Month: April 2022

Joey Gallo, Yankees Left Fielder, Needs A Change of Scenery While Michael Conforto Remains Available

By Scott Mandel

It appears the Joey Gallo era in New York City, under the hot, bright lights of Yankee Stadium may soon come to an end. Insiders tell the Yankees are hoping to showcase the troubled left fielder for the purpose of trading him.

That would be a terrific idea. The sooner, the better. And, who should replace Joey Gallo in the outfield? Someone who has proven he can perform at the highest levels in the big city, under the glare of the demanding media and fans alike, in pennant races and against tough right and left-handed pitching who can take full advantage of the short right-field porch in the big ballyard in the Bronx.

I give you, Michael Conforto.

The guess here is, Yankees fans would rather see Conforto run out to left field for the Yanks than Gallo, a guy who appears to be suffering with emotional stress and facial tics brought on by a condition nobody is talking about. But, whatever Gallo is sadly afflicted with, it appears playing in New York triggers his stress and his ability to perform on the field.

I feel for the kid but he needs a change of scenery.

This big, noisy stage of NYC is not everyone’s cup of tea. It can be a pressure cooker. That’s why I always remind my California pals who rave about the “great” Mike Trout that Trout, for all of his wondrous talent and gifts, has not performed under the blaring lights of Broadway nor has he battled under the pressure of a pennant race at any point in his career. Talent is talent but sometimes, the pressure cooker wins out.

Gallo, who has enormous power when he connects his bat with a pitched ball, has struggled to make that particular kind of contact since joining the Yankees last season. In 69 games in pinstripes, Gallo has 34 hits in 221 at bats, a batting average of .153. In his first 11 games this season, he is 4 for 33, a .121 average with ZERO homers and ZERO runs batted in. He has become a strikeout machine, having struck out 103 times in his 221 at bats, a rate that would have him striking out nearly 250 times over a full 500 at bat season. If he was hitting homers and driving in runs, his low average could almost be excused but the power display he always possessed seems gone, for now. Even if he goes on one of his streaky home run weeks, it seems his incompetence as an automatic out the rest of the time hamstrings the Yankees’ lineup on most nights.

Conforto, a left-handed power hitter and a starting outfielder for the Mets with an All-Star appearance, pennant race pressure, and a World Series on his resume is 29 years old and in the prime of his career. He remains unsigned for this season, having turned down the Mets last offer of $100 million for six years on the advice of his agent, Scott Boras. He has not played baseball nor has he gone through spring training so his season. is perilously close to being ruined, if not his career. I would say there is a mutual and pragmatic need on the part of the Yankees and Conforto to come to an agreement as soon as possible.

Conforto will require 4-6 weeks of spring training and then he will need to go to the minor league for 2-4 weeks to play games and face live pitching. This is turning into a horrible scenario for this talented outfielder, who looks like he won’t be available until the All-Star break in July.

Conforto has not done well on the advice of Boras, whom he should probably fire. Coming off a down year during the Covid season of 2020 and having no at bats this year, he is no longer dealing from strength in any negotiations with major league teams. Any thoughts of getting the contract his agent guaranteed has turned into flights of fancy.

Sources tell me Conforto wants to make a deal for one or two years and regain his footing as a dangerous left-handed hitter. He knows his leverage is almost gone, while not playing baseball in 2022, with a dozen games already on the books, is hurting him.

Note to Brian Cashman: Cut bait with Gallo for a Double A flame-throwing pitcher and bring in Michael Conforto, a lefty bat who has performed beautifully in this town who would take aim at the short porch in right field. Put him in the five or six hole and away you go.

Mandel’s Musings: Cashman/Yankees Playing a Dangerous Game with Aaron Judge, Yankees Fans, and the 2022 Season

by Scott Mandel

The incompetent general manager of the New York Yankees, Brian Cashman, is playing a very dangerous negotiating game with Yankees fans, Aaron Judge’s career trajectory and marketability, and with his own career as Yankees G.M. when he publicly announced the Yankees offer to Aaron Judge.

Judge, the star outfielder and best player on the sports’ most famous franchise, is also one of the two or three faces of the sport across the country along with Mike Trout and I don’t know who else. Suffice to say, Aaron Judge has been a very popular guy and a great player.

Judge and his agent chose to reject the Yankees last offer which, according to Cashman was for $234.5 million over eight years. Broken down, the Yankees deal would’ve Included paying him the $21 million arbitration request he asked for instead of $18 million, then adding seven years and $213.5 million, an average annual value (AAV) of $30.5 million for the last seven. That contract would have taken Judge, who turns 30 later this month, to age 36, a number when most baseball players, especially sluggers, are past their prime (unless your name is Barry Bonds or Nelson Cruz, who may have their own little secrets to longevity and peak performance).

An excellent offer, on surface, isn’t it?

Except that Aaron Judge, one of the faces of the sport, is also one of the top five players in the game. Even if you want to debate it, there is nobody who would not put him in the top 10.

So, Aaron Judge turned it down. Unless the Yankees up the offer, he will become a free agent on the day this current season ends. He is gambling $213.5 million he will stay healthy and productive this season then go into free agency when 30 major league teams will have the opportunity to sign him. If Judge plays very well this year, there will be a bidding war amongst the Yankees and a handful of other wealthy clubs (sorry Kansas City and Oakland) for his services.

But, by sharing the Yankees offer to his most popular and best player with the public, Brian Cashman has not only disrespected Aaron Judge but has turned a large chunk of the Yankees fan base against Judge. Last night, the right fielder struck out with two men on base, late in the game. Instead of the typical booing, borne out of the frustration of not getting the runs in, there were thousands of additional “editorial” comments ringing through Yankee Stadium related to Judge turning down the big money deal.

“Come on, you bum. $30 million ain’t enough money for ya?”

The Bronx crowd was, all of a sudden, getting on their favorite son. Being booed is part of being an athlete, especially in NYC, but Aaron Judge has never been booed. He is just one of those guys who is likable (and marketable) in every way. And accessible.

Brian Cashman and Yankees management (we see you hiding behind Cashman, Hal Steinbrenner) is the reason. They are strategically instigating a fan reversal against their best player and asset in order to cover their own rear ends, which has not won a championship in 12 years. It’s going to backfire, significantly.

We are at game number four of the 2022 season. The Aaron Judge story has been the biggest and most constant one coming out of Yankee land. It’s going to be distracting for the team, distracting for the player, and distracting for the 50,000 fans who show up for the games. The manager, Aaron Boone, had to take questions from the press after the game last night. Not about the game but about Aaron Judge’s contract. This could turn into a season killer.

Cashman and Steinbrenner, have they been doing for the last decade plus, have screwed up again.

Below is a graph of the top 20 highest paid players in baseball, on an AAV basis. Where would you place Aaron Judge on this list? Judge and his agents clearly put his AAV above that of the Yankees offer, which is $29.5 million per year for seven years.

Below is our list of the 20 largest contracts in MLB history by average annual value (AAV). Please note that if a player was already under contract and signed an extension, only the new money counts.  For our list of the 20 largest contracts in total dollars, click here.

1.  Max Scherzer, Mets: $43,333,333.33.  Free agent contract signed November 2021

t-2.  Mike Trout, Angels: $36,000,000.  Extension signed March 2019

t-2.  Gerrit Cole, Yankees: $36,000,000.  Free agent contract signed December 2019

4.  Carlos Correa, Twins: $35,100,000.  Free agent contract signed March 2022

t-5.  Stephen Strasburg, Nationals: $35,000,000.  Free agent contract signed December 2019

t-5.  Anthony Rendon, Angels: $35,000,000.  Free agent contract signed December 2019

7.  Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks: $34,416,667.  Free agent contract signed December 2015

8.  Francisco Lindor, Mets: $34.1MM.  Extension signed March 2021

9.  Trevor Bauer, Dodgers: $34,000,000.  Free agent contract signed February 2021

10.  Nolan Arenado, Rockies: $33,428,571.  Extension signed February 2019

11.  Justin Verlander, Astros: $33,000,000.  Extension signed March 2019

12.  Corey Seager, Rangers: $32,500,000.  Free agent contract signed November 2021

t-13.  Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: $31,000,000.  Extension signed March 2014

t-13.  David Price, Red Sox: $31,000,000.  Free agent contract signed December 2015

t-13.  Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: $31,000,000.  Extension signed November 2018

16.  Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: $30,714,286.  Extension signed January 2014

17.  Mookie Betts, Dodgers: $30,416,667.  Extension signed July 2020

18.  Jose Altuve, Astros: $30,200,000.  Extension signed March 2018

19.  Jacob deGrom, Mets: $30,125,000.  Extension signed March 2019

t-20.  Manny Machado, Padres: $30,000,000.  Free agent contract signed February 2019

t-20.  Max Scherzer, Nationals: $30,000,000.  Free agent contract signed January 2015

Yankees Early Season Roster Filled with Hope And Prayers for Health. Otherwise…..

By Scott Mandel

I like the 28-man 2022 Yankees roster:

The pitching staff is stuffed with arms, now counting at 16 pitchers, five starters, 11 relievers. That means, only three bench players/pinch hitters (including the backup catcher)

Let’s break it down.


RHP Gerrit Cole; RHP Luis Severino; LHP Jordan Montgomery; RHP Jameson Taillon and LHP Nestor Cortes


RHP Miguel Castro; LHP Aroldis Chapman; RHP Chad Green; RHP Clay Holmes; RHP Jonathan Loaisiga; LHP Lucas Luetge; RHP Michael King; RHP Ron Marinaccio; LHP Wandy Peralta; JP Sears and Clarke Schmidt.

Note: Schmidt and Michael King and Luis Gil will step in as starters in case of injury. All talented kids with upper 90s velocity.

Yankees' Luis Severino pitches four scoreless innings
Luis Severino has missed most of past three seasons


1B Anthony Rizzo; 2B Gleyber Torres; SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa; 3B Josh Donaldson; INF DJ LeMahieu and Marwin Gonzalez.

Note: Need for a backup shortstop is still there, with Gleyber, below average shortstop defensively, the current option to move over from second base.


RF Aaron Judge; CF Aaron Hicks; LF Joey Gallo and OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton.

Note: Lots of strikeouts, home runs, and injury histories in this outfield. Big IFS but if they stay healthy, lots of run production


Kyle Higashioka and Jose Trevino.


Plus, the Yankees just re-acquired Greg Bird, once a star-to-be before injuries took over. He’ll start at Scranton. I suspect his lefty power bat will be an important part of this major league season for the Pinstripes. He’s a good kid, someone Aaron Judge once described as the best hitter in the Yankee organization.