health is an issue on the Yankees. We also need a starting pitcher... just one solid starter can get us over the hump, but need a table setter to win it. DJ is that guy. In short, this is a guess from Giglio and nothing more.

Bottom is this.... La Stella coming to New York would be nice... but it's not DJ nice... he's a hole filler and for me... I'm telling you, I don't see a championship coming to New York if DJ isn't back. We need much more than La Stella... we just do.

Thursday, December 24, 2020


Tomorrow is Christmas and I was hoping the Yankees would give us DJ LeMahieu under our Christmas tree, but unless there is a Christmas miracle, it doesn't sound like this will happen. 

There's been some movement this week, but nothing for the Yankees unfortunately. I'm hoping that means we see some action soon. Here's what has happened in case you have missed it as you made
plans for whatever your holiday looks like this year....

1) Tommy Kahnle has a new home
Kahnle is now an Ex-Yankee, read more HERE. He just had Tommy John surgery in August so we weren't going to see him in 2021 anyway but the Dodgers signed him with 2022 in mind. I will definitely miss the 2019 Kahnle and I wish him well but I also hope that we won't have to be pitching against him in 2022 if he does make a great rebound.

2) James Paxton is in high demand
Earlier this month Scott Boras started creating hype about Paxton and it appears it worked. Paxton threw for scouts from "as many as 20 teams" and he reached 94 mph. Paxton is one year removed from a 15-win season so if the Yankees move on and don't have a change of heart it sounds like other teams are willing to take a chance.

3) Cashman is patient with DJ LeMahieu
I think far too patient according to the latest news HERE. Brian Cashman says he's fine with however long it takes to re-sign LeMahieu as long as it does happen. The Yankees remain confident that a deal will be worked out, but the longer it takes the more we anxious and uncertain we as fans become. DJ isn't going to sit around and wait forever, even though he does want to play for us again. There's a lot of interest especially from the Toronto Blue Jays so the more time that passes, the more impatient all of us become.

I don't feel confident with the Yankees current "strategy" if that is what we even want to call it. Everything is on pause until DJ LeMahieu signs, and hopefully with us. I wish we had signed DJ already, because right now all I can think about is gettin NOTHIN for Christmas....

  --Jeana Bellezza-Ochoa
     BYB Managing Editor
    Twitter: @nyprincessj

Wednesday, December 23, 2020


Sources: Los Angeles Times

We have all fought demons. Some of these demons more brutal than others. CC Sabathia fought off many of these demons, ones we can only imagine and others we may have faced ourselves. He likely fought some demons as a kid, when his father, Corky, went through his own battles of addiction. And his new HBO documentary, "Under the Grapefruit Tree" burns a spotlight on his fears and addiction to alcohol, in a way we may not have expected.

“When we grow up in the hood, people were always telling us: ‘Don’t cry’ and ‘Don’t be a punk.’ and ‘You can’t show no emotions,’ things like that,” Sabathia told the Daily News. “So then, you end up suppressing everything. And then, you never deal with anything. And then, you get to be an adult and you break down,” said Sabathia as written by the New York Daily News.

We may remember that just before the playoffs in 2015, Sabathia stepped quietly into rehab because it all became too much. In the documentary, "Sabathia tells his autobiographical tale as something of a visualized personal essay about his celebrated baseball career — self-narrated, but buttressed with footage of his career and testimony from his loved ones," reported the News

Source: NY Daily News 

Facing divorce, and addiction as an adolescent, and later facing the death of his father, Sabathia's life was not an easy road. But baseball and his wife, a true life partner and high school sweetheart, kept him afloat. Sabathia's wife, Amber, took on the role of executive producer of the documentary, keeping the story real and raw, which makes the film an ethnographic study of a man who faced challenge and struggled to cope as his family watched and lived through his trauma firsthand. 

"CC was in the spotlight. I couldn’t just go to the Yankees and tell them he had a problem, right? Because it’s his job. I never wanted to affect his career,” said Amber. She admits that “it was hard not having someone that can kind of have my back and try and get him help” in the sport," reported the News.

Source: USA Today

Now knowing the struggles, while on the field, really makes me admire him more. CC has always been the guy to defend the Yankees' honor. His “That’s for you, b---h!” will live in infamy. And if it is possible, I feel closer to the guy that battled with us and for us. Catch the documentary on HBO and share your thoughts. 

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof

Tuesday, December 22, 2020


The Yankees are always looking for extra help in their pen. I didn't think much about this, but recently there was chatter about maybe adding a guy like Mark Melancon. Remember that dude? He was with the Yankees in 2006, but eventually was traded and then he became a journeyman. But something else happened... he became a better pitcher.  

A nice write up by Empire Sports Media appears to put us both in agreement. Check this out:

"Melancon is a perfect fit for the Yankees and Yankee Stadium’s short right porch. Hitters can’t take advantage of the short porch if they can’t get the ball in the air. Mark is a ground ball pitcher, getting ground balls 56% of the time. He has an excellent curveball and cutter and will throw an occasional fastball and changeup.

Because this is a good season to take advantage of the depressed market for free agents, the Yankees could get a good deal on Melancon, particularly on a one-year deal."

Look, I think we can all agree that we were underwhelmed by Adam Ottavino last season. If he can't get back to solid form, we're gonna need a guy like Melancon. Really... it's something to think about.

Monday, December 21, 2020


I was convinced that Billy Martin and his five stints as Yankees manager would hold record for most times hired in the organization....but maybe not. It appears Billy has some close competition.

Welcome back Adam Warren for the fourth time. I really wasn't sure what was going to happen with Warren after they had to release him back in July due to the unique constraints of the roster this season due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but Brian Cashman did say he wanted to bring him back if possible. Maybe 4th time is the charm for us.

And it could be. I have always like Warren and apparently he has always liked pitching here more than anywhere else. Warren and the Yankees look to be the perfect match. Warren had a rough 2019 season with the Padres and really hasn't had a lot of success outside of his time with us. He's always had some unexplainable magic with us, in 407 innings with the Yankees he has a 3.18 ERA with 8K/9 and a 2.99 BB/9. With numbers like that, it's no wonder why the Yankees were willing to bring him back a fourth time. 

As far as the Yankees are concerned, this is a no-risk signing. We still don't know the financial details of the deal but it costs them no guaranteed money and if he bounces back from Tommy John he will fit in nicely in the bullpen. The Yankees need more depth and he was well-liked by his teammates. Since the Yankees are not looking to spend a lot of money this winter they probably aren't looking to build up the bullpen with an expensive free agent splash an effective Warren could be a HUGE asset to the Yankees. It's low risk and hopefully high reward.

I like the possibilities here, Warren could be a massive upgrade to this team. He's the opposite of the "He can't pitch in New York" argument and maybe he's the rare "He can ONLY pitch in New York" and on a minor league deal, this is a no-brainer. He could be an upgrade to Luis Cessa and this point, I have MORE faith in Warren than Adam Ottavino. This could be really good for us.

So welcome home, Warren. We could definitely use you! You are the modern day Billy Martin but in bullpen form.

  --Jeana Bellezza-Ochoa
     BYB Managing Editor
    Twitter: @nyprincessj

Sunday, December 20, 2020


Source: Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

Just a few days before Christmas and Yankee fans still have not received their gift: A multi-year deal for DJ LeMahieu. Everyone is talking about it. Could the Yankees even contend for the championship without LeMahieu? Is DJ LeMahieu worth it? Is Brian Cashman serious when he says that he is focused on a deal with the infielder? But the NY Times on Saturday escalated this to, "LeMahieu, 32, has become an indispensable Yankee, and the team’s off-season plans center on him."

Source: Newsday

"Speaking on a video conference call, Cashman said the Yankees had done their homework on alternative options in the free-agent and trade markets. “But anything that’s come off the board before today came off the board because I’m willing to wait to hopefully find a way to navigate a negotiation successfully with D.J. LeMahieu,” he said," as reported by the Times

Source: AP

If this doesn't express how much LeMahieu means to the Yankees as an organization focused on winning, then nothing does. This means that they will forgo pitchers like Trevor Bauer and let White Sox Catcher James McCann slip by as well, as he is headed to the Mets. This also means that Masahiro Tanaka is not the highest priority and he could land himself another team as well. 

I am pleased that the Yankees have expressed this level of commitment toward signing LeMahieu and probably will only have a few bucks left over for a pitcher. According to the New York Post, "If the Yankees re-sign LeMahieu, expect them to find a starting pitcher in free agency or trade for less than $10 million in 2021. If they don’t sign LeMahieu, the Yankees can apply more money to the area, but will then also have to address the middle infield."

The Yankees are demonstrating, at least to me, that LeMahieu is a key fixture in their road to 28, thereby making him indispensable. But could putting so much faith in LeMahieu, change him? Well, that is a story for another day. Let's get LeMahieu first and then provide him the support he needs to do his job, effectively. 

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor

Saturday, December 19, 2020


Not that it's a big loss, but it's important to see that things are moving in the offseason.  Jonathan Holder is gone now... signed with the Cubs.

CBS Sports writes:

"After the New York Yankees non-tendered right-handed pitcher Jonathan Holder, the Chicago Cubs have signed him to a one-year, non-guaranteed contract...Holder will earn $750,000 if he makes the major-league roster."

Again, not a huge deal, but good for Holder who can now just enjoy Christmas knowing he's got a deal done.

Friday, December 18, 2020


It's been very quiet when it comes to the Yankees and DJ LeMahieu. It makes me uncomfortable. But like my kid trying to mull over which college he's going to play ball for, I am just assuming that the quiet is actually progress. The weeding out of certain things, the crossing of demands off the list, the meeting in the middle and of course, the money.

I personally feel like the deal with DJ and the Yankees will be made. I also look at that Yankee team and am 100% positive that without DJ, a true table-setter in every sense of the word, the Yankees will have a hard time winning anything in 2021. Especially if we don't have him and especially if we don't get another top starter.

But in the midst of all that, there's other stuff going on and it's worth sharing. Like, what's going on with Brett Gardner? Is that guy done?

Brian Cashman says this about Gardy:

"Cashman says that he has had talks with two other Yankees free agents, pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and outfielder Brett Gardner. He hopes both long-time Yanks are back next season, but isn’t sure if either will return.

'Clearly, they’ve been impactful for the Yankees,” Cashman said. “I can tell you just generally we’d love to have them back.'"

But here's the thing, according to several reports, Gardner is waiting for the Yankees to talk about 2021. Apparently he's been ghosted. We will have to see what happens next.

As far as DJ, if he doesn't come back, there's a nugget here about Digi Gregorius... wow. Really? Empire Sports Media writes:

"Aside from Gregorius’ obvious connection to the Yankees, their fans still hold him in high regard. The mentality he brought to the team and positive emotion he displayed made him a fan favorite, and he still has immense respect for those that still follow him in his endeavors.

'I still get (Yankee fans) commenting on stuff that I post on Instagram or on Twitter. It just makes them happy if you go out there and give it your best. I think fans can actually see that you’re not being nonchalant and playing hard.'

Of course, most would welcome Gregorius back with open arms, especially after the season he enjoyed in 2020. However, the length of a deal would be a big question, and if the Yankees lose out on DJ, supplementing his loss would take an army of players."

Look, for me, at the end of the day, I will continue to tell it to you this way. We need DJ LeMahieu.. we need 1 top starter.  I love Gardy, but i think his time in the Bronx is over. And as for Didi, not a necessity... unless we lose out to DJ. That's the bottom line.
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