Mandel’s Musings

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.

Starters:

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

Bullpen:

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

Infield:

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.

Outfield:

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

Catchers:

Kyle Higashioka and Jose Trevino.

Note: DEE-FENSE!!

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.

Mandel’s Musings: Baseball Industry Thriving, Just for the Wealthiest Owners? Mets’ Alonso Avoids Arbitration with Steve Cohen’s Mets, Salary Increases from $676K to $7.4 Million

By SCOTT MANDEL

New York Mets first baseman, Pete Alonso’s salary last year was $676,775. He and the Mets went through arbitration a couple of days ago. Alonso’s new salary for the 2022 season is now $7.4 million.

In a couple of years, when Alonso is no longer under team control, he will be earning in the range of $25 million per year. Somebody will offer the 27-year old first baseman something in the range of $175-200 million for seven to eight years. Or maybe much more than that.

NY Mets: How Pete Alonso's “LFGM” tweet started a revolution in Queens
Alonso is one of the new faces of baseball

We keep hearing baseball, as an industry is shrinking. However the owners know the real deal and salaries continue to explode upward. Must be that TV money teams are getting. Or, perhaps, baseball is going to evolve into a game, a business, where the point of entry to owning a franchise will start at something approaching a net worth of Steve Cohen money. The new Mets owner is worth approximately $14 billion. Since taking over the Mets a little more than a year ago, he has increased the team’s payroll by more than $100 million dollars. The previous owners, The Wilpon and Katz families, ran the organization as if it were a small market club, with a not unsubstantial $140 million payroll. It placed the Mets at the same level of spending as mid and small market teams like the Toronto Blue Jays and Minnesota Twins.

But, this is where baseball may find itself in a decade or less. It currently has 30 franchises. Of those teams, there are five or six which would have great difficulty surviving the financial requirements of a major league franchise without the millions of dollars each MLB team receives, equally, from television money. The cold, hard cash networks like Fox Sports and ESPN, and now, TBS pays Major League Baseball for the broadcasting rights to the games. From the financial side, television revenue will be split to give each team $60.1 million, annually. Combined with local tv deals that are worth at least $40 million each, every MLB club will make at least $100 million from television, alone. And, that’s before selling one ticket to a game, this season.

And that’s not all.

Along with the tv deals, MLB teams also receive extra money through revenue sharing. Each team pools 48% of the revenue they earn and the total amount is then split evenly (3.3% of the total) and given to each team. Teams receive more than $110 million through revenue sharing.

So, in the current model of ownership, major league baseball guarantees significantly more than $200 million, back to the franchise before a ticket or a hot dog has been sold. Suffice to say, the bottom feeders of baseball’s franchises, Baltimore, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Oakland, and Miami would probably be unable to stay in business without MLB’s welfare system.

The reality is, the average team payrolls have declined every season since their previous high in 2017 despite revenue increasing in MLB every year, excluding 2020’s pandemic-shortened season.

But, what happens to these lower-echelon spenders when the tv money starts to dry up? If one looks at the landscape of the television industry, it would not be difficult to perceive shrinking revenues among the networks as fewer people watch television than ever before.

RANKTEAMWIN%ROSTER26-MAN PAYROLLINJURED RESERVERETAINEDBURIEDSUSPENDED2022 TOTAL PAYROLL
1Los Angeles Dodgers28$231,350,000$8,125,000$274,808,333
2New York Mets28$243,569,999$8,150,000$251,719,999
3New York Yankees28$223,350,714$15,750,000$239,100,714
4Philadelphia Phillies28$202,738,462$7,250,000$5,500,000$6,250,000$221,738,462
5San Diego Padres27$182,558,333$15,714,285$198,272,618
6Boston Red Sox28$151,425,000$27,025,000$16,000,000$194,450,000
7Chicago White Sox28$177,738,334$7,000,000$184,738,334
8Atlanta Braves28$152,400,000$18,800,000$1,025,000$172,225,000
9Los Angeles Angels28$168,588,094$168,588,094
10Houston Astros28$148,041,666$15,833,333$163,874,999
11Toronto Blue Jays28$155,222,022$5,383,333$160,605,355
12St. Louis Cardinals28$137,443,666$7,500,000$144,943,666
13San Francisco Giants28$138,112,500$5,200,000$143,312,500
LEAGUE AVERAGE$133,435,408
14Chicago Cubs28$127,600,000$2,510,000$130,110,000
15Texas Rangers28$100,460,000$5,250,000$19,583,333$3,600,000$128,893,333
16Colorado Rockies28$115,409,166$7,000,000$5,570,500$127,979,666
17Detroit Tigers28$117,075,000$1,750,000$118,825,000
18Milwaukee Brewers28$115,249,960$3,041,668$118,291,628
19Washington Nationals28$88,251,666$25,971,429$114,223,095
20Minnesota Twins28$110,059,524$800,000$110,859,524
21Cincinnati Reds28$98,330,000$1,250,000$99,580,000
22Seattle Mariners28$87,320,714$1,025,000$3,750,000$92,095,714
23Kansas City Royals28$77,410,000$1,000,000$78,410,000
24Tampa Bay Rays28$64,086,213$7,120,000$5,000,000$76,206,213
25Arizona Diamondbacks28$75,160,000$75,160,000
26Miami Marlins28$67,450,000$67,450,000
27Oakland Athletics29$38,148,334$2,800,000$40,948,334
28Pittsburgh Pirates28$24,875,000$3,000,000$37,875,000
29Cleveland Guardians28$36,210,000$1,200,000$37,410,000
30Baltimore Orioles28$24,700,000$17,000,000$30,366,666

spotrac.com, 2022

It says here, Major League Baseball will evolve away from smaller market teams and will be dominated by the wealthiest ownership groups or individuals, most of whom will be found in the largest revenue markets. Players salaries will flatten, if not reverse its trajectories. The realities of the mathematics in how teams can be successfully operated will change drastically. It won’t kill the sport. But, it will kill a handful of teams, unless those smaller market franchises discover ownerships with deeper pockets.

It will be a good reason young stars like the Mets’ Pete Alonso will choose to play in a major market like NYC for the sports’ wealthiest owner in Cohen. It’s also why we will continue to see the Yankees and Dodgers, not to mention the Red Sox, the Phillies and the White Sox continually vying for the most expensive stars of the game. Eventually, baseball will not be a business of “haves” and “have nots.”

It will just be the haves, having themselves a good time in the baseball business. As fans, we can enjoy watching behemoth bank accounts fighting it out amongst themselves.

Mandel’s Musings: Former “Can’t Miss” Pitcher, Manny Banuelos Getting Last Chance with Yankees

by SCOTT MANDEL

Nice to see Manny Banuelos pitching two scoreless today, with three strikeouts for the Yankees vs. the Phillies.

Who is Manny Banuelos?

The Yankees originally signed him as a 19-year old lefthanded pitcher from Mexico in 2010. He became one of the top 50 prospects in the sport, according to Baseball America, and, the Yankees fourth highest rated overall prospect in their system, by 2012.

Banuelos came along at the same time as the 6’8″ fireballing Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman, another 6’10” hard thrower from N.C. State. The three pitchers came to be known as the Killer B’s. Only one of them, Betances, became a star in the major leagues.

Yanks' Betances and Banuelos Still Just Prospects - The New York Times
Banuelos and Dellin Betances as young pitchers in Yankees spring training of 2012

Injuries to his shoulder and elbow followed Banuelos, then, surgeries and subsequent struggles on the field.

Mariano Rivera saw Banuelos pitch in spring training 12 years ago, calling him the best pitching prospect he’d ever seen. That observation encompasses many years and pitchers Rivera had observed.

In recent years. Banuelos has pitched in Korea and Japan, then, back to Mexico, a baseball nomad in search of his old “stuff.” The Yankees must see something in him or, perhaps feel badly for how his career has evolved but they signed him this past January. Today’s solid outing is a great start.

Mandel’s Musings: Hey Baseball Negotiators, Go *^)& Yourselves!! Don’t Ruin My Summer!!

By Scott Mandel

I have a short but sweet message for baseball’s negotiators.

Go fuck yourselves.

Your combination of incompetence and planned delay of the 2022 baseball season is preventing me from watching Max Scherzer pitch for his latest team, the Mets.

I want to see how the 21-year old outfielder, Jared Kelenic, purportedly the next Mike Trout, does in year two with Seattle.

This snarky commissioner, Rob Manfred, was seen practicing his golf swing seconds before shutting down negotiations and announcing baseball season would not start on time.

I’m curious whether the Giants can repeat their unbelievable 2021 season.

‘I need to see if Mike Trout will get injured again, railroading a Hall of Fame career, or will Trout get back after another injury-dominated 2021 season to play the game as if he was born to play baseball.

I don’t know where free agent shortstop Carlos Correa will end up but I’d like to find out.

I can’t wait to see If there is a courageous manager/pitching coach who will train his starters to go 6 2/3, every night. C’mon Buck, I know that’s you.

I want baseball to dispense with the stupid analytics-based shift and let legitimate base hits go through to the outfield.

I’m tired of the best players in the game hitting .240 with 38 home runs and 190 strikeouts in 400 at bats.

I want to see if corner outfield arms become legitimate throwing arms again because they’ve sucked for years. It’s embarrassing to watch major league left fielders, playing shallow, barely reach home plate trying to nail the runner tagging up at third or scoring from second base on a bloop single.

I want to see speed and small ball come back to the game. You’ve got kids out there who can hit the ball 500 miles and steal 40 bases. Let them steal bases and go 1st to 3rd.

We liked watching Rickey Henderson play baseball. There’s a couple a dozen bigger, faster, stronger Rickey’s out there, now, with that skill-set. Let the talent flow. This is not a game of specialization.

And, most important of all, stop making the game so mechanical and unattractive to young fans, I mean, very young fans, like I was when I first started watching baseball at age 5 with my old man. Make 5-year olds love the game, instead of their video games. Make it fun for them to get outside with their little baseball gloves and wiffle ball bats and learn about baseball.

Otherwise, you may think you are negotiating to save your own bank account but you are actually ruining the game’s popularity with the very folks who pay your exorbitant salaries. The FANS. And their PARENTS. Talk about killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Short-term thinking.

So baseball negotiators, if this upcoming 2022 season doesn’t give me 162 games, go fuck yourselves. I mean it, go fuck yourselves and while you’re at it, fire that snarky asshole of a commissioner with the horrible golf swing.

Sincerely,

Your Struggling to Remain a Fan but Still Passionate About It

Mandel’s Musings: NFL Is In Big Trouble As Al Sharpton Enters the Fray. Billions of Dollars At Stake for the League and its Owners

by Scott Mandel

Al Sharpton is getting involved with Brian Flores’ NFL lawsuit. The NFL should be afraid, very afraid.

Especially the owners.

Al Sharpton - Personal Life, Age & Facts - Biography
Al Sharpton will be assisting Brian Flores in his case against the NFL

Sharpton and other top civil rights leaders have requested a meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a class-action suit against the league alleging racial discrimination.

“In light of the recent lawsuit filed by Brian Flores, it has brought this attention back to the forefront of our community, and it is important that you have an immediate open dialogue with Civil Rights leadership,” the letter read. “We are being asked to do everything within our power, including direct action at next week’s Super Bowl, as well as appealing to local municipalities that underwrite and give special considerations to stadiums to pressure the NFL and its owners to get more serious about enforcing the ruling law.”

Also, if it can be proven Stephen Ross, the owner of the Miami Dolphins, indeed encouraged Flores, his head coach to “tank” the season to gain a higher draft pick for the Dolphins by offering Flores $100,000 in cold hard cash for each loss they suffer, Ross will be removed from the sport.

I’m just not sure how Brian Flores can prove all of these accusations or racism in the NFL’s hiring practices and tanking a season. Evidently, there’s nothing in writing.

The latest news today comes after Ross had more than 24 hours to think about it, Ross issued a fiery response to the claims made against him by Flores.

“With regards to the allegations being made by Brian Flores, I am a man of honor and integrity and cannot let them stand without responding,” Ross wrote. “I take great personal exception to these malicious attacks, and the truth must be known. His allegations are false, malicious and defamatory.

“We understand that there are media reports stating that the NFL intends to investigate his claims, and we will cooperate fully. I welcome that investigation and I am eager to defend my personal integrity, and the integrity and values of the entire Miami Dolphins organization from these baseless, unfair and disparaging claims.”

Flores was fired in January after three seasons, the last two of which produced winning records. He claims that the team conducted a smear campaign in media and in league circles after his dismissal in an effort to paint him as “an angry Black man.”

The NFL. The “Not For Long” league, but, only if you get caught. Maybe the league should be re-named, DGCL. The Don’t Get Caught League.

Mandel’s Musings: As Tom Brady Decides to Retire From the NFL, Is it Even Debatable Who the Greatest Quarterback of All Time Is?

By Scott Mandel

In the sports business, fans and media alike often get into debates about which team or player is the greatest of all time or, certainly, of a particular era. It’s a viable debate, unlike a discussion of the greatest scientist or politician of all time. Too many variables in those areas!!

But, in sports, other than it being difficult to compare eras, mostly because of advancements in training conditions, the human body, coaching techniques, etc., it’s easy to compare players and teams, intra-era.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has a shoe room for his 180 pairs
Is Mahomes the heir apparent to Brady as the NFL’s best QB?

That’s why the statement, “Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of his era, and possibly, of all time” is as real and accurate as “Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of his generation, or other generations.”

Or, “Thurman Munson was better than Johnny Bench.” Or, “the New York football Giants suck.”

All of these statements have more than a degree of truth. The fun part of these debates begins when you compare the greatest players or teams from other eras:

Who was better? The ’27 Yankees or the 1976 Big Red Machine? That would take us through a steak dinner and dessert, at least.

Don’t get me started on the greatest presidents. I can just imagine someone in a bar, after way too many imbibed alcoholic beverages saying, “Trump would have wiped out the Cold War before it even started. That Truman dude didn’t have a clue!! Get me another beer!!”

Mandel’s Musings: Mets Throwing Concert at Citi Field in June; Becky G? Black Pumas? This Old Guy Has Never Heard of ‘Em

By Scott Mandel

Some Snark on Facebook called me “gramps” yesterday. She may be right.

The Mets just sent out an email to the media announcing the names of the bands who will be participating in a three day concert at Citi Field in June. The list includes: J. Cole, Halsey, and Kid Cudi, joined across the weekend by performers including Flume, Playboi Carti, Roddy Ricch, Glass Animals, Migos, Jack Harlow, Kaytranada, Joji, Louis The Child, Clairo, Jazmine Sullivan, Still Woozy, 100 Gecs, Japanese Breakfast, Becky G, Black Pumas and many more.

Representing all humans above the age of 19, who the hell are these people? Which band will turn into the next John, Paul, George, and Ringo? Which ones will show up on the Ed Sullivan show this coming Sunday?

Perry Como Greatest Hits Full Album - The Very Best Of Perry Como Songs -  YouTube
Perry Como, one of the best and hippest crooners in history

Gramps? Gramps!!

Sistah, let me tell ya, you have no idea how groovy I really am!! Now, be a sweet little thing and get me a sody pop out of the icebox, please. While you’re doing that, be a good girl and put a Perry Como vinyl record on the victrola?

Former Giants Busts, DeAndre Baker and Eli Apple, May Hold the Key to Bengals or Chiefs Super Bowl Chances

by Scott Mandel

Next week, two former NY Giants cornerbacks, both drafted in the first round by Big Blue, will be playing in the American Football Conference championship game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals, with the winner going on to play in the Super Bowl, that game with all that great halftime entertainment and great football food, like pigs in a blanket.

For DeAndre Baker of Kansas City, the Giants 1st round pick in 2019 from the great University of Georgia program and Eli Apple of Cincinnati, whom the Giants chose with the 10th overall pick in 2016 as the first cornerback in that draft class out of Ohio State University, it’s been a long hard road to get to this pinnacle of their sport.

From gun and robbery charges and serious injuries for Baker to mental health accusations thrown in Apple’s direction, both young men were considered busts as NFL players.

Now, Eli Apple and DeAndre Baker will each be facing two of the greatest young quarterbacks in the history of the sport. How they perform can very well be the difference between their teams going home or going to the Super Bowl to play for the championship of the sport and the most-watched sporting event in the country.

Apple and Baker, as cornerbacks, will be charged with the sole responsibility of preventing Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow from doing what these two outstanding QBs do better than almost any other quarterback has ever done, particularly at such young ages (under 25), in the history of professional football. They complete passes, throw multiple touchdowns and, embarrass opposing cornerbacks at an alarming rate. Over and over again.

We will be paying close attention to these two young star quarterbacks this entire week but it is DeAndre Baker and Eli Apple, the former college All-Americans who turned into NFL busts who will be given a chance at redemption this Sunday, in the biggest game of their lives. Baker and Apple will try to recover their soiled and sordid reputations, back to the time they entered the league as college stars.

Urban Meyer on Eli Apple's NFL issues: 'He was fantastic for us' -  cleveland.com
Eli Apple in his Ohio State days in 2016

Both players may well hold the result of this game in their hands, either by allowing a touchdown to be scored against them as they lose track of the opposing teams’ great receivers or, by picking off a pass and taking it to the house, sending their team to the Super Bowl, with the crowd going crazy in the stadium and more than 100 million viewers watching on television.

We know both of these kids are dreaming big dreams of being heroes, which is exactly what they used to be on campus. The alternative is, of course, nightmarish, something both Mahomes and Burrow are used to inflicting on opposing cornerbacks. They can light up the sky with passes and points.

Former Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker facing armed robbery, aggravated  assault charges | Georgia Sports | redandblack.com
DeAndre Baker – University of Georgia, 2018

DeAndre Baker and Eli Apple are playing for much more than a Super Bowl berth. They are playing to turn their lives around.

Hey Woody Johnson, You and Your Companies, Johnson & Johnson and the New York Jets, Suck

by Scott Mandel

Woody Johnson of the Johnson & Johnson family owns the NY Jets. That’s just sports, perennial losers that they are. But today’s breaking news, that a Center for Disease Control panel has recommended other Covid vaccines over J.&J.’s, citing a link to a rare but potentially fatal blood clotting disorder, is terrible for millions of humans.

To Woody Johnson, a huge financial contributor to Donald Trump’s campaign for President, leading to his sweetheart job under Trump as the Ambassador to England: You suck and your family sucks. Get new scientists. And coaches. And players. And, sell both companies to smarter, better administrators.

Legend of Mike White, NFL Quarterback, Continues on Thursday for Jets. Could He Be THE ANSWER?

By SCOTT MANDEL

After yesterday’s phenomenonal performance by the Jets fill-in quarterback, one Mike White, we wonder if the J-E-T-S are thinking about putting their prized number one draft pick, Zach Wilson, who was gifted the starting job immediately after signing his rookie contract, on the trade market to try to pick up a few chips for upcoming drafts? After all, White, the 26-year old journeyman has become a national story since yesterday, when he replaced the injured Wilson in the first start of his three-year career, leading the lowly Jets to a stunning come-from-behind upset win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

If MIke White is the real deal, in effect, THE ANSWER for the Jets at the quarterback position, it opens up a plethora of opportunities for Joe Douglas, the Jets general manager. But we are getting far in front of ourselves.

We are cognizant of the potential, if not the likelihood White may be a one hit wonder, despite his hellacious debut in the NFL against a Bengal team many see as a contender to get to the AFC championship game. After being a three-year benchwarmer, White completed 37 of 45 passes, throwing for 405 yards and three touchdowns in the thrilling 34-31 win, the kind of victory that has been few and far between for the Jets for many decades.

But, this kid has skills. He can throw the ball accurately and with velocity. Given enough time in the pocket, this 6’5″, 220 pound kid seems to have the poise, the boys (guys know what that means), the vision to check down, the foot work, the arm strength, the quick release, and the accuracy to complete NFL-type passes. And that is something Jets fans have not seen consistently from their quarterbacks since Joe Namath, in 1968. And, that includes Zach Wilson, who has not unexpectedly been an erratic performer, at best, in his rookie season.

Yesterday, Mike White was able to make average or unproven receivers, both downfield and those coming out of the backfield, look better than their individual talents. He also made a disheveled, less than talented offensive line look much better than they have played this entire season. A quick release will do that for you.

Some quarterbacks raise the level of play for their team through inspiration and talent while other quarterbacks need to be surrounded by great players to play well (like Eli Manning, for instance). Mike White made the 1-5 Jets look like a confident, physical football team for the first time this season. That’s a fact.

Will White be a one-hit wonder? Could be. He played at South Florida University before transferring to Western Kentucky, being drafted in the fifth round in 2018 by the Cowboys. Dallas cut him despite needing a backup quarterback and the Jets cut him this year, bringing him back when they needed a third practice quarterback so the legend of Mike White may just be a temporary interregnum in another depressing Jets season in search of a good story.

Jets Mike White Zach Wilson
Zach Wilson, Jets #1 draft pick and starting QB since his first game, is not assured of holding onto his job

On the other hand, the legendary Hall of Famer, John Unitas was once cut by the Steelers before breaking every passing record in the sport as a Baltimore Colt. And, Kurt Warner was cut a few times before he became a Hall of Famer, beginning in his late 20s. Sometimes, the light just clicks on for some people later in life than it does for others. And, sometimes, it’s a bummer when Cinderella, with her back story of the glass slippers and the horse-drawn carriage turning into a pumpkin when the clock strikes 12, has her one shining moment before reality kicks in.

Either way, it’s a great story and this moment has captivated New Yorkers as well as football fans all over the country. It has also captured the fancy of Jets head coach, Robert Saleh, who said yesterday, in his post-game comments when asked if Zach Wilson will retain the starting job when he is healthy to play, “anything’s possible” about White getting an extended run as the starter.

Now it’s on to game two, in three short days, for the Mike White saga. It says here, Mike White will get to wear his shiny glass slippers/cleats for a third consecutive game, after this Thursday, when Wilson, the golden boy #1 draft choice, is expected to return from his knee injury.

We will find out, week by week, whether Mike White is THE ANSWER or, just another passing fancy.