Apparently, there is no such thing as the offseason for the New York Mets or New York Yankees. Here’s a sketch of the week that was.
New York’s two baseball teams—the Mets and Yankees—are proving there’s no downtime in MLB. And the events of the past week, affecting not just the Yankees and Mets but all of baseball, resoundingly illustrate the point.
ESNY’s baseball writers didn’t have to sneak their hands in the cookie jar to find a story worth talking about over the past week. For myself, in all of five decades following baseball, never have I witnessed a so-called offseason as intriguing and exciting as this one has been. And we’re only in November.
In case you missed some of the action, this is what ESNY has brought to you just within the last week.
The Aaron Judge MVP Challenge
The suspense has been building since the regular season ended. I kicked this off with a piece titled, “Aaron Judge should be a lock for the MVP.” Mmm, not exactly, as Jose Altuve swept away the vote leading to this Tweet from Judge.
— Aaron Judge (@TheJudge44) November 17, 2017
Classy as always, Judge excused me and others for our misguidance, at least for this year. Funny how things turn out, though, as Christian Kouroupakis reported how Altuve picked Judge as the AL MVP back in October. The results of the balloting, in case you missed it, can be found here.
The Shohei Ohtani Sweepstakes
The sweepstakes to secure the services of Shohei Ohtani for the 2018 season took a giant leap forward last week when all parties from America and Japan agreed on a proposal which would allow the Base Ruth of Japan to play stateside in 2018. NY baseball teams secured a spotlight in the sweepstakes.
Nicholas Santuccio delivered a piece last week arguing for the pursuit of Otani by the Mets. But as can be expected with a player of Otani’s caliber, competition for his services is severe. That resulted in a piece I wrote arguing that the Yankees have the edge due to the uncanny moves made by Brian Cashman over the last year or so to secure international bonus pool money via trades that becomes available (now) to spend on Ohtani.
Either way, the appearance of Ohtani on the free agent market as early as next Friday lights up the offseason for all teams in baseball. We’ll know more, of course, next week when the bidding begins.
Teams scramble to fly under the Rule 5 radar
Both teams engaged in a process this week to manhandle their 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 draft, scheduled for late December when MLB convenes for the winter meetings.
Justin Birnbaum took a turn at predicting what the Mets might do to protect players from exposure to the draft and to evaluate who should stay and who should go. The results are in and with the changes made this week, the Mets, indeed, look different than they did a week ago.
I jumped in to analyze and focus on the conundrum facing the Yankees following the additions and subtractions made by Brian Cashman on the 40-man roster.
The bumpy rumor mill ride
As always, the baseball offseason is a continuum of rumors that splash the headlines almost every day. NY baseball teams were not immune and over the past week, Elite Sports NY covered them all.
Nicholas Santuccio started things off with a story favoring Dee Gordon over Ian Kinsler, who was/is rumored to be involved in a trade between the Mets and Detroit Tigers. I also panned Kinsler as a nice player but “too much like deja vu all over again” and someone the Mets should avoid.
On the Yankees side, no specific players were mentioned. I took a stab, though, as to moves the Yankees might be forced to make in the near future resulting from a crunch on the 25-man roster when the team moves North to open the season against Toronto.
Other MLB news, stories
While not specifically related to NY baseball teams, the world of baseball was shocked by the tremors created by the front office of the Atlanta Braves. And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the events of the past week here.
‘Major League Baseball dropped an unprecedented hammer on the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday, declaring 13 of their prospects free agents and permanently banning former general manager John Coppolella in the wake of an international signing scandal that spanned three years.’
The full story behind what happened is complex and the entire article needs to be read, but safe to say, baseball will never be the same again following the draconian measures leveled against the Braves for their indiscretions.
And there’s more here than meets the eye if MLB truly intends to delve into the dark world of how players end up in the major leagues from Latin American and South American countries.
The tip of that iceberg can be seen, just as an example, in this video:
Maybe for the weekend, we can take a little breather. But the way this offseason has been going, it’s not likely. And next week will supersede the one we just experienced.