Anthony McCarron

Anthony McCarron is a contributor to SNY

Derek Jeter's first home game at Yankee Stadium came on June 2, 1995 against the Seattle Mariners. But, as a 20-year-old, Jeter opened the 1996 season as the Yankees' starting shortstop. Jeter batted ninth and was 1-for-3 with a run scored in the Yanks' 7-3 win on Opening Day. (AP)
Derek Jeter's first home game at Yankee Stadium came on June 2, 1995 against the Seattle Mariners. But, as a 20-year-old, Jeter opened the 1996 season as the Yankees' starting shortstop. Jeter batted ninth and was 1-for-3 with a run scored in the Yanks' 7-3 win on Opening Day. (AP)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The 2020 season will be the 45th in Bill Evers' pro coaching career and he's picked up a unique bit of Yankee lore along the way: He's the guy who delivered the happy news to both Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera that the future Hall of Famers were headed to the big leagues for the first time. 

"I tell people that all the time," Evers said. "How cool to manage both of those guys in Triple-A?"

With Jeter's Cooperstown call coming on Tuesday evening when the Class of 2020 is announced, Evers took a few moments to relive telling Jeter to get to Seattle to join the Yankees after Tony Fernandez got hurt in 1995.

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Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Seems crazy, all these years later, with Cooperstown so close and a career full of magic and grit in the record books, right alongside five World Series championships. 

But there was a time when Derek Jeter was a lonely teenager getting slammed by failure, wondering how the heck he'd make it in his chosen profession. He was away from home for the first time and errors were piling up. So was doubt. 

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 (Jeff Curry)
(Jeff Curry)

Steroids blew up the record books, changed the way we look at Cooperstown talent and cast a shadow of distrust and suspicion over the National Pastime.

Sign stealing has polluted the World Series, besmirched talented championship teams, cost four prominent executives their jobs - so far - and is making some wonder if technology should be banned from ballgames.

With the current uproar over sign stealing, there seems to be a natural urge to measure one modern scandal against the other. Both plunged spiny tentacles deep into the soul of the baseball, but which is worse, getting jacked up chemically to play better, or swinging based on ill-gotten electronic intel?

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 (Jeff Curry)
(Jeff Curry)

Steroids blew up the record books, changed the way we look at Cooperstown talent and cast a shadow of distrust and suspicion over the National Pastime.

Sign stealing has polluted the World Series, besmirched talented championship teams, cost four prominent executives their jobs - so far - and is making some wonder if technology should be banned from ballgames.

With the current uproar over sign stealing, there seems to be a natural urge to measure one modern scandal against the other. Both plunged spiny tentacles deep into the soul of the baseball, but which is worse, getting jacked up chemically to play better, or swinging based on ill-gotten electronic intel?

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Carlos Beltran, a superb hitter and gifted outfielder, becomes eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2023. Time may dim the current furor over his prominent role in the Astros' sign-stealing scandal, but it's hard to imagine his candidacy won't be impacted by it. 

Is it enough to keep him out of Cooperstown? That's unknowable now. 

Maybe it sinks what some believe is a borderline case, or at least gives undecided voters pause. Some longtime voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America I spoke to Thursday say they now consider the scheme part of the data that they must evaluate in Beltran's case.

But perhaps Beltran, a nine-time All-Star, was so good that all will be overlooked. One voter said Thursday said he won't view the star's candidacy any differently in light of the sign-stealing.  

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Gerrit Cole/Aaron Judge/Giancarlo Stanton
Gerrit Cole/Aaron Judge/Giancarlo Stanton

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Gift ideas for the Yankees? Sigh.

So much pressure to make another "Cole in their stocking" joke. But since we used that one every single day of the "12 Days of Christmas" (and then some), Baseball Santa needs new material.

We do, however, have a long list of potential presents for the Yanks for 2020 this holiday season. With a loaded roster, strong front office and manager, and a reservoir of prospects, they seem to be the team that has everything. But, much like the work the Yanks have left to do with their roster, we found spots around the margins of their pinstriped tree to leave some gifts.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, Gio Urshela, Luis Severino, Miguel Andujar, Anthony McCarron
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Yoenis Cespedes/Edwin Diaz
Yoenis Cespedes/Edwin Diaz

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Sing with us, everyone! "Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the Mets' bullpen is delightful." 

Wait, that's not right. 

But maybe Baseball Santa has answers to the club's relief woes and some other trouble areas as we look at some gift ideas for Flushing's favorites. What's going under their blue-and-orange tree this holiday season? Let's see

Tags: Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Pete Alonso, Seth Lugo, Anthony McCarron
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Mets' Jacob deGrom (Treated Image by SNY)
Mets' Jacob deGrom (Treated Image by SNY)

We've collected some of our end-of-year content as we approach 2020. A version of this story originally published on Dec. 11, 2019.


Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

In the wake of baseball's winter pitching splurge, a popular social media hot take around the Mets goes something like this: Jacob deGrom is a bargain, even at $27.5 million per year! 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Anthony McCarron
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Josh Hader (Treated Image by SNY)
Josh Hader (Treated Image by SNY)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

With the Yankees signing Gerrit Cole to a record contract earlier this winter, it's been a pretty buzzworthy offseason already in the Bronx. 

How great would it be if they kept that sizzle going and made a trade for Josh Hader, the lefty strikeout machine who has anchored Milwaukee's bullpen the last two years? 

Maybe the Brewers are just in listen mode and the whole idea's a longshot. Perhaps it'd be easier and smarter to just re-sign Dellin Betances, considering the hefty return Milwaukee likely will demand. 

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Chance Adams, Clint Frazier, Deivi Garcia, Estevan Florial, Gleyber Torres, J.A. Happ, Miguel Andujar, Thairo Estrada, Anthony McCarron
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Mets' Jacob deGrom (Treated Image by SNY)
Mets' Jacob deGrom (Treated Image by SNY)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

In the wake of baseball's winter pitching splurge, a popular social media hot take around the Mets goes something like this: Jacob deGrom is a bargain, even at $27.5 million per year! 

Yes, the Mets are getting their money's worth out of the five-year, $137.5 million extension they gave their ace before last season, especially since he won a second consecutive National League Cy Young Award in 2019. 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, Anthony McCarron
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Gerrit Cole (Thomas B. Shea)
Gerrit Cole (Thomas B. Shea)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Here's the ideal Winter Meetings headline for Yankees fans:

"Happy Holidays! Yanks Get Cole in their Stocking." 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Austin Romine, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Miguel Andujar, Anthony McCarron
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Jul 16, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Blake Treinen (39) pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the ninth inning at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)
Jul 16, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Blake Treinen (39) pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the ninth inning at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Sure, you're hyped for some Mets free agent or trade action at the upcoming Winter Meetings. But unless the club pulls off a surprise blockbuster move, the most newsworthy Mets stuff coming out of San Diego might be the first public appearance by a club bigwig since the announcement of sale negotiations with billionaire Steve Cohen.

When Brodie Van Wagenen steps in front of cameras and reporters, there will be lots to discuss, far beyond how to fix that horrid bullpen.

Tags: Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia, Noah Syndergaard, Robinson Cano, Seth Lugo, Steven Matz, Yoenis Cespedes, Zack Wheeler, Anthony McCarron
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Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and Gerrit Cole (SNY)
Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and Gerrit Cole (SNY)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Chew on this while you chew on a turkey leg. 

We know you're not supposed to bring up politics or religion at Thanksgiving Dinner. But what about predictions for Major League Baseball free agency? 

Even your eccentric uncle likes those tasty morsels.

Tags: Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, Zack Wheeler, Anthony McCarron
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Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and Gerrit Cole (SNY)
Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and Gerrit Cole (SNY)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Chew on this while you chew on a turkey leg. 

We know you're not supposed to bring up politics or religion at Thanksgiving Dinner. But what about predictions for Major League Baseball free agency? 

Even your eccentric uncle likes those tasty morsels.

Tags: Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, Zack Wheeler, Anthony McCarron
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Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Let's get this out of the way early: Derek Jeter should be elected unanimously to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Duh. 

Will he get 100 percent of the vote of the Baseball Writers Association of America in this election cycle? Well, that's one of the biggest questions this voting season, and it'll be a talking point until the Class of 2020 is announced Jan. 21. 

Does it really matter? Of course not. He's getting in next year, whether everyone votes for him or a few sit back and make him pay some sort of absurd "first-ballot tax" because he might not have had the same kind of monster career as, say, Hank Aaron. Or if they despise his fielding because the new defensive metrics weren't in love with the Yankee star. 

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The Mets introduce Carlos Beltran as their 22nd manager.
The Mets introduce Carlos Beltran as their 22nd manager.

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Joe Torre knows all about being a first-timer piloting the Mets. It's where he started his managerial career in 1977, where he navigated the pitfalls of a new challenge and learned and learned and learned.

And he's got some vital wisdom for Carlos Beltrán, who just took over that same gig: Beltrán, like every first-time manager ever, is going to make mistakes. It's what happens afterward that is important.

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The World Series champion New York Yankees receive a ticker tape parade in Lower Manhattan through the "Canyon of Heroes" Friday, Nov. 6, 2009 in New York.  The Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies Wednesday to take the series 4-2.  (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow) (Jason DeCrow)
The World Series champion New York Yankees receive a ticker tape parade in Lower Manhattan through the "Canyon of Heroes" Friday, Nov. 6, 2009 in New York. The Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies Wednesday to take the series 4-2. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow) (Jason DeCrow)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Tino Martinez can't believe it, either.

The former Yankees great is as perplexed by the club's recent championship drought as some of the Bronx Bombers' most ardent fans.

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Oct 11, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch speaks to the media before the Houston Astros and New York Yankees work out at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports (Thomas Shea)
Oct 11, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch speaks to the media before the Houston Astros and New York Yankees work out at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports (Thomas Shea)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

While Joe Torre says he won't be involved in Major League Baseball's investigation into the Astros, the league's chief baseball officer has no problem offering his strong opinion on the accusations that Houston used technology, including cameras, to steal signs during their 2017 World Series run:

"It's disturbing to me, I don't think there's any secret," Torre said Thursday evening. "Sign stealing has always been a part of our game, but in the legitimate way - you get to second base and if you see something the catcher is doing, you try to let the hitter know."

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Didi Gregorius
Didi Gregorius

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Didi Gregorius came to New York nearly five years ago tasked with replacing a pinstriped legend at a high-profile position. He was the shortstop-after-Derek Jeter, but he never seemed to let that looming shadow engulf him and he crafted a strong career as a Yankee.

Now, however, Gregorius is a free agent and it's hard to peg whether his future is in the Bronx. Will the Yankees, who saw the value of depth last season, bring him back even though they have a potential replacement on the roster?

Or is Gregorius, the best free agent shortstop, headed for a nice multi-year deal elsewhere, even after his disappointing return from Tommy John surgery this year? 

Tags: Didi Gregorius, DJ LeMahieu, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, Luke Voit, Miguel Andujar, Anthony McCarron
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Mets' Jacob deGrom (Treated Image by SNY)
Mets' Jacob deGrom (Treated Image by SNY)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

We all know what we see when Mets ace Jacob deGrom pitches -- nuclear stuff delivered with competitive fire and brains from someone who just might be baseball's best pitcher.

"If he's not, he's certainly in that conversation," says Hall of Famer Tom Glavine, the former Braves and Mets lefty who won 305 games in his career.

And if deGrom wins his second consecutive NL Cy Young Award -- the voting results will be announced Wednesday evening and he is the favorite -- he'll get a different kind of next-level career validation, one that few pitchers in baseball history have enjoyed.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Anthony McCarron
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Mets' Pete Alonso and Yankees' Aaron Judge
Mets' Pete Alonso and Yankees' Aaron Judge

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

We'll be talking about Pete Alonso and Aaron Judge for years to come, especially if their careers keep soaring from here. How lucky are we to have dueling sluggers with personality plus tearing up the same baseball town at the same time? 
 
Alonso, who broke Judge's rookie home run record last season, likely will add another connection to Judge on Monday, when the National League Rookie of the Year is announced. The Mets first baseman must be the choice, unless there is a significant tear in the space-time continuum or something similarly seismic. Judge won the AL Award in 2017 when he set the homer record Alonso (53 homers) eventually beat by one. 
 
With all these links between the two, comparisons are natural. Who's better? Where will their careers end up? SNY asked some baseball brains to talk about the similarities and differences between the sluggers and we looked at some numbers from their respective rookie seasons. 

Tags: Aaron Judge, Pete Alonso, Anthony McCarron
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Mets' Pete Alonso and Yankees' Aaron Judge
Mets' Pete Alonso and Yankees' Aaron Judge

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

We'll be talking about Pete Alonso and Aaron Judge for years to come, especially if their careers keep soaring from here. How lucky are we to have dueling sluggers with personality plus tearing up the same baseball town at the same time? 
 
Alonso, who broke Judge's rookie home run record last season, likely will add another connection to Judge on Monday, when the National League Rookie of the Year is announced. The Mets first baseman must be the choice, unless there is a significant tear in the space-time continuum or something similarly seismic. Judge won the AL Award in 2017 when he set the homer record Alonso (53 homers) eventually beat by one. 
 
With all these links between the two, comparisons are natural. Who's better? Where will their careers end up? SNY asked some baseball brains to talk about the similarities and differences between the sluggers and we looked at some numbers from their respective rookie seasons. 

Tags: Aaron Judge, Pete Alonso, Anthony McCarron
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Clint Frazier
Clint Frazier

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Clint Frazier, his "legendary bat speed" and all, has been a magnet for attention in his young career. That doesn't figure to change this winter when the Yankees probably have to determine once and for all whether he's a trade chip or a promising cog in their outfield. 

Trouble is, there isn't an easy answer. 

Frazier, who's still only 25, was the headliner in GM Brian Cashman's widely-praised deal that sent ace reliever Andrew Miller to the Indians at the 2016 deadline. He was the fifth pick in the 2013 MLB Draft and most believed he'd morph into an offensive force. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Giancarlo Stanton, Anthony McCarron
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Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen and manager Carlos Beltran after his press conference. (SNY)
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen and manager Carlos Beltran after his press conference. (SNY)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

It was a casual lunch, Italian food in Manhattan. Allard Baird and Omar Minaya both have known Carlos Beltrán for years and the three pals ate together last month, a meal that was "more personal than business," Baird says. 

"It wasn't in great detail about managing or anything like that," Baird adds. 

Still, Beltrán made a powerful impression when he talked about how he saw himself contributing to a ball club. It was clear to Baird and Minaya, the top lieutenants to Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen, that Beltrán was "much further along than anyone would've anticipated," Baird says, and had bloomed into manager material. 

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Anthony McCarron
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Carlos Beltran
Carlos Beltran

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

As Carlos Beltrán takes over the Mets -- he'll be introduced as their new manager in a press conference Monday morning -- he joins a baseball fraternity that's rare in today's game: 

Beltrán and Don Mattingly of the Marlins are the only current managers who were superstars as players. The ex-players over the rest of the managerial landscape did not have the same kind of big careers, and they certainly didn't make the kind of money Beltrán did. 

Whether it's fair or unfair, the number of non-star managers seems to stir debate over ex-stars getting the job. Should anyone care if Beltrán doesn't fit the profile of the scrappy middle infielder who soaked up every detail to get by as a player and now deploys that knowledge as a manager? Or if he's not a shrewd catcher steeped in the calculus of running a pitching staff?

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Anthony McCarron
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Yankees' Brett Gardner
Yankees' Brett Gardner

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | : 

Bang your bat on the dugout ceiling if you want Brett Gardner to return to the Yankees in 2020. 

That thumping you hear? Might be GM Brian Cashman or manager Aaron Boone whaling away with a Louisville Slugger. 

And why not? The Yankees could use Gardner for a 13th season in pinstripes. And not just because Aaron Hicks recently had Tommy John surgery and figures to be out for at least eight months.

Tags: Brett Gardner, Anthony McCarron
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Mets' Carlos Beltran
Mets' Carlos Beltran

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

So will Carlos Beltrán, first-time manager, be the next Alex Cora or the next, uh, Mickey Callaway

Obviously, we won't even begin to know anything about Beltrán as a manager until he takes over the Mets and actually does the job. It's up to him to prove the Mets made the right call in hiring someone with no previous managing or coaching experience.

But it's worth noting that a manager piloting his first team can both win the World Series in his first season, as Cora did with the 2018 Red Sox, or be out of a job quickly, like Callaway. 

Tags: Carlos Beltran, Anthony McCarron
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Steve Cishek (Jeff Curry)
Steve Cishek (Jeff Curry)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Sure, the Mets must wrap up their search for a new manager. But there's plenty of roster work looming for team brass this winter, too, including addressing the club's desperate needs in the bullpen and on defense. 

We'll see how Brodie Van Wagenen and his lieutenants decide to do that. But in this free advice portion of the offseason, we have some under-the-radar ideas that might help.

With that in mind, here's a look at some of the less-heralded free agents the Mets should investigate as they maneuver about the winter marketplace, including a couple for the rotation, where the Mets have to fill one spot and - finally - create some organizational depth: 

Tags: Brett Gardner, Cameron Maybin, Anthony McCarron
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Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez
Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | : 

Gary Sánchez might be the most polarizing Yankee not named Giancarlo Stanton. He's a slugging wunderkind but went so cold both at the plate and behind it during the Postseason that he's sparked public debate over whether he should be in pinstripes next year.

But if GM Brian Cashman's comments Thursday are any indication, Sánchez isn't going anywhere. Cashman, a longtime defender of Sánchez, says the 26-year-old is a fixture who is "part of the solution" in Yankeeland.

"I thought Gary Sánchez had a great season, obviously outside of the injuries," Cashman said during his season wrap-up press conference at Yankee Stadium.

Tags: Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Pete Alonso, Anthony McCarron
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Oct 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) and right fielder Aaron Judge (99) celebrate their win over the Houston Astros in game five of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. The New York Yankees won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) and right fielder Aaron Judge (99) celebrate their win over the Houston Astros in game five of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. The New York Yankees won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | : Any playoff exit stings, but that doesn't mean 2019 was all bad for the Yankees, the Jeterian angst over no championship aside. 

With that in mind, here's a look at our awards for this Yankee year, some modeled on the real ones, some not so much: 

Team MVP

Tags: DJ LeMahieu, Anthony McCarron
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Yankees GM Brian Cashman
Yankees GM Brian Cashman

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

With a strong, young nucleus of stars such as Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and Luis Severino and others, the Yankees at least have the base of a contender for years to come.

But that doesn't mean there aren't significant questions facing GM Brian Cashman and the Yankee braintrust this offseason after another disappointing exit from the playoffs. And winning windows sometimes close before we think they will, if clubs don't make the right moves. 

Will it be a long, Cole'd -- get it? -- winter? Will Aroldis Chapman opt-out? Who's on first? (No, seriously). 

Tags: Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Brett Gardner, Dellin Betances, DJ LeMahieu, Edwin Encarnacion , Gary Sanchez, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, Greg Bird, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Luke Voit, Miguel Andujar, Anthony McCarron
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Major League Baseballs
Major League Baseballs

You've done the hard work of pegging a pitcher's tell - does he tilt his glove a certain way when throwing his curveball? Or, through keen observation, discovered that a catcher is sloppy setting up behind the plate and you can see what pitch he's calling for next.

Baseball's unwritten rules say it's OK to exploit this intel. After all, as Rich Donnelly, the longtime MLB third-base coach put it, "If they're stealing your signs, then your signs aren't good enough."

But turning to electronics or cameras in the quest for an in-the-moment edge? Or being so overt when delivering the information by, say, whistling so loud the other dugout notices? 

That's where the romance of sign-stealing ends and hard feelings begin. 

Tags: Gary Sanchez, James Paxton, Anthony McCarron
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J.D. Davis
J.D. Davis

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

J.D. Davis emerged as one of the most intriguing Mets this past season, a Brodie Van Wagenen success story who had a knack for big hits, a glittering stat line and a catchy nickname: "Just Dingers."

But while Davis mashed enough that the Mets must find a regular lineup spot for him, there is some uncertainty around the 26-year-old slugger this offseason. That means he could be one of the most intriguing Mets of the winter, too.

Is Davis the club's starting left fielder in 2020? What about all those other outfielders on the roster? Perhaps he could start at third base, his regular position in the minors. One former Met believes if Davis were given that job before spring training, the confidence boost would help him handle the position defensively.

Tags: Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo, Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso, Yoenis Cespedes, Anthony McCarron
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Jun 22, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) talks to New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) at second base during a pitching change during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jun 22, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) talks to New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) at second base during a pitching change during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

For months, it seemed destined to be this way, Astros versus Yankees, a trip to the World Series the prize. There were some tense moments for Houston - well, at least until the first inning of that deciding game against the Rays - but here we are:  

Astro-geddon. Cole-pocalypse. A series of Judge-ian proportions. A Bunch of "Savages" versus Baseball's Best Team.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, CC Sabathia, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Tyler Wade, Anthony McCarron
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Sep 24, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Sep 24, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees are probably healthier than they've been all season and they're coming off a sweep of the Twins in the AL Division Series. But Aaron Boone and the rest of the Yankee brass still face questions heading into the next round.

The big one, of course, is Astros or Rays? We'll find out Thursday night when Tampa Bay and Houston meet in a deciding Game 5.

Once that's decided, they can work in more detail on the others. Here are three roster questions facing the Yankees as they prep for the best-of-seven AL Championship Series, which begins Saturday night in either Houston or the Bronx, depending on who wins in Houston Thursday:

Tags: Aaron Hicks, CC Sabathia, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Tyler Wade, Anthony McCarron
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Gleyber Torres
Gleyber Torres

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

After Gleyber Torres' remarkable sophomore season and the performance he put on Monday night, it's tempting to brand the 2016 trade that brought him to the Yankees as the club's best deadline deal of all time. 

Yes, we're still ga-ga over the power display, the sweet glove, and the postgame charm after the Yanks buried the Twins in Game 3 of the AL Division Series.  So are his teammates -- while spritzing celebratory bubbly and beer around the clubhouse, Aaron Judge anointed Torres as the "next Yankee great" and it's hard to argue. 

Torres is the youngest Yankee to whack three extra-base hits in a postseason game -- take that, DiMaggio -- and never seems overwhelmed.

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Gleyber Torres, Anthony McCarron
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Jul 24, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) celebrates his home run in the fifth inning against New York Yankees at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)
Jul 24, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) celebrates his home run in the fifth inning against New York Yankees at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Same old Twins? Nah. There's at least one enormous difference, a potential series-wrecker with a remarkable postseason resume and the powerful swing to perhaps light up the AL Division Series between the Yankees and their old October punching bags.

Nelson Cruz, one of the best playoff sluggers ever, wasn't on any of the five previous Twins teams sent home by the Yanks over the years. So he's unlikely to be fazed by any sour vibe attached to Minny for old postseason flops, if such karmic baggage actually exists.

And while Cruz, who led the Bomba Squad with 41 home runs, gets a lot of attention for his power, he's more than just a slugger, says one opposing scout who has evaluated him.

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Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Aaron Judge called James Paxton "the best left-handed pitcher in the game, in my opinion, just based on the stuff he has and just his bulldog mentality on the mound." So perhaps it figures that the Yankees are trotting out their prized winter acquisition to start Game 1 of the AL Division Series against the Twins. 

Paxton against Minnesota's José Berríos is the only matchup we know for certain right now. You are so cagey, Rocco Baldelli! The Twins skipper would go no further on his pitching plans during Thursday's official ALDS workout day at Yankee Stadium. 

So in this look at the early pitching in the series, we are taking our best guesses for Games 2 and 3 for the Twins. Their pitching is in a weird place right now because Michael Pineda was suspended and Martin Perez has struggled, so it's understandable. We're pegging Jake Odorizzi for Game 2 and cool story Randy Dobnak for Game 3, subject to change for very good reasons, outlined below. 

Tags: James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Anthony McCarron
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Jul 23, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco (11) singles in the fourth inning against New York Yankees at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)
Jul 23, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco (11) singles in the fourth inning against New York Yankees at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

In a short series between the two slugging-est teams of all time, there's no telling what might happen, which could make the Twins-Yankees AL Division Series a treat.

Home runs -- or suppressing them -- should play a huge role in the outcome and we'll certainly be hearing a lot about whatever karmic advantage the Yankees may or may not have because they've eliminated the Twins five times in October over the years.

Here's a look at six numbers that could determine which team advances to the AL Championship Series:

At Home on the Road

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Sep 29, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches against the Texas Rangers during the second inning in the final home game at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)
Sep 29, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches against the Texas Rangers during the second inning in the final home game at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)

Job one for the Yankees on Sunday was to get out of the regular-season finale with no injuries, but with the way this IL-fest of a year has gone, forget that.

The Yankees lost to the Rangers, 6-1, in the last game ever at Globe Life Park, but the pinstriped headline was Gio Urshela leaving in the fourth inning with what the team is calling a mild left ankle sprain.

The Yankees told reporters in Texas that doctors examined Urshela at the ballpark and there were no further tests planned. The Yankees don't play again until Friday when they open the AL Division Series against the Twins at Yankee Stadium, so Urshela has time to heal.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Chad Green, DJ LeMahieu, Gary Sanchez, Gio Urshela, Masahiro Tanaka, Miguel Andujar, Tyler Wade, Anthony McCarron
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Jul 22, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres (25) throws the ball to first base for an out in the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)
Jul 22, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres (25) throws the ball to first base for an out in the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)

With Twins-Yankees in the playoffs, there's always a temptation to chuckle and say, "The Yanks own Minnesota. The Twins have no shot."

Insert wisecrack here suggesting Minny will be in a fragile mental state for this latest AL Division Series between the teams, permanently scarred and scared by the past. After all, the Yanks have eliminated the Twins from the playoffs five times since 2003 and beaten them in 10 consecutive postseason games.

There! A fresh-baked hot take on Round 1. Bring on the Astros!

Tags: Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Didi Gregorius, DJ LeMahieu, Edwin Encarnacion , Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Anthony McCarron
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Sep 25, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
		
		 (Noah K. Murray)
Sep 25, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

We won't be certain until the Cy Young voting results are announced in November. But we know already, right?

Jacob deGrom, pitching in uncharted territory Wednesday night - hey, the Mets scored bushels of runs for him! - put an exclamation point on another historic season in his final start of the year. Now he's poised to win a second straight National League Cy Young Award and join some of the biggest names in pitching history in that rare feat. 

He'll also carve out his own spot in Mets lore: No Met pitcher - not even Tom Seaver - has ever won back-to-back Cy Young Awards. And once deGrom wins again, he'll join Seaver as the only Mets pitchers with more than one Cy Young.

DeGrom, who got 29-of-30 first-place votes to win the award last season, threw seven shutout innings against the Marlins, allowing only two hits. It was his third consecutive start with seven shutout innings and he finished his year with 23 straight scoreless frames. 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Anthony McCarron
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Sep 25, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
		
		 (Noah K. Murray)
Sep 25, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) pitches in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

We won't be certain until the Cy Young voting results are announced in November. But we know already, right?

Jacob deGrom, pitching in uncharted territory Wednesday night - hey, the Mets scored bushels of runs for him! - put an exclamation point on another historic season in his final start of the year. Now he's poised to win a second straight National League Cy Young Award and join some of the biggest names in pitching history in that rare feat. 

He'll also carve out his own spot in Mets lore: No Met pitcher - not even Tom Seaver - has ever won back-to-back Cy Young Awards. And once deGrom wins again, he'll join Seaver as the only Mets pitchers with more than one Cy Young.

DeGrom, who got 29-of-30 first-place votes to win the award last season, threw seven shutout innings against the Marlins, allowing only two hits. It was his third consecutive start with seven shutout innings and he finished his year with 23 straight scoreless frames. 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Anthony McCarron
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CC Sabathia
CC Sabathia

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

CC Sabathia keeps statistical company with Hall-of-Famers. He has the same WAR as Dazzy Vance, and he's accumulated more than Juan Marichal and Don Drysdale. His ERA-plus is better than that of Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan and Fergie Jenkins, among others.

Sabathia is also one of only 17 pitchers with 3,000 strikeouts -- among the first 16, only Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling aren't honored in Cooperstown. And he's the 14th pitcher in MLB history to have 250 victories and 3,000 strikeouts. From that list, everyone but Clemens is enshrined.

Throw in Sabathia's 2007 AL Cy Young Award, the 2009 ALCS MVP, a ring with the 2009 Yankees, a nifty peak from 2006-12 and a rep as one of the best teammates around, and it's clear Sabathia has a tremendous Cooperstown resume.

Tags: CC Sabathia, Anthony McCarron
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Sep 22, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) watches his homerun during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Sep 22, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) watches his homerun during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Sure, it was great the Yankees banked another victory Sunday afternoon with an 8-3 decision over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. But the day's most important development was the way Luis Severino pitched. 

 

Severino making his second start since coming off the Injured List, was masterful while being backed by home runs from Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and D.J. LeMahieu as the Yanks cruised in their final home game of the regular season. 

Here are six takeaways from Sunday: 

Tags: Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, DJ LeMahieu, Luis Severino, Anthony McCarron
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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

Not even Tom Seaver won back-to-back Cy Young Awards, so perhaps that gives you an idea of how difficult it is to achieve what Jacob deGrom just might do by the end of this season.

But while the Mets ace has been masterful -- again -- this year, he's not as clearly the best pitcher in the National League the way he was in 2018. The rest of his season, beginning with his start Friday night in Cincinnati, will have a massive impact on whether deGrom hoists another trophy.

In taking a look at how he can get it done, let's start with this: deGrom is in terrific shape in this race. He leads the NL in multiple important categories -- strikeouts, WHIP, bWAR and lowest opponent OPS. He's second in FIP (fielding independent pitching), third in ERA and fifth in both innings and ERA-plus.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Anthony McCarron
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If you're an observer, Yankees-Astros is the playoff series you want and you want it to last as long as possible. Sign us up for a rematch of the 2017 ALCS and let those two behemoths swing away for seven games. The record books can sort it all out.

However, if you're mainly interested in Yankee fortunes, well, it might be best if the Astros encounter an upset in the ALDS. Not that the Yankees can't beat them, but facing that lineup, backed by the mega-rotation of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke is not exactly apple picking on a cool October afternoon.

With that in mind, here are some potential pinstriped playoff scenarios to mull over during the final few weeks of the season. It's not too early to start thinking about these things. The Astros and Yankees are already battling in a preliminary that could have real impact on next month -- who finishes with the AL's best record and gets home-field advantage.

Tags: Didi Gregorius, Domingo German, Masahiro Tanaka, Anthony McCarron
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Gleyber Torres
Gleyber Torres

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Back in spring training, Yankees bigwigs noticed that Gleyber Torres was "really launching the ball," as GM Brian Cashman puts it. But not even the most optimistic Torres observers expected the infielder's power surge this season.

Entering Thursday's doubleheader in Detroit, Torres has 36 home runs, the most of any middle infielder in baseball. But slugging is only part of what's, ahem, launched the 22-year-old into the conversation about the best young stars in baseball.

Tags: Didi Gregorius, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Anthony McCarron
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Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The number that matters most to the Mets' slim Wild Card dreams is, of course, four. That's how many games they are behind the Cubs for the second Wild Card spot at the start of play Tuesday.

It's also how many teams they have to pass if they're going to make the postseason. In addition to the Cubs, the Brewers, Diamondbacks and Phillies are ahead of them.

Daunting? Yep. FanGraphs says their playoff odds are 8.6 percent. That's not great, but it's not Elimination-ville, either. Maybe if the Mets can wrangle some of the following numbers their way, they've got a shot.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano, Seth Lugo, Zack Wheeler, Anthony McCarron
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Jun 19, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) goes to the dugout between innings at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jun 19, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) goes to the dugout between innings at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

CC Sabathia only lasted three innings Friday night because of pain in his right knee that he ranked as a "10" on the ache scale. He wants to pitch again this season, even plans to, but he has no way of knowing if he can until his knee is drained on Saturday and he possibly gets a cortisone shot. 

"It's frustrating, for sure," Sabathia said after the Yankees lost - again - to Oakland, this time by an 8-2 score at Yankee Stadium. "I feel like I can still get outs and help the team."

But Sabathia's status may help the Yankees avoid a thorny October question. Before his knee started bothering him again while batting during his previous start in Los Angeles, it was unclear where he fit into the Yankees postseason pitching plans. Sabathia, who has authored a Cooperstown-worthy career, has pitched in big games for the Yankees before and holds lofty status inside their clubhouse.

Tags: CC Sabathia, Domingo German, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Luke Voit, Masahiro Tanaka, Anthony McCarron
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