Sunday, January 31, 2021


Source: Yahoo Sports

It is an emotional story with an ending that may not be an ending after all. Masahiro Tanaka a pitcher the Yankees fought for seven years ago headed back to his home country, Japan, following the advice of his agent. If he couldn't play for the Yankees he didn't want to play in the MLB. So ends the story, with Tanaka riding into the sunset from the Bronx to Rakuten Eagles, where it all began. Or is this the end of Tanaka's tenure in US?

Source: AP

“I feel I have unfinished business in America, and I haven’t given up on that, so they agreed on terms that would keep those options open,” Tanaka said Saturday at a press conference held by the Golden Eagles. “Without throwing away those goals, I really want to win a Japan championship here. But there are no guarantees in this world, so my first goal is to give it all I have for this season," reported the New York Post. Wait, what? Would Tanaka actually consider coming back or rather would the Yankees bring him back?

“At the instant I became a free agent, truthfully, my desire was to re-sign with the Yankees and continue playing for them,” Tanaka said. “But at a very early stage, I heard from them through my agent and felt it would be better if I considered other options, which I considered, including a return to Japan,” reported the Post

The 32-year-old pitcher started with the Eagles at age 18 and he played seven seasons with the team, winning a Japan Series title in 2013. The next seven years he spent in the Bronx where he served in the starting rotation. He didn't win a World Series Championship the Yankees but was named to the All Star Games in 2014 and 2019. 

Source: MLB Trade Rumors

It was the Yankees that felt they could sign two pitchers instead of one, and the odd man out was Tanaka. And the Yankees did just that bringing in Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon only a few days apart. But knowing that Tanaka has a foot in the door to maybe come back is comforting. Good luck Masahiro and thank you for all you have done for the Yankees. Hope to see you back in 2022. 

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof


You either saw the title of this post and clicked on the link immediately…or you took one look at the name mentioned and said to yourself, “Hard pass. Negative, Ghost Rider the pattern is full.”

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I’m not going to dazzle you with smoke and mirrors today. There isn’t any surprise witness tucked away in a holding room waiting to shock you and the world. I will simply give you the side of this story that needs to be told. I will present facts and prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Curt Schilling is an arrogant blowhard and deserving of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Baseball Writers are an insanely overrated bunch. Yes, that is my opinion, but let’s look at the history of those like Heyman, Olney and the like. Objectivity is not a stat on the back of their baseball cards…in fact they don’t appear on any cards! Not a one. Topps, Fleer, Upper Deck…they have little use for these self-important “experts” in America’s National Pastime. Why? Why do they hold sway over the gateway to Cooperstown? Are they ever between the white lines? Did they stand on a bump 60’ 6” away from the plate, in a 3-2 count, runners at 2nd and 3rd, bottom of the ninth on a cold October Night in the Bronx…World Championship on the line? No. Are they athletes good enough to play in the show? No. No, they aren’t. They are wallflowers. They’re not even fans. They are jaded. The career politicians of Major League Baseball. Wouldn’t a council of player appointed former Big Leaguers, Umps, Managers and Scouts be better suited to decide who joins the legends enshrined in the Hall. To me that’s a NO BRAINER! 

Give me Mike Schmidt, Ozzie Smith, Joe Torre, Jimmy Joyce, Dan Iasogna and Mariano Rivera on the Inaugural HALL OF FAME COMMITTEE. No Baseball Writers need apply.

This brings me to Curt Schilling. Not one of my favorite guys. He is obnoxious. He is self-righteous, he is arrogant. He is politically outspoken…not anything he should be barred from doing mind you, but he looks for fights and often let’s his discord fall south of the Mendoza Line so to speak. 

Curt Schilling is a jerk. But he IS a Hall of Famer and the writers don’t like him…so he won’t make it in. This, ladies and gentlemen, is wrong. “Big Game Pitcher”? Check that box. World Champion? Yes…more than once with different teams. A guy most managers, if they are being honest, would want on the hill in a game 7? Indeed. Schilling was a gamer. He was a power pitcher with craft. He played for teams and made them better. 

Can Arizona get it done in 2001 without him? Nope. Boston reveres the imaginary curse lacking #38? NAWT A PRAYER, DOOD. Heck, even those Phight’n Phils may have been Champs in ’93 if the Wild Thing doesn’t spoil it with a gimme ball to Joe Carter…yeah, Schill was a big reason that rotation was a great one. It’s not just the numbers. Hall of Famers are guys that played the game at that next level when it was needed. They lead their teams. Curt Schilling did just that. 

But he’s a not well liked? So what?! I’m not putting him in the Hall of Fame because I like him. I don’t. I agree with many I’ve gotten to know and talk with in Baseball (names to be omitted) who said he was a lousy coworker and extraordinarily selfish. However, that’s not for the writers to decide. We have allowed these writers to take something that doesn’t belong to them. It’s not their game. It’s ours. It belongs to the fans and the players. It’s woven in the fabric of our country and these over-hyped former high school bench warmers are letting their own issues and personal feeling stop players who deserve to be recognized for the way they played baseball. That is a fact. For example…we all remember the writer who didn’t like Derek Jeter so he gave his vote to Armando Benitez

I’ll close with this. In 2002 my father was flying back to Philly from a business trip in Phoenix. In the row in front of him on that US Airways flight was the reigning World Series Champ and Co-MVP Curt Schilling. While disembarking the aircraft my Dad, a diehard Yankee Fan, offered his congratulations and remarked, “You got my Yanks, but they’ll be back.” Schilling, instead of taking it all in stride and thanking my dad, turned quickly, nodded his head dismissively, and answered, “And we’ll kick their asses again.” 

My dad relayed that story to me and said he was truly a nasty pr**k…but a World Champ and would one day earn the Hall. I agree with my Pop. I worked with Schilling on a episode of Baseball Tonight. He is arrogant. He isn’t overly friendly (though did sign a cap for my kid brother who, tragically, is a Sox Fan). I can’t say anything truly nice about this guy….but if only nice guys made the Hall it would be like a Ramada in Fort Lauderdale the week after Spring Break.

I ask that you look to strike down the will of baseball’s writers and see Mr. Schilling for what he is…a royal assh*** ... AND a Hall of Famer.

Thank you. The Defense rests.

** Boston once loved the the Murphys can serenade him. A loser....but only as a person. As a player? HOF ready** 

--Mike O'Hara
BYB Contributor
Twitter: @mikeyoh21

Saturday, January 30, 2021


 You go Ty!

I was chatting with Marci Hensley the other day when she told me the great news. It was great to hear. And respectfully, because I understand privacy and decency, I put on my friend cap and not my journalist cap and waited until it was officially announced to give them the moment they needed without inserting BYB into the equation. Why? Because this kid deserves it. He earned it.

I am happy to know the Hensley family. They are good people, a solid unit and they understand setback probably better than most.  But here's something else they know. They know strength, they know resilience. They know what determination is. They also know that dreams need to be followed. 

It's with great pleasure that I can announce that Ty Hensley has signed with the Milwaukee Milkmen.  Just a year after winning with the Utica Unicorns and throwing a no-hitter, and having some wonderful success on his road back to the bigs, the Milkmen took interest... and Hensley is on his way.

Ty told me these 2 words last year during the pandemic... Keep Watching! 

We're watching Ty... we're watching. Good luck!



 I mean, do we actually need this guy?

I have always liked Marcell Ozuna.  I remember watching him for a few games when he was with the Miami Marlins and really liked his ability.  But right now... when it comes to the New York Yankees.... I gotta tell ya, despite the rumors... I really don't think we need this guy.

Even Yanks go Yard dude Thomas Carannante says the same thing:

"But not today! On Wednesday, a report dropped suggesting the Bombers are among the teams interested in former Miami Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna.

Respectfully, may we ask, “Why?” This is what we’d call a redundant player. for the Yankees’ lineup."...

The Yankees signing Ozuna wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, but on the surface it seems like it would require some excess roster tinkering."

We tend to agree on this. It just doesn't seem like a good move. Too much to figure out, plus you got a guy like Giancarlo Stanton that is full of inconsistencies already.  Why make it worse plugging another guy very similarly to Stanton in there.  

The Yankees have a pretty good lineup... why tweak it with Ozuna?

Look, right now several teams are looking at Ozuna. Thankfully it's not just the Yankees. But my point in all of this is just to say. Why... WHY? And also. What do you think? Do you think we need this guy?


Thursday, January 28, 2021


It's over. Masahiro Tanaka is no longer a New York Yankee. It's sad, but that's the way it goes sometimes. Oh well. 

amNY writes:

"Tanaka made it official on Thursday morning, announcing that his seven-year run with the New York Yankees and in Major League Baseball is officially over. 

The 32-year-old right-hander has signed on with his former team in the Japanese Nippon Baseball Organization, the Rakuten Eagles. 

'We have signed a contract with Rakuten Eagles,' Tanaka released in a statement, which has been translated from Japanese. 'We are planning to hold an enrollment meeting at a later date about the circumstances and thoughts that led to the decision to play in Japan this season, so I would like to tell you at that seat.' 

'Welcome home, our hero!' the team wrote on its official release announcing the Tanaka reacquisition."

Look, we're in a COVID world now, maybe that has something to do with it. He was loved in New York but maybe he didn't love it back. That could be a factor.  Who really knows. I do know this... he put in his time, he was a solid pitcher for us, and I tip my cap.  

Good Luck Masahiro.  It's been fun, pal.


I'm still in shock over Tuesday's news. I really can't believe that none of baseball's most recognizable names will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. It's something I look forward to every summer so this is going to be very weird. 

And it is really weird. This is the second time since 2013 that the BBWAA didn't vote anyone in. If you want to dig deeper this is the 9th time since 1936 that no one has been voted in. I thought that the next few Hall of Fame classes would be smaller, but I didn't think we would have a giant goose egg for 2021. Honestly, I thought at minimum we would see Curt Schilling inducted. He came pretty close in last year's vote so I really was expecting him to get in, but he was 16 votes short.

And now he doesn't even want to be considered for next year's vote which would be his last year eligible on the ballot. Have you seen Schilling's plea on his Facebook page? Read that HERE. You can also read the BBWA's response to his plea HERE. Whether you are in support of Schilling getting voted in or not....this is CRAZY!

I do think that Schilling has a flair for the dramatic. I think he likes to draw attention to himself, but even so I didn't expect him to ask to be REMOVED from the ballot. So where do we go from here? I really want to see what happens in the next few days and weeks. This is an awkward spot for the BBWAA and the sport.

There is a silver lining though, we will still have an induction ceremony to watch. Last year Derek Jeter and Larry Walker were voted into the Hall of Fame, but the ceremony was cancelled due to the pandemic and now we will finally get a ceremony. There may not be a 2021 class, but Jeter will finally get his day. I think this is the best "silver lining" we could possibly ask for.

I have been waiting for Jeter to get his day and he finally will. Funny how things work out sometimes. So I have plans on Sunday July 25th, will you be watching?

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2021


Hey, it's not Trevor Bauer but stacking arms is always a good thing and Darren O'Day works well for the Yankees right about now. I am happy with this move.

The Bergen Record writes:

"The Yankees will sign right-hander Darren O'Day, pending a physical, according to the reports.

O'Day, who throws with a submarine motion, has played for five teams in 13 years."

And the New York Post writes:

"O’Day spent the last two seasons with the Braves. Last season, he allowed just two earned runs in 16 ⅓ innings over 19 appearances."

Look, the guy's 37, but he still has something left in the tank. And if it means alittle stability... I welcome it!


Source: The New York Post

As always, I try to stay positive and focused as the Yankees head to spring training in just a few weeks. I am hopeful they have done enough to make the starting rotation an emerging one, one that will come together and gel within a few weeks in Tampa. But you look at the numbers and playing time among the potential rotation and you have to scratch your head a bit. The Yankees went out and built a rotation around their ace Gerrit Cole with second chance pitchers.

Famed sports writer Mike Lupica from wrote, "So here are pitchers behind Cole who, by the way, was everything the Yankees could have hoped for last October, all the way to Game 5 of the American League Division Series vs. the Rays:

Corey Kluber: One inning pitched last season.

Luis Severino (if and when he is healthy again): No innings pitched last season.

Jameson Taillon: No innings pitched last season.

Domingo Germán: No innings pitched last season." 


Lupica quite frankly took the wind out of my sails. I respect the heck out of the guy and he makes up some good points, ones I have contemplated myself. But, the Yankees made some risky moves to fill the rotation and yes, are taking a chance on some guys who have had fallen on some tough times either through injury or bad decisions. Yet, as Lupica states, the "Yanks attempting bold new pitching approach." 

"The last time the Yankees did win it all, their starting rotation was CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte (then 37), A.J. Burnett and Joba Chamberlain, the only pitchers on the team to make more than nine starts," says Lupica. When you put it that way, Cole, Kluber, Severino, Taillon and German don't sound that bad. And mix in Jordan Montgomery and Deivi Garcia and the Yankees could be on to a great formula. 

Kluber, Severino, Montgomery and Taillon all are coming off injuries, with Taillon having had Tommy John surgery twice. The Yankees need to be careful with these guys who need an intentional regiment aligned to their needs and recovery protocols. 

Taillon is fired up, ready to go and anxious to make the most of his second chance. I gather that the rest of the bunch are just as excited and are looking forward to the best spring training and subsequent season of their lives. Let's hope so. Let's hope they take every ounce of that second chance out for a spin and make of the most of this opportunity to win with the Yankees in 2021. 

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof

Tuesday, January 26, 2021


And now it's pretty positive that Adam Ottavino is the best damn reliver the Red Sox have. No question actually. Yup... it's rare, but it does happen. The Yankees and the Sox have made trades before.

In 2014, it was Red Sox receiving Kelly Johnson and the Yankees getting Stephen Drew and cash.
In 1994 the Red Sox got money in the Scott Bankhead deal. 

In 1986, the Red Sox got DH Don Baylor and the Yankees got DH Mike Easler.

And it happened several times before that. all the way back to Babe Ruth.  So yeah... it doesn't happen a lot, but it does happen.  

But the biggest concern I and several others have is that we hope that Ottavino doesn't suddenly become a superstar and this trade screws us down the road. I guess you have to roll the dice on it.

Anyway... writes:

"Ottavino was 2-3 with a 5.89 ERA in 24 appearances with the Yankees in 2020. He was stellar for most of the 2019 season, his first in a three-year, $27 million deal, but had a rough September and terrible postseason.

With most of Ottavino’s salary off the books, Cashman will be able to add one or two more significant pieces and stay under this year’s $210 million luxury-tax threshold."

So there you have it... Ottavino... GONZO. And life moves on.

Monday, January 25, 2021


Did anyone see this trade coming? We actually wrote about it last week in Suzie's piece, GOT DJ, NOW WHAT? believe it or not. Look, I always said that getting DJ LeMahieu back was important, but that alone wasn't enough to get the Yankees back on top of the AL East if the starting rotation wasn't addressed. I think Brian Cashman surprised us all.

So yesterday the Yankees traded for Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates and some are calling this a risky move and while I don't disagree I think it is worth the risk. Taillon is coming back from his second Tommy John surgery and hasn't pitched since May of 2019 so I'm sure the Yankees will ease him back into game action. Taillon has a lot of upside and coming back from a second Tommy John surgery is definitely riskier than the first, but the Yankees have some good inside information to go off of.

This isn't a random move, the Yankees had a lot of resources to come to this decision, including Gerrit Cole. Back when both Taillon and Cole pitched down in the minors they were roommates. I'm sure Cole had a lot of insight for the Yankees that made them feel comfortable with this move.

And Taillon doesn't just get a friend's endorsement, at least one scout is also sold on his abilities. This is a lot of praise for someone who is coming back from Tommy John a second time and has been out of the game for a while.

The scout also called Taillon a "warrior" and I can't think of a better word to describe a guy who not only had Tommy John twice, but also defeated cancer. He's a fighter. We all love to see someone triumph over adversity. He has triumphed off of the field, it would be exciting to see him do it on the mound next.

We've been wondering how the Yankees were going to make the necessary improvements to the roster while operating on a budget and now we see how. Taillon will earn $2.25 million this season so he is the affordable option the Yankees were looking for which means it is more likely that the Yankees will not reunite with Masahiro Tanaka.

I'm excited by this move. I love when Brian Cashman pulls off a move none of us expect. Welcome to the Bronx, Taillon! 

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

Sunday, January 24, 2021


Gerrit Cole is undoubtedly the Yankees number one starter, but who is number two? That slot seems to virtually invisible based on the current roster. Masahiro Tanaka was that guy but with his days in the Bronx seemingly numbered, not sure I see number two in Corey Kluber, Jordan Montgomery, Deivi Garcia, or dare I say Domingo German. But I could see Chicago Cub Kyle Hendricks as that guy and that might be worth going over the luxury tax.

Source: Valley News

"He pitched in Game 7 of the World Series back in 2016, which the Cubs won. Across 175 games (174 starts), the right-hander owns a 3.12 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 133 ERA+. He doesn’t strike out a ton of batters, but he induces a lot soft contact (and ground balls), barely walks anyone, and is extremely efficient in regards to his pitch count in a majority of his outings," reported Fansided.

Hendricks is under contract with the Cubs through 2023 for $14 million a year and a $16 million vesting option for 2024. Trading for him makes sense and he could potentially "co-ace" the rotation with Cole, given his success with the Cubs, particularly in the post season. And Hendricks offers consistency, experience and perhaps a little bit of a Mike Mussina kind of quality. 

Source: Orange County Register

What would the Yankees give up for him? Likely Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar would be in the mix, opening up the need for the Yankees to sign another free agent or trade for a stellar outfielder.  I have had my eye on Joc Pederson who is currently without a home, now a free agent from the World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. 

"Theoretically, there should be plenty of interest in Pederson, given that the Steamer projections have him as a 20-top outfielder in wRC+ (118) and top 30 in WAR (2.4) next season. Pederson may not be a star, but he can be a solid contributor on a good team," reports

Source: The New York Post

Pederson would not be a good fit for center field but he could certainly fill in for Aaron Judge in right and certainly platoon in left with Brett Gardner. His left-handed bat would be a welcome addition to the Bronx as the Yankees currently are weak on pure left-handed hitters. And perhaps Pederson has been overlooked with big name players George Springer, Michael Brantley and Marcell Ozuna being at the top of team's lists.

So, it would be in the Yankees best interest to pursue Hendricks however, they would have to give up some great players in return plus go over the luxury tax. All of this would be worth it if the Yankees get the pitching they need to keep opponents from over taxing the Yankee offense and the expectations of hitting always bailing out bad pitching. Maybe guys like Judge and Giancarlo Stanton could actually stay healthy and the Yankees could be more balanced team with Kendricks in the rotation. 

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof

Saturday, January 23, 2021


DJ LeMahieu is the best offensive player in baseball, bar none. Yeah, I said it. What’s shocking to me is how that is not obvious to everyone in baseball. Sure, if you look out across baseball you can find players who are better home run hitters, better fielders, better clutch players, and more versatile players. No one else is among the best in ALL those categories.

Credit: The Athletic

His resume is sterling. You would be hard pressed to find another one like it. Two batting championship, one in each league. Three Gold Gloves. In the Top 5 of the MVP voting two years in a row. He led the American League in batting average (.364), on base percentage (.421), and OPS (1.011). If you normalize last year to a 162-game season, he would have hit 27 home runs, to follow his 26 home runs in 2019. His slash line for the combined two postseasons DJ played for the Yankees is .306/.363/.472/.835. He has proven his versatility, showing he’s more than capable of playing at 2B, 3B, and 1B with a combined fielding percentage of .983. Yes, he’s a fixture at second base now, but we all know how easily an injury can happen and change the daily lineup. Knowing he can move around helps us adapt to anything unexpected that might happen.

Credit: USA TODAY Sports

And then there’s his clutch hitting. Who can forget his 9th inning home run to tie Game 6 of the 2019 ALCS? Were it not for whatever was under Jose Altuve’s jersey that told him an off-speed pitch was coming, that would have likely been the pivotal hit of the season. Then last season he hit the go ahead run against Cleveland in Game 2 of the AL Wild Card Series. If the game is on the line and the Yankees need to score some runs, there is no one else I want at the plate than DJ.

The mad scramble teams go through every winter went on this year, and I couldn’t think of a more important signing than LeMahieu. Thankfully, he agreed to a 6-year contract worth $90M. There really was no better option for the Yankees. The contract guarantees he will be with the team through age 39 – basically the rest of his career. It makes us competitive for the next six years, and you cannot put a price on that.

--Ike Dimitriadis
BYB Contributor
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon


Hank Aaron died. It's a sad day in baseball. 

The New York Times writes:

"Hank Aaron, who faced down racism as he eclipsed Babe Ruth as baseball’s home run king, hitting 755 homers and holding the most celebrated record in sports for more than 30 years, has died. He was 86.

The Atlanta Braves, his team for many years, confirmed the death on Friday in a message from its chairman, Terry McGuirk. No other details were provided."

Baseball is hard enough. Now add in the death threats because of the color of your skin and still try to play with that kind of pressure.  You'd think that it was hard for Jackie Robinson, but then to see it so prominent in the 70's was just as disturbing. Hank Aaron earned everything that came his way because of hard work and a dedication to his craft. He's a legend, and it's a sad day in baseball when something like this happens.

Rest in Peace, friend. You are and will always be an inspiration!

Thursday, January 21, 2021


This just got more entertaining for me. The AL East just got a little more interesting now that George Springer is a Toronto Blue Jay. It took the Blue Jays a long time to finally get a big name, but now does it make them more of a contender?

Last season I was concerned about the Blue Jays. There were times where they were heating up and winning while we were blowing some games. They made it interesting for a while, they made it a race for second place in the division which I didn't like. They looked good last season, so with Springer they can be even better....maybe.

Personally, I think the Blue Jays overpaid for Springer. In full disclosure, I wasn't a huge fan BEFORE we all found out he was a cheating ASSTRO. The year the Astros stole the World Series he hit 29 doubles and has a .283 BA. In 2019 he hit 39 home runs and had a .293 BA but the rest of his numbers are outliers. He hasn't been consistent. No batting titles, he hasn't had a 100 RBI season or 200 hits in a season. I don't see how he is worth 6 years and $150 million, but I guess if you are the Blue Jays you have to spend big to attract the big names.

The Blue Jays did well without him, so I think he will help improve the team overall....but there's one thing Springer can't fix and that's the rotation. Just like the Yankees needed some rotation help and still due despite signing Corey Kluber, the Jays are relying on Hyun-jin Ryu to continue to stay healthy and pitch effectively. They are also counting on a bounce-back season from Robbie Ray which is a gamble.

While I don't feel comfortable with our current rotation, I don't think the Jays is any better than ours. So is Springer a game changer? Maybe a little, but unless he is going to pitch too they also have more work to do.

It's going to be an interesting season and I can't wait to see what happens when we see Springer. We all know the Yankees have overpaid before but it's nice to see the Blue Jays do it instead. 

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