Anthony McCarron

Anthony McCarron is a contributor to SNY

Mar 3, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) runs the bases after hitting a two run home run during the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports (Butch Dill)
Mar 3, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) runs the bases after hitting a two run home run during the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports (Butch Dill)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

When both Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner recently predicted this year's Yankees would break the big-league mark for team home runs set by last year's Yanks, it got us thinking:

Where do these record homer-bashing clubs end up in October? Does owning that prestigious standard all but guarantee a parade that season?

Tags: Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Greg Bird, Luke Voit, Miguel Andujar, Anthony McCarron
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Feb 25, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Feb 25, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

James Paxton probably proved last April there's at least some innate grace-under-pressure coursing through his veins. That's when he deftly handled that bald eagle landing on his back during a pre-game ceremony in Minnesota.

Some of us would've had a full freak-out, complete with running, screaming and a mitt and cap flopping to the ground. But Paxton was better than that. Way better. You've seen the viral video. Big Maple has Big Calm.

Does that mean he's a lock to handle the Bronx fishbowl this season, his first as a member of the Yankees? No, but that, plus his undeniable talent, at least makes you want to see him work during the pomp of Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, the kickoff to this season laden with outsized expectations.

Tags: CC Sabathia, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Justus Sheffield, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Anthony McCarron
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Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The length of Bryce Harper's new contract in Philadelphia will be subject to tons of scrutiny. Some chuckles, too -- what's he going to be like in far-off 2031?

That lustrous hair certainly won't be the same. Will that sweet swing? Ha, ha, 13 years is a long, long time.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Yoenis Cespedes, Zack Wheeler, Anthony McCarron
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Judge, Sanchez arbitration 00:01:07
New York Yankees Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge are up for arbitration in 2020, will the Yankees be able to sign them to team friendly deals?

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | Luis Severino got paid life-changing money and didn't have to endure the potential hurt feelings that the nitpicking of an arbitration hearing can sometimes make bloom. The Yankees grabbed cost certainty on an ace-level arm. 

And the rest of us scored some juicy topics to kick around when the Yanks and Severino came to an agreement Friday on a contract extension for the righty. Especially this: 

Does Severino's deal signal that the Yanks are ready to talk pre-free agency deals with the rest of their young studs? In other words, on deck, Aaron Judge

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Luis Severino, Noah Syndergaard, Anthony McCarron
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New York Mets' Noah Syndergaard (34) delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (AP)
New York Mets' Noah Syndergaard (34) delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 6, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (AP)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | Luis Severino got paid life-changing money and didn't have to endure the potential hurt feelings that the nitpicking of an arbitration hearing can sometimes make bloom. The Yankees grabbed cost certainty on an ace-level arm. 

And the rest of us scored some juicy topics to kick around when the Yanks and Severino came to an agreement Friday on a contract extension for the righty. Especially this: 

Does Severino's deal signal that the Yanks are ready to talk pre-free agency deals with the rest of their young studs? In other words, on deck, Aaron Judge

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Luis Severino, Noah Syndergaard, Anthony McCarron
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Aug 29, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) tips his helmet after hitting a grand slam home run against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Young)
Aug 29, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) tips his helmet after hitting a grand slam home run against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Young)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | : There are stars, bargains, and talent that's in-between still remaining on baseball's free agent market, even though it sometimes seems the pilot light has gone out on the Hot Stove season.

But does waiting too long to sign with a team negatively impact the kind of season a player figures to have? Neil Walker thinks so and has "the worst month-and-a-half of my entire career last year" to offer as evidence.

Walker signed with the Yankees on March 12 and had a lousy start to a subpar season, with his lack of a proper spring training at least partly to blame, the veteran says.

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Sep 27, 2018; St. Petersburg, FL, USA;New York Yankees third baseman Neil Walker (14) looks on during the first inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Sep 27, 2018; St. Petersburg, FL, USA;New York Yankees third baseman Neil Walker (14) looks on during the first inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | : There are stars, bargains, and talent that's in-between still remaining on baseball's free agent market, even though it sometimes seems the pilot light has gone out on the Hot Stove season.

But does waiting too long to sign with a team negatively impact the kind of season a player figures to have? Neil Walker thinks so and has "the worst month-and-a-half of my entire career last year" to offer as evidence.

Walker signed with the Yankees on March 12 and had a lousy start to a subpar season, with his lack of a proper spring training at least partly to blame, the veteran says.

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Could this be Mets 2019 bullpen? 00:00:30
The New York Mets have made a lot of moves this offseason to help strengthen their bullpen, is this how it will look in 2019?

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | Before we throw too many compliments around, let's see how this revamped Mets' bullpen performs in the cauldron of the regular season for Brodie Van Wagenen's "Come get us" Mets. 
 
Relief pitchers are, after all, a famously combustible lot that can experience dips and surges in performance from year to year.
 
But the Mets' relief corps is, on paper, at least, much deeper this winter and the addition Friday of lefty Justin Wilson only bulks up a unit that mostly betrayed the club last year, even as Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo emerged as bullpen assets. 

Tags: Edwin Diaz, Jeurys Familia, Seth Lugo, Anthony McCarron
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Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | : In prepping for Mariano Rivera's inevitable (duh!) election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, I toured his pages on the indispensible Baseball Reference. To go there is to get lost in a rabbit hole of Rivera's pitching excellence. 

There's Rivera's absurd 205 career ERA-plus, which is the best of all time, and his 652 saves, the most ever. Or his ridiculous postseason numbers -- 0.70 ERA, 0.759 WHIP, just two October homers in 141 high-pressure innings. Keep going -- you might calculate the last digit of Pi before you run out of fascinating Rivera numbers. 

Heck, he even adds a signature number now, becoming the first player to get 100% of the vote on the ballots of members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, this one included...

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Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | : Mel Zitter is already thinking about summer nights at Yankee Stadium, watching two of his former pupils working in the bullpen, wearing pinstripes.

"That's going to be a trip," Zitter says, chuckling.

It should be a point of pride for Zitter, since he runs Youth Service, the Brooklyn sandlot club that new Yankee teammates Dellin Betances and Adam Ottavino both pitched for in the mid-2000s.

Tags: Dellin Betances, Anthony McCarron
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Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless ninth inning.  (AP)
Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless ninth inning. (AP)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Let's start the discussion of my 2019 ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame with an easy one: Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer in history, gets my vote en route to enshrinement. 
 
Any objections? No? 
 
That won't last long. 

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Aug 22, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil (68) hits an RBI single against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Aug 22, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil (68) hits an RBI single against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Might be a strange way to start a story about Jeff McNeil, but here goes: Jed Lowrie is a very good ballplayer.

The Mets are a better club after adding Lowrie on a two-year, $20-million deal Thursday. He's no "if," that's for sure. And the Mets should be applauded for bringing in a switch-hitter who should play regularly around the infield and deliver offense, even if some believe they needed a righty outfielder more.

But signing Lowrie makes us wonder about McNeil, a second-half sensation last year: Where does he fit now on this Mets roster?

Tags: Jeff McNeil, Anthony McCarron
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Jun 12, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (36) in the dugout against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
		 (Brett Davis)
Jun 12, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway (36) in the dugout against the Atlanta Braves in the first inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)

Terry Francona knows all about a rough first year as a manager, considering he had it worse back in 1997 in Philadelphia than his friend, Mickey Callaway, did with the Mets last season.

Francona, who came into that year "naïve" by his own admission, piloted the Phillies to a 68-94 record in his inaugural season on the bench. He's since gone on to become one of baseball's most successful and respected skippers, winning two World Series with Boston and winning the last three American League Central titles in Cleveland.

Asked to assess the rookie season of his former pitching coach - Callaway guided the Mets to a 77-85 record in 2018 - Francona said, "I think he's incredibly talented and confident in what he's doing.

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Times Square isn't the only place where the ball drops around here. Difference is, when it happens in the stadiums and playing fields of New York, with pigskin and horsehide instead of the 12-foot diameter geodesic sphere plummeting on New Year's Eve, you're not always looking to celebrate afterward.

There have been some notorious "drops" in NYC sports history, moments that have helped derail championship hopes, besmirched reps and provided endless video low lights for the type of person who can't look away from a wreck.

In some cases, one New York team has benefited from another's folly -- Luis Castillo's drop, anyone? In others, it's been nothing but heartbreak.

Tags: Alex Rodriguez, Odell Beckham Jr., Anthony McCarron
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Times Square isn't the only place where the ball drops around here. Difference is, when it happens in the stadiums and playing fields of New York, with pigskin and horsehide instead of the 12-foot diameter geodesic sphere plummeting on New Year's Eve, you're not always looking to celebrate afterward.

There have been some notorious "drops" in NYC sports history, moments that have helped derail championship hopes, besmirched reps and provided endless video low lights for the type of person who can't look away from a wreck.

In some cases, one New York team has benefited from another's folly -- Luis Castillo's drop, anyone? In others, it's been nothing but heartbreak.

Tags: Alex Rodriguez, Odell Beckham Jr., Anthony McCarron
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New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez celebrates with teammates after an interleague baseball game against the New York Mets Friday, June 12, 2009, in New York. The Yankees won the game 9-8. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)
New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez celebrates with teammates after an interleague baseball game against the New York Mets Friday, June 12, 2009, in New York. The Yankees won the game 9-8. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Times Square isn't the only place where the ball drops around here. Difference is, when it happens in the stadiums and playing fields of New York, with pigskin and horsehide instead of the 12-foot diameter geodesic sphere plummeting on New Year's Eve, you're not always looking to celebrate afterward.

There have been some notorious "drops" in NYC sports history, moments that have helped derail championship hopes, besmirched reps and provided endless video low lights for the type of person who can't look away from a wreck.

In some cases, one New York team has benefited from another's folly -- Luis Castillo's drop, anyone? In others, it's been nothing but heartbreak.

Tags: Alex Rodriguez, Odell Beckham Jr., Anthony McCarron
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Brian Cashman Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Brian Cashman Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Aside from a few nifty quips by Bryce Harper's agent, there was little real action on baseball's two biggest free agents at this week's Winter Meetings. Harper and Scott Boras sat down with a few clubs and Manny Machado has meet-and-greets scheduled in the coming days, but neither player seems close to a resolution. 

Instead, the best intel to come out of Las Vegas might have been about the developing bullpen market. Or further confirmation that shopping for a top-end catcher, by trade or free agency, will be pricey. 

That affects both the Yankees and Mets, who are searching for upgrades. Here's a look at the market following the week in Vegas. 

Tags: Amed Rosario, Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, Brandon Nimmo, David Robertson, Didi Gregorius, Giancarlo Stanton, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Anthony McCarron
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Brodie Van Wagenen speaks during a news conference to announce the New York Mets new General Manager Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)
Brodie Van Wagenen speaks during a news conference to announce the New York Mets new General Manager Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Aside from a few nifty quips by Bryce Harper's agent, there was little real action on baseball's two biggest free agents at this week's Winter Meetings. Harper and Scott Boras sat down with a few clubs and Manny Machado has meet-and-greets scheduled in the coming days, but neither player seems close to a resolution. 

Instead, the best intel to come out of Las Vegas might have been about the developing bullpen market. Or further confirmation that shopping for a top-end catcher, by trade or free agency, will be pricey. 

That affects both the Yankees and Mets, who are searching for upgrades. Here's a look at the market following the week in Vegas. 

Tags: Amed Rosario, Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, Brandon Nimmo, David Robertson, Didi Gregorius, Giancarlo Stanton, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Anthony McCarron
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Baltimore Orioles' Manny Machado, waits in the dugout before being presented with his All-Star jersey before playing the Texas Rangers in a baseball game, Sunday, July 15, 2018, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton) (Gail Burton/AP)
Baltimore Orioles' Manny Machado, waits in the dugout before being presented with his All-Star jersey before playing the Texas Rangers in a baseball game, Sunday, July 15, 2018, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton) (Gail Burton/AP)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

James Paxton is a terrific addition to the Yankees rotation and whatever relief pieces GM Brian Cashman lures to the Bronx likely will be key bullpen figures in 2019, too. Cashman also wants another starting pitcher. 
 
Whoever those hurlers are, though, they won't make the kind of splash that signing Bryce Harper or Manny Machado would. Heck, or both. This is the Yankees we're talking about, after all. 
 
Nor will the new pitchers impact the Yankee payroll in quite the same way as the 26-year-old mega-stars, who are projected by some this winter to stomp Giancarlo Stanton's record $325 million contract. 

Tags: Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, Anthony McCarron
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Sep 18, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) singles in a run in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Sep 18, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) singles in a run in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

Brodie Van Wagenen promised the first move wouldn't be the Mets' last one this off-season. 

So what's the new GM's next move? 

Maybe we'll find out during baseball's Winter Meetings, which begin Monday in Las Vegas, also known as Bryce Harper's hometown. The game's annual gathering is a prime opportunity for futher roster reshaping, beyond the Mets acquisitions of Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz.

Tags: Andrew Miller, Brandon Nimmo, David Robertson, Dominic Smith, Michael Conforto, Travis d'Arnaud, Anthony McCarron
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Aug 21, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners third baseman Robinson Cano (22) waits between pitches against the Houston Astros during the third inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Nicholson)
Aug 21, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners third baseman Robinson Cano (22) waits between pitches against the Houston Astros during the third inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports (Joe Nicholson)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

We'll need years to know the real results from this developing Mets-Mariners blockbuster trade.

But one thing about it is certain, beyond the instant pressure it applies to new GM Brodie Van Wagenen: For the Mets, it's no cookie-cutter deal straight from the blueprint for running a ballclub in today's Major League Baseball.

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New York Yankees former pitcher Andy Pettitte at the Old Timer's Day ceremony at Yankee Stadium. (Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees former pitcher Andy Pettitte at the Old Timer's Day ceremony at Yankee Stadium. (Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

While ballot newcomer Mariano Rivera is virtually a shoo-in to gain election to the Baseball Hall of Fame's Class of 2019, the candidacy of his former Yankees teammate, Andy Pettitte, is more complex. It also figures to last longer.

So no Cooperstown Core Two next summer? Probably not. A second member of the Yankees famed Core Four likely won't join Rivera until Derek Jeter is eligible in 2020. Pettitte is a long-shot first-ballot Hall of Famer. 

In fact, he may never gain election. Or perhaps he eventually will. 

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New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies. (AP)
New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies. (AP)

In the midst of gushing over Jacob deGrom's "unheard of" Cy Young season, John Franco echoed something that's on the minds of many Mets fans these days:

"Hopefully," Franco said, "they work something out to keep Jake around a long time."

And Franco, who spoke Thursday evening before attending the 16th annual New York City gala to benefit Joe Torre's Safe at Home Foundation, believes it's only a matter of time before deGrom and the Mets agree on a contract extension that will keep deGrom in Queens.

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto, Anthony McCarron
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It's impossible to un-hear something. So what does Brodie Van Wagenen, the powerful CAA agent, do with the information he doubtless holds on his high-level Mets clients now that he's pulled a career change and is becoming the team's new general manager.

That's just one of the questions facing the man whom the club has picked to lead its baseball operations. There's plenty to wonder about any new exec, including the biggest question: Can you build a consistent winner? But Van Wagenen's soon-to-be previous life as an agent brings additional queries, too. 

With that in mind, here are seven questions Van Wagenen should answer as he begins his Mets tenure. 

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, Anthony McCarron
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Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) reacts after the top of the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 26, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) reacts after the top of the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Chipper Jones almost sounds like a Mets fan as he discusses Jacob deGrom's magical 2018 season, gushing how the righty's performance was "Maddux-esque."

"I saw utter domination," Jones says. "I mean, you're talking about an all-time type season."

Jones, the Hall of Fame third baseman who tormented the Mets during his playing career in Atlanta, isn't trying to make up all that history to Flushing faithful with a few kind words. No, the former Braves' star is "a baseball fan. I'm a baseball realist and a baseball historian, to a certain extent...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Anthony McCarron
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August 13, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; Tino Martinez is introduced as the New York Yankees honor the 1996 World Series team at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Munson-Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports (John Munson-Pool Photo)
August 13, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; Tino Martinez is introduced as the New York Yankees honor the 1996 World Series team at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Munson-Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports (John Munson-Pool Photo)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Tino Martinez, the slugging first baseman on the all-world 1998 Yankees, sees a lot of his old club in this year's version of the Bronx Bombers.

"For sure," Martinez said before playing in the annual charity golf tournament that benefits Joe Torre's Safe and Home Foundation. "And I think it started last year a little bit, toward the end, that last run they had at the end of the year.

"The way they play every single game. They have a lot of fun playing the game and they play with energy and when they're down by two, three, four runs in the eighth or ninth inning, they find a way to come back. I think the teams in the past haven't done that. They kinda just gave into the loss."

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Former big-league manager Jim Leyland may have at least part of a solution for one of baseball's hot-button issues: extreme defensive shifting.

Leyland, who won 1,769 games as a big-league manager for four teams, isn't a fan of shifts. If he had his way, the strategy would be banned and teams would play defense more straightaway.

Barring that, Leyland suggests that shifting be limited so fielders aren't moving around the infield and outfield between pitches...

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Former big-league manager Jim Leyland may have at least part of a solution for one of baseball's hot-button issues: extreme defensive shifting.

Leyland, who won 1,769 games as a big-league manager for four teams, isn't a fan of shifts. If he had his way, the strategy would be banned and teams would play defense more straightaway.

Barring that, Leyland suggests that shifting be limited so fielders aren't moving around the infield and outfield between pitches...

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July 8, 2000:
		In a "true" Subway Series doubleheader, the Yankees defeated the Mets at Shea Stadium before sweeping the doubleheader in the Bronx. Dwight Gooden returned to Shea in a Yankees uniform and earned the win. (AP)
July 8, 2000: In a "true" Subway Series doubleheader, the Yankees defeated the Mets at Shea Stadium before sweeping the doubleheader in the Bronx. Dwight Gooden returned to Shea in a Yankees uniform and earned the win. (AP)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | Dwight Gooden, fresh off being released by the then-Devil Rays, was working out at the Yankees' minor-league complex in Tampa in 2000, eager to author a better coda to his career. Gooden was 35 at the time, knew his career was in its late stages, but wanted one more taste.

Billy Connors, the Yanks' "pitching guru," who had been tweaking Gooden's pitching mechanics, called Gooden into his office and gave him the "there's good news and bad news" conundrum:

"What's the good news?" Gooden recalled asking...

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga during media day at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga during media day at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

It's hard to project what the Yankees will get out of Jonathan Loaisiga on Friday night when the 23-year-old righty makes his MLB debut at Yankee Stadium. He's only got 35 games of pro experience, after all, none above the Double-A level.

But two talent evaluators who have watched the Nicaragua native say he's a highly-competitive hurler with what one calls "big stuff," including a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and can jump a tick higher.  

"Chip-on-shoulder type," says Dan Greenlee, the Marlins director, player personnel, who saw Loaisiga when he worked for the Yankees. Greenlee further describes Loaisiga like this: "Pounds zone. Fastball has velocity and swing-and-miss life. Power curveball and serviceable changeup. 

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka, Anthony McCarron
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New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | The first time he pitched against the Yankees, Jacob deGrom was a sub, thrust into the 2014 Subway Series rotation because Dillon Gee got hurt. But deGrom surprised everyone -- including, let's be real, the Mets -- with a tremendous outing in his big-league debut, a bellwether of the brilliance to come.

And that kind of brilliance is exactly what the Mets need Friday night when deGrom takes the mound in the Subway Series once again. As one of baseball's best pitchers now, he'll never have another eye-opening stunner like his first one, and the Mets don't need a stopgap now -- they need a solution to their miserable funk.

Who better than deGrom to end a six-game losing streak and inject some relevance into a foundering season? The Mets (27-32) are 16-31 since their hot start. Some view this Subway Series as a tipping point for their entire campaign...

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Anthony McCarron
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Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Sure, the brawl in April injected some needed sizzle into Yankees-Red Sox. As rage coursed through Fenway, we got a new set of rivalry villains, a new chapter for the battle log, and a jacked-up anticipation for the next feud installment, which begins Tuesday night in the Bronx.

Real temperature, not manufactured buildup, is back.

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Brawl suspensions handed out 00:05:23
On Baseball Night in New York, the panel discusses the ramifications from Wednesday night's brawl between the Yankees and Red Sox.

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | The Rivalry had grown musty in recent years, tabloid hype or fodder for the loudest louts in the stands at Yankee Stadium or The Fens. But not much more than that. Not anymore.

Joe Kelly taking selfies with Derek Jeter as the Red Sox feted the Yankee captain in his last game in Boston a few years ago? Party in the Bronx for David Ortiz? Hardly qualifies as bitter. The teams, mostly, have not been juggernauts at the same time, not like the early-to-mid-2000s. The Rivalry super-villains faded from the majors and into Yankee-Red Sox lore. Relative peace settled over an old feud.

But thanks to Wednesday night's brawl in Boston, there's real heat between the Yankees and Red Sox again. The kind stoked by hard feelings and anger, blood and bruises. Maybe this next generation of the rivalry is going to be as passionate as years past. Thank goodness...

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Mar 29, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets thrid baseman Todd Frazier (21) fields a ground ball and throws out St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Dexter Fowler (not pictured) during the 8th inning of the game on opening day at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)
Mar 29, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets thrid baseman Todd Frazier (21) fields a ground ball and throws out St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Dexter Fowler (not pictured) during the 8th inning of the game on opening day at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | There was a moment in the Mets' victory on Monday in Miami when it was easy to dream on their defense. Amed Rosario dashed to his right to backhand a grounder and made a strong, nervy throw to second instead of throwing to third for perhaps an easier play. Asdrubal Cabrera made a smooth turn at second and a strong relay to complete a double play.

In their recent history, the Mets' glove story was mostly nightmare stuff. But that perhaps has changed during their quick start in 2018. Their fielding has impressed scouts, registered some solid numbers in defensive metrics, and set social media abuzz after slick plays such as that aforementioned DP.

"I would say it's improved," one opposing team's scout said of the Mets' defense. "Infield defense has improved with Rosario and Cabrera up the middle. (Adrian) Gonzalez handles himself well at first while (Todd) Frazier is OK at third. "

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New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka walks to the dugout after the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. (Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka walks to the dugout after the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. (Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | Giancarlo Stanton's whiffs and the bullpen's surprising struggles are grabbing much of the attention for the Yankees' .500 start to the season as they enter a rivalry showdown Tuesday night in Boston.

But another facet of the club may morph into the trouble area that occupies the Yanks' braintrust throughout the 2018 season -- the starting rotation. Or, perhaps more accurately, the starters not named Luis Severino.

The Yankees came into the season with questions about rotation depth. Some wondered why they didn't add a frontline starter over the winter, especially in a market that contained bargains...

Tags: CC Sabathia, Jordan Montgomery, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Anthony McCarron
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Dec 11, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) is introduced with general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone. (Kim Klement)
Dec 11, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) is introduced with general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone. (Kim Klement)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | Even fellow big leaguers sound a bit like goggle-eyed fans when talking about Giancarlo Stanton and the next phase of the prolific slugger's career -- calling Yankee Stadium home. And veteran baseball folks barely blink when producing outsized predictions about Stanton's potential in the Bronx, in that Yankee lineup, in that homer-friendly ballpark.

That, plus the intrigue over whether Stanton can avoid injury, learn to navigate the New York fishbowl, and cope with expectations as towering as some of his home runs, makes him a must-watch this season. The best home run hitter added to a team that perhaps surprised by getting within one game of the World Series last year? That'll draw eyeballs.

It all starts when Stanton reports to Yankee camp this weekend and the club has its first full-squad workout on Monday. While folks in Tampa will have an up-close look, the curiosity about Stanton in pinstripes extends to other camps and opposing team's corridors of power...

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 (Bruce Kluckhohn)
(Bruce Kluckhohn)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Frank Viola has vivid memories of what he calls "the get-together in Homestead" back in 1995. It was his chance to show teams that he was healthy coming back from Tommy John surgery.

 

"I was hanging on," recalls Viola, the former Mets star who was a 35-year-old free agent at the time. "Do I keep going? Coming off Tommy John, you don't want that to end your career. I wanted to prove to myself that I still had what it takes."

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BNNY: Plawecki on doubters 00:03:37
The Baseball Night in New York crew discusses Kevin Plawecki's comments about Mets fans heavily underestimating him and Travis d'Arnaud.

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | Kevin Plawecki knows there are folks out there who hold low expectations for the Mets' catching tandem. And, yes, he's aware that some baseball pundits have suggested this winter that backstop is still an area of real Met need, that it should be fixed by bringing in free agent Jonathan Lucroy or another catcher.

But Plawecki, who split duties with Travis d'Arnaud at the end of last season, believes he and his teammate are being misjudged. It's part annoying, part motivating.

"I think we're very underestimated," Plawecki said in a telephone interview with SNY.tv. "But that comes with the territory of playing in New York. They underestimate a lot of things...

Tags: Kevin Plawecki, Travis d'Arnaud, Anthony McCarron
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Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | If you're handicapping what's next for the Mets now that they've celebrated returning free agent Jay Bruce with a Citi Field press conference, here's the way Sandy Alderson looks at the rest of the Met winter:

He'd rather sign a free agent than make a trade to improve the club. He says he could offer a potential free-agent infielder a "significant" contract. He doesn't agree with the hot takes that peg the Mets' farm system as mostly-devoid of desirable players, nor do he and his lieutenants believe the Mets need to add another bullpen arm.

Oh, and Alderson likes Brandon Nimmo's skill set an awful lot...

Tags: Brandon Nimmo, Jay Bruce, Anthony McCarron
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Jul 29, 2017; Cooperstown, NY, USA; The National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown, NY. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)
Jul 29, 2017; Cooperstown, NY, USA; The National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown, NY. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports (Gregory Fisher)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | Yes, I know. My Hall of Fame ballot is wrong.

Heck, the only person on the planet who thinks it's right is the one typing this. And even I acknowledge there are some things I could've changed. More on that in a moment.

My ballot's first imperfection, at least according to some, stems from the fact that I'm a Big Hall guy. I've voted for 10 players -- the maximum allowed -- every year since 2013. Some believe there should be fewer players elected; I say, "What fun is that?"

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The 2018 Hall of Fame votes 00:06:14
On Baseball Night in New York, the crew discusses the current state of Hall of Fame voting for 2018.

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | Yes, I know. My Hall of Fame ballot is wrong.

Heck, the only person on the planet who thinks it's right is the one typing this. And even I acknowledge there are some things I could've changed. More on that in a moment.

My ballot's first imperfection, at least according to some, stems from the fact that I'm a Big Hall guy. I've voted for 10 players -- the maximum allowed -- every year since 2013. Some believe there should be fewer players elected; I say, "What fun is that?"

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Seth Lugo pitches at Citi Field.  (Brad Penner (USA Today))
Seth Lugo pitches at Citi Field. (Brad Penner (USA Today))

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | Seth Lugo can't quite get used to the idea that the kids now at his old high school sometimes call him "sir" when they see him at the gym. "Hey," Lugo says, "I'm still a player. Don't call me 'sir.'"

After a moment's reflection, though, Lugo admits, "Maybe I am 'sir.'"

The students at Parkway High in Bossier City, La. might be on to something, considering the Met pitcher's career arc. A former 34th-round pick, Lugo missed his first full pro season because of spinal surgery, made a splash as a surprise contributor to the Mets' 2016 run to the NL Wild Card Game, starred in the World Baseball Classic last year, and then faced a serious elbow injury that he knows he'll "have to stay on top of the rest of my career."

Tags: Seth Lugo, Anthony McCarron
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 (Jasen Vinlove)
(Jasen Vinlove)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

A friend phoned Bobby Richardson Saturday morning to tell him about the Giancarlo Stanton-to-the-Yankees reports, and Richardson couldn't help but think of the parallels to his own Yankee days.

Two epic sluggers in the same lineup? Sounds like the early 1960s Yankees to Richardson, who was the second baseman on those championship clubs. We'll see if Stanton and Aaron Judge can become the modern-day Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, but Richardson calls it "a good analogy."

 

Tags: Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Anthony McCarron
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Jun 8, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)
Jun 8, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports (Aaron Doster)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Just for future reference, the Yankees' club record for home runs in a season is 245, set in 2012. With what the Yanks have just done, that mark - and perhaps multiple other longball standards - is in serious jeopardy.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Anthony McCarron
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Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

It's that time of year again. No, not the holiday season.

The ballplayer, "I feel great!" season.

Tags: Noah Syndergaard, Anthony McCarron
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Mets pitcher Matt Harvey delivers a pitch at Citi Field. Credit: Associated Press Images
Mets pitcher Matt Harvey delivers a pitch at Citi Field. Credit: Associated Press Images

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | No one could possibly know what Matt Harvey will bring to the Mets next season, certainly not with spring training still two months away and so much doubt lingering over the pitcher once known as the Dark Knight of Gotham.

Still, several teammates expressed hope Thursday that Harvey can rebound from the wreckage of two injury-ravaged seasons, including the worst one of his career in 2017.

"I'm rooting for him, always pushing for him," Noah Syndergaard said Thursday at the Mets' annual holiday party for kids. "A healthy Matt Harvey is pretty dangerous, so hopefully he can come back to (2013). I'm looking forward to seeing how 2018 pans out for all of us."

Tags: Jerry Blevins, Kevin Plawecki, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Anthony McCarron
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BNNY: Aaron Boone presser 00:06:18
The BNNY crew discusses how Aaron Boone was able to successfully communicate with the media during his first press conference as a manager.

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | It won't show up on any stat sheet. But maybe Aaron Boone got the first managerial win of his career Wednesday -- on a chilly December day, no less -- simply by not downplaying the "no experience" element of his hiring as the 33rd Yankee manager.

Even if you're one of those Boone skeptics, wringing your hands over the fact that he's never managed or coached in the Majors, you must give the man this:

He understands there are questions about him. He gets that he does not walk into the Yankee clubhouse with a free pass just because the front office gave him the gig. He knows he's got a few things to learn on the job...

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Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller (24) talks with manager Terry Francona (17) and pitching coach Mickey Callaway (32) (Ken Blaze)
Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller (24) talks with manager Terry Francona (17) and pitching coach Mickey Callaway (32) (Ken Blaze)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter | Steve Karsay is a Queens kid, born and raised in New York. He pitched in the Bronx cauldron with the Yankees, serving in the same bullpen as Mariano Rivera, and even subbed at closer for Rivera during a stretch in 2002.

So Karsay has a grasp of the New York market, its pressures and strains. And Karsay, who has worked with Mickey Callaway the last few years in the Indians organization, believes the new Mets manager is suited to thrive in it, mostly because "one of his strengths is, he's a great communicator," Karsay says.

"I think he'll excel at being a manager. He'll be a players' manager, but with the stern-ness and the growth for them to learn under him."

Tags: Jacob deGrom, Michael Conforto, Noah Syndergaard, Yoenis Cespedes, Anthony McCarron
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BNNY: Yankees' 3-2 series lead 00:05:05
The Baseball Night in New York panel discusses the Yankees' unpredicted offensive performance against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 of the ALCS.

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Might be time to call the Yankees what they are: The best team in the American League.

Sure, the standings didn't say so during the regular season, and the Yanks only got into the playoff tournament via the wild card. But they're playing like it now in this run of quality baseball that's been nothing short of spectacular, including their stomping of ace Dallas Keuchel and the Astros, 5-0, Wednesday in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.

To recap: The Yanks beat the 102-win Indians in the ALDS after Cleveland had its foot on their pinstriped necks. Down 0-2 after their manager blew the second game, the Yankees roared back to win the series.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, Chase Headley, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Anthony McCarron
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |: If you were one of the many fans howling at Joe Girardi earlier this postseason, livid over his no-challenge gaffe in the AL Division Series, you'd better be lining up to dole out kudos now.

It's only right.

Because whatever happens the rest of this October for the Yankees, Girardi has managed a helluva playoffs, aside from that brain lock against Cleveland. Sure, his explanation afterward was inane, so much claptrap about not wanting to break up Chad Green's rhythm, but Girardi backed off that the next day, admitted he blew it, offered a mea culpa.

Tags: 2017 Yankees Playoffs, Aaron Judge, CC Sabathia, Chad Green, Gary Sanchez, Houston Astros, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Anthony McCarron
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