Gerrit Cole effectively admitted on Tuesday to using banned substances while pitching.
Cole was asked by reporter Ken Davidoff whether he has used Spider Tack, a sticky substance, while pitching. The New York Yankees pitcher hemmed and hawed and admitted he didn’t know how to answer the question.
Cole wrestling with the question, and not denying his usage of the substance, was telling.
The New York Yankees finally have some positive news as it pertains to injuries.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Bronx Bombers confirmed that the club has activated slugger Giancarlo Stanton and third baseman Gio Urshela from the injured list.
In corresponding roster moves, infielder Mike Ford and utility man Miguel Andujar were optioned to the club’s alternate training site.
Stanton, 30, hasn’t played since Aug. 8 and has been dealing with a hamstring strain that was deemed likely to sideline him for up to a month. In 14 games, Stanton hit .293 with three home runs, seven RBI, three doubles and 11 strikeouts.
Urshela, meanwhile, went on the injured list on Sept. 4 due to a right elbow bone spur. The 28-year-old hit .272 with six home runs, 23 RBI, seven doubles and a .873 OPS in his first 31 games of the summer.
After some speculation about the Washington Nationals needing to play their games elsewhere, the team has been cleared to play opening night against the New York Yankees at Nationals Park.
“Nationals cleared to play in D.C., sources tell The Athletic,” Ken Rosenthal tweeted. “Opening series against Yankees will take place as scheduled. The Washington Post reported yesterday the team was exploring alternate sites due to city coronavirus regulations.”
MLB games are set to resume next week, with the Nationals defending their World Series title with a matchup against the Yankees. However, there became a growing concern that the Nationals would not be able to play at their home park in light of COVID-19. Washington was reportedly exploring hosting games in Fredericksburg or West Palm Beach, as local authorities were reportedly unwilling to wave protocols that call for anybody exposed to the coronavirus to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Judge spoke to reporters after reviewing his CT scans with the team. The test, which he underwent on Friday, determined that the stress fracture is showing slight improvements. The All-Star outfielder also surprised reporters by disclosing that the results showed his pneumothorax, commonly known as a collapsed lung, completed healed.
The New York Yankees are ready to go big in their pursuit of free-agent pitcher Gerrit Cole.
According to Bob Klapisch of the New York Times, the Yankees have made a seven-year, $245 million offer to Cole. That would break the record for the highest AAV on a pitcher’s contract, a mark that is currently held by Zack Greinke.
As impressive as the offer is, it’s not a done deal. The Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers are still involved, and could win Cole over with nine- or ten-year offers.
It is no secret that the Yankees have made Cole their primary target of the offseason, and they look like they’ll do anything to beat the competition and land their man. Whether that means adding a couple of extra years if someone else does remains to be seen, but the Yankees want Cole and appear determined to get him at any cost.
To be clear, it’s easy to understand why — Cole posted a 2.50 ERA with 326 strikeouts in 212.1 innings in 2019.
The 2019 MLB season has been a year filled with great baseball. These 25 stories were the biggest of the regular season.
1 of 25
Home runs galore
The “juiced ball” has impacted the game in recent seasons but not close to what we saw in 2019. MLB had a record number of home runs, and there were similar results at Triple-A, which also adopted the same juiced ball. More than half of MLB teams could set their own franchise records this season, and the Twins became the first team in history with five 30 home run hitters.
2 of 25
Continued strategic evolution
The game continues to change shape with more defensive shifts, bullpen moves and quick hooks for starting pitchers. More teams than ever are also employing “openers” and bullpen starts.
3 of 25
Christian Yelich’s encore
Yelich’s season ended in September due to a knee injury, but up to that point he proved his 2018 NL MVP season was no fluke. He raised his OPS by 100 points and had a career-high 44 home runs, 30 stolen bases and a .329 batting average in only 130 games. Yelich’s main competition for the MVP Award this year is Dodgers star Cody Bellinger.
4 of 25
Mike Trout’s excellence
Trout’s season ended early with a foot injury, but the Angels star is the clear favorite to win the AL MVP, which would be his third. He led the AL in on-base and slugging as of mid-September, with a 1.083 OPS and 45 home runs.
5 of 25
Injuries no problem for Yankees
The amount of star power the Yankees lost to injuries this season was remarkable, but even more remarkable was their response. The team lost stars Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Gary Sanchez, Luke Voit, Miguel Andujar, Luis Severino and Dellin Betances for significant periods, but several role players and veteran minor leaguers emerged to help the team easily win the AL East. 6 of 25
The reigning World Champs had a season they’d like to forget. While they’re likely to finish above .500, the pitching staff held them back from returning to the playoffs in 2019. The starting rotation had a 4.88 ERA as of Sept. 17, 20th in MLB, and lost high-priced starters Chris Sale and David Price for significant portions of the season. Front office decision head Dave Dombrowski was fired in September, and the team could be set for big moves this offseason. 7 of 25
Tyler Skaggs’ tragic death
The beginning of July brought tragedy to MLB, as Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs passed away on July 1. The cause of death was later found to be opioids, and MLB is contemplating opioid drug testing, as a result. 8 of 25
No stopping Justin Verlander
Verlander has aged like a fine wine and is well on his way to winning his second Cy Young Award this year. At age 36, he leads the AL in wins (19), ERA (2.50) and innings pitched (212). Houston should feel good about the two years remaining on his contract.
9 of 25
New trade deadline rules
MLB ended the Aug. 31 waiver deadline this year, resulting in a wild July 31 trade deadline. Among the headliners were Zack Greinke getting traded to Houston and Nicholas Castellanos moving onto the Cubs. If the league wanted to create more buzz with a single deadline, it accomplished its goal. 10 of 25
Mets offseason moves backfire
New Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen was an unorthodox hire, and he had an unorthodox approach with the team in his first offseason while many were calling for a rebuild. Instead, the team took on money and traded some of its top prospects to Seattle for Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano. Both of those players floundered in 2019, and free agent acquisitions Wilson Ramos and Jed Lowrie were also major disappointments. 11 of 25
Young players continue to drive the game, and 2019 saw another terrific rookie class. Among the stars to emerge were Pete Alonso, Fernando Tatis Jr., Yordan Alvarez, Bo Bichette, Bryan Reynolds and Chris Paddack. 12 of 25
The recent success of the Astros and Cubs has driven many other teams to follow the same rebuild plan, which means stripping down to nothing at the major league level. That’s probably the smartest way to build a champion, but it’s been rough for fans of Baltimore, Detroit and Miami, among others. As a result, league attendance continues to decline with those teams being major culprits.
13 of 25
The injury bug is inescapable, but the numbers of stars lost this year was particularly disappointing. Identifiable players like Giancarlo Stanton, Corey Kluber and Carlos Correa missed large portions of the season, and September featured the losses of Mike Trout, Christian Yelich and Javier Baez. 14 of 25
More free agent drama
The 2017-18 offseason was a rough one for veteran free agents, and it was arguably worse this past offseason. For the second straight year, multiple second-tier stars were without contracts come opening day. Dallas Keuchel eventually found a one-year deal in Atlanta, and Craig Kimbrel signed a three-year agreement with the Cubs, but the recent issues are publicly impacting the relationship between the owners and players. 15 of 25
Bruce Bochy’s swan song
Giants manager Bruce Bochy is wrapping up his career this season, as he continues to be honored for his 25 years of service between the Padres and Giants. San Francisco’s season is ending in disappointment for the third straight year, but Bochy is rightfully getting plenty of recognition.
16 of 25
Los Angeles claimed its seventh straight division title and is hoping that its last game of the year is a win for the first time in that stretch. The Dodgers are well on their way to another 100-win season, but anything short of a World Series win will be a disappointment.
17 of 25
Phillies can’t spend Into the playoffs
The Phillies were one of the winners of the offseason, signing Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson and trading for Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto. An incredible string of bullpen injuries and a struggling starting rotation doomed them, however, and the team is all but eliminated from the playoffs for the eighth straight year. 18 of 25
Twins emerge again
Minnesota was a surprise wild-card team in 2017 before regression last year. A big offseason and the hiring of manager Rocco Baldelli has spurred the Twins to a likely AL Central title for the first time since 2010, with a record five 30-plus home run hitters. 19 of 25
Billy Beane outsmarts again
While Oakland lost in the wild-card game last year, not much was expected of the A’s this year with major losses in their starting rotation. Yet the team has a great shot to win a wild-card spot for the second straight season, getting great years out of the likes of Mike Fiers, Chris Bassitt and Brett Anderson, as well as breakouts from Marcus Semien and Ramon Laureano. 20 of 25
Pittsburgh entered the All-Star break still contending in the NL Central, just one game under .500 and 2.5 games back in the division. The Pirates went 21-41 over their next 62 games and imploded in every way imaginable. Injuries, suspensions, clubhouse fights and the arrest of closer Felipe Vazquez for statutory sexual assault mired a season that couldn’t end soon enough for the team. 21 of 25
Mariners making moves
Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto earned a reputation as a willing trader before this season but took it to a new level this season. Through trades, transactions and promotions, the rebuilding squad used more players than any team in baseball history during 2019 as the M’s sit in the cellar of the AL West. 22 of 25
Cleveland withstands pitching setbacks
Cleveland entered the year with a scary rotation led by Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer. The team got a combined 43 starts out of that trio, with Kluber suffering an arm injury, Carrasco missing time with leukemia and Bauer getting traded to Cincinnati at the deadline. Somehow, the team has still managed to pitch well, led by Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber, as it fights for a playoff spot in the final weeks of the season. 23 of 25
Rays continue doing it differently
ampa Bay continues to make revolutionary, strategic changes to the game as it fights in a high-powered division with minimal resources. After winning 90 games last season, the team is set to do even better this year and could win an AL wild-card spot despite losing Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow for significant portions of the season. Manager Kevin Cash continues to work wonders.
Whether it comes as a strong finish to an already dominant season or an amazing comeback, or it’s a newly emerged contender coming out of nowhere, there have been some remarkable finishes in the recent history of Major League Baseball. The wild-card era has ushered in far more opportunity for the postseason than ever before but also has raised the stakes within the pursuit.
With 2019’s pennant chase preparing to take shape, let’s take a look back some of the great finishes of baseball’s modern postseason era.
1 of 20
Seattle Mariners, 1995
After owning a 34-35 record at the All-Star break, the ’95 Mariners went from last to first place in the season’s second half. Ken Griffey Jr returned from a two-month absence to hit 10 home runs over the final two months, Edgar Martinez won the AL batting title and Randy Johnson won his first Cy Young Award. The Mariners bested the California Angels in a tie-breaker game to claim their first division title in franchise history. They reached the AL Championship Series, led by a legendary performance by Martinez against the Yankees in the ALDS. Seattle lost to Cleveland in the ALCS.
2 of 20
Chicago Cubs, 1998
While the summer of ’98 is best known for the home run race between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, it also is known for a tight NL playoff race. Sosa’s Cubs were one of the hottest teams in the game in the middle of the year before cooling off late. Meanwhile, Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants won nine of their last 12 games to catch the Cubs. The teams squared off in one-game playoff in which Bonds nearly hit a ninth-inning grand slam amid a Giants rally that fell short. The Cubs hung on to win, and they reached the playoffs for the first time in nine years. 3 of 20
New York Yankees, 1998
Not all memorable second-half performances included airtight races to the finish. Take the case of one of the greatest teams of all time, the ’98 Yankees. They were dominant from start to finish, winning 20 games in three separate months en route to a record 114-win season. They won the AL East by 22 games, with a breakout season for a young Derek Jeter, who hit .324 with 203 hits. They finished the season 66 games over .500 and set a record for most wins in a season, 125, after sweeping the San Diego Padres in the World Series. 4 of 20
Cleveland Indians, 2001
Aided by Minnesota’s huge collapse, the 2001 Indians staged an incredible comeback to claim an AL Central title. After reaching the All-Star break 23 games over .500, the Twins dropped 15 of their first 20 second-half contests, losing their grip on the division in the process. Meanwhile, behind a 49-homer season from Jim Thome, after being five games back at the All-Star break, the Indians finished six games ahead to win a sixth AL Central title since 1995, going 9-3 against Minnesota in the second half. 5 of 20
Oakland Athletics, 2001
In the wild-card era, no team has had more second-half success than the 2001 A’s. They set a 162-game schedule record by going 63-18 over their final 81 games, which included an incredible 29-4 record over the season’s final month. Led by their hallowed three-ace rotation of Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson, along with a string of incredible starts from Cory Lidle, who went 11-2 after the break, the A’s set a record for most wins by a wild-card team with 102. It also was the most wins by a second-place club, but they still finished 14 games behind the record-setting 2001 Seattle Mariners.
6 of 20
Seattle Mariners, 2001
Led by an incredible jolt of energy from MVP/Rookie of the Year Ichiro Suzuki, the 2001 Seattle Mariners tied the 1906 Chicago Cubs for the most regular-season wins in history with 116. The team never posted a double-digit loss total in any month and saved the best for last. From Sept. 1 through Oct. 7, they went 20-7, with a 4-3 loss on the season’s final day, costing them a chance to set the outright record for most wins in a season. 7 of 20
Oakland Athletics, 2002
For a second consecutive season, in 2002 Oakland channeled second-half magic, going 24-4 in August, a run that included the bulk of one of the greatest winning streaks in MLB history. Oakland went undefeated from Aug.13 to Sept. 4, embarking on an AL-record 20-game winning streak — which included walk-off wins during the final three victories of the streak. However, taking over the division outright required a second, shorter winning spree, when Oakland won nine of its final 11 games over divisional foes to win the AL West. It was a season that changed the way the sport is perceived and inspired the book and movie”‘Moneyball.”
8 of 20
Florida Marlins, 2003
The 2003 Marlins are the definition of a team that got hot at just the right time. After losing eight of their final nine games in August, Florida entered the final month 13 games back in the NL East and barely in control of a wild-card spot. However, its “team of destiny” run — which included an NLCS victory aided by the “Bartman Game” vs. the Cubs and a stunning upset of the New York Yankees in the World Series — got underway quickly in September. Jack McKeon’s club went 10-2 to start the month and won seven of its last nine to claim the NL wild-card spot.
9 of 20
Minnesota Twins, 2006
In 2006, the Twins pulled off the biggest second-half comeback of the last quarter century, erasing an 11-game deficit in the process. With Johan Santana embarking on a 13-0 second half en route to claiming AL Cy Young Award honors, Justin Morneau capturing AL MVP and Joe Mauer being crowned as AL batting champion, the Twins went 49-27 in the second half. This allowed them to track down the Detroit Tigers, who had posted the game’s top record in the first half but stumbled south of .500 following the All-Star break. Ultimately the Twins won the AL Central on the final day of the season. 10 of 20
Colorado Rockies, 2007
On Sept. 15, Colorado was barely above .500 and 6.5 games back of the San Diego Padres. However, the Rockies soon turned the booster jets on, winning 13 of their final 14 games to incredibly reach 90 wins and force a one-game playoff for the NL wild-card spot. The game featured another incredible comeback, as the Rockies rallied from a two-run deficit in the bottom of the 13th inning, capped by Matt Holliday scoring a still-disputed run on a Jamey Carroll sacrifice fly to send the Rockies back to the postseason for the first time in six seasons.
Had he been healthy, Severino likely would have been New York’s Opening Day starter. In 2018, Severino posted a 3.39 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and struck out 220 batters in 191.1 innings over 32 starts.
Missing Severino at the beginning of the year will definitely hurt the Yankees, but only to a degree. Expect them to be rather cautious in bringing him along once he does return.
The New York Yankees came into the offseason wanting to land one of the game’s best players, and they will reportedly do it. After careful consideration, Manny Machado is reportedly going to sign with the Yankees.
According to Dan Clark, Machado received final offers from the Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox recently. As expected, the official announcement isn’t slated until early January, but the All-Star shortstop is reportedly going to sign with New York.
Have heard that the #Yankees, #Phillies, and #WhiteSox have all made their final offers to Manny Machado, and it is indeed New York where he’ll be heading. Announcement expected early-January.
If Machado indeed signs with New York, it marks a major haul for the Yankees as they try to compete for their 28th World Series title and make it back to the World Series for the first time since 2009.
While it isn’t known which position Machado would play in New York, his flexibility would give the team plenty of options.
In addition to being an outstanding hitter coming off a 2018 season with a .297/.367/.538 slash line with 37 home runs, Machado is also one of the game’s best defenders at third base.
If Machado signs with New York and moves back to his original position at third base, it could open the door for the Yankees to trade rookie Miguel Andujar and add a high-end starting pitcher.
Can we name one high-profile player available in free agency or the trade market that has not been linked to the New York Yankees?
Having already acquired ace pitcher James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners, New York apparently has a few different fires burning around the hot stove.
We can now add Miami Marlins All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto to the mix of players the team has been linked to. According to Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports, New York has indeed shown interest in Realmuto.
This pretty much tells us what we need to know about New York’s stance regarding Gary Sanchez’s defense behind home plate. Any move to acquire Realmuto would either include Sanchez transitioning to first place or being traded.
Realmuto, 27, has been among the hottest names on the trade market over the past calendar year. And it now looks like the Marlins are looking to move the disgruntled backstop.
The veteran hit .277 with 21 homers, 74 RBI and an .827 OPS last season. He’d be a major upgrade over Sanchez from a defensive standpoint.
Though, interest in a player of Realmuto’s ilk and age is going to continue being strong. This means New York would have to offer a whole heck of a lot in return to add one of the game’s best catchers.
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