The Yankees have made a total of 2 major league level moves this off-season but have come out the other end as the team that has benefited the most from recent events. The Yanks got their ace in Gerrit Cole and re-signed fan favorite Brett “The Jet” Gardner. Other than that, they signed veteran catchers Erik Kratz, Josh Thole and Chris Iannetta to minor league contracts, avoided arbitration with all of their eligible players, finally parted ways with Larry Rothschild, and completely transformed the strength and conditioning staff. While all of these moves and transactions are great for the organization, the real shit happened AROUND the Yankees.
The sign-stealing scandal decimated all of the Yankees’ American League rivals and also the Mets, because why not? The Astros were forced to fire their very successful manager and GM after they both got 1-year bans, give up their first and second round draft picks in 2020 and 2021, and received a $5mil fine. The Red Sox also fired their manager, Alex Cora, for his involvement when he was a bench coach for the Astros in 2017. MLB currently has an investigation going into the 2018 Red Sox (who were managed by Cora) and if anything is found there, expect them to receive penalties similar to that of the Astros. Then here come the Mets as they follow suit and part ways with newly hired manager, Carlos Beltran. Beltran was a player for the 2017 Astros and was stated to have heavy involvement in coming up with the sign-stealing techniques. The Mets wanted to avoid the conversation all together and not deal with any distractions as they try to put together a somewhat competitive team for 2020.
The only other team that can possibly contend in the AL East, the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays, also had a rough off-season, in my opinion. They gained players Hunter Renfroe and Jose Martinez, sure, but lost arguably their best all-around hitter, Tommy Pham, their staple middle-of-the-lineup guy, Avisail Garcia, and their Yankee-killer, Travis d’Arnaud. The (Devil) Rays still have a young core to get the job done and win 90+ games but I don’t see them as a real threat in the playoffs, even with the prettiest player in MLB, Kevin Kiermaier. The front office of the (Devil) Rays was also effected as Chaim Bloom, Senior VP of Baseball Operations, and James Click, VP of Baseball Operations, took General Manager positions for the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros, respectfully. These are just the latest in a string of thefts from their front office in the last few years. Just see this tweet from ESPN’s Buster Olney:
And now the news just broke that Red Sox superstars Mookie Betts and David Price have been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. This is exactly what you want as a Yankees fan; to see your bitter rival pretty much give up on the season by trading their best player and their number two starter. The blockbuster was actually a three way with the Yankees’ son, the Minnesota Twins, joining in on the action. Full trade below:
- OF Mookie Betts (BOS)
- SP David Price (BOS)
- Cash (Half of David Price’s remaining contract – $48mil) (BOS)
- RP Brusdar Graterol (MIN)
- 2020 Comp B draft pick (MIN)
Red Sox Receive:
- OF Alex Verdugo (LAD)
- INF Jeter Downs (LAD)
- C Connor Wong (LAD)
- SP/RP Kenta Maeda (LAD)
- Player TBNL (LAD)
- Cash (LAD)
Now in all seriousness, I believe that this was a move that the Red Sox had to do. They had to rip the band-aid off to hit the reset button and get under the luxury tax. Betts was going to make $27mil in 2020 after just breaking the third-year arbitration record and then become a free agent in 2021. David Price was going to cost them $32mil per year for the next 3 years and he has been plagued with injuries and the inability to pitch against the Yankees (very important FYI). This move allows the Red Sox to reset more quickly compared to waiting out bad contracts and Verdugo is NOT a bad baseball player by any means so there’s that.
Now as I was writing this article, the Yankees just released a statement saying that starting pitcher, James Paxton, had to have spinal surgery to remove a cyst and is expected to miss 3-4 months. Fuck. The Yanks were so close to having the perfect offseason but, hey, that’s how the cookie crumbles I guess. With the Red Sox losing their manager and two All-Stars, I’ll be surprised if they win 80 games. The (Devil) Rays lost some key players and practically their whole front office. The Astros are scumbags and karma will take care of them. Even with the loss of Paxton for almost half of the season, there has never been a clearer path to the World Series for the Yankees than right now. I’m calling it: Yankees vs. Dodgers in the World Series…. Yankees in 6. Book it.