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#pounditSaturday, August 8, 2020

Articles tagged: New York Yankees

Did Alex Cora hint that Carlos Beltran was helping Yankees steal signs?

Alex Cora

Some seemingly innocuous remarks Alex Cora made to the media last season following a sweep at the hands of the New York Yankees have been examined closely in the wake of MLB’s sign stealing scandal, and many view them as more bad news for Carlos Beltran.

Beltran, who is close friends with Cora and played for the Houston Astros when Cora was a bench coach with the team, was hired by the Yankees as a special adviser prior to last season. After the Yankees swept the Boston Red Sox in the London Series in June, Cora quipped that New York’s biggest free agent acquisition last year was Beltran and said Beltran had helped the Yankees with their attention to detail. To counter that, Cora said the Red Sox have to “clean our details.”

“It was eye-opening the last few days from top to bottom,” Cora said of the series. “And I’m not saying devices and all that stuff — it’s just stuff that the game will dictate and will scream at people, and (Beltran is) right there. Throughout the evening I was looking and I saw it, and right now they’re a lot better than us.”

Now that we know Cora and Beltran were at the center of the sign stealing scheme that was implemented in Houston during the 2017 season, there’s a belief that Cora was referring to sign stealing tactics when he made those remarks about Beltran. He stopped short of accusing Beltran of any wrongdoing, which would have been incredibly hypocritical. However, Cora seemed to be dancing around the subject for whatever reason, and it’s unclear what he meant by “devices.”

The Red Sox are being investigated for illegally using the video replay room to help steal signs during the 2018 season. The report from The Athletic that led to the investigation said the Yankees and other teams did the same dating back to 2015, though that was before MLB issued a memo emphasizing its rules on using electronics to help steal signs. The Athletic report also said the Astros believed the Yankees were using a YES Network camera in center field in 2018 to zoom in on the catcher’s signs, but MLB had reportedly approved the use of the camera as a coaching tool. The Astros did not push the matter at the time, but they brought it back to MLB’s attention when they were being investigating for sign stealing.

MLB is aware of the video of Cora’s comments about Beltran, but there are no plans to investigate the Yankees at this time.

While the Astros and Red Sox seem to have been particularly arrogant while stealing signs, the practice is prevalent across the league. That is why MLB tried to sweep it under the rug, and it’s the reason comments like the ones CC Sabathia made this week may end up looking bad down the road.

CC Sabathia feels ‘cheated’ out of World Series titles by Astros, Red Sox

CC Sabathia

Two of the last three World Series champions have been linked to a major sign stealing scandal that has erupted within Major League Baseball, and CC Sabathia can’t help but feel personally impacted by the acts.

Sabathia’s New York Yankees lost to the Houston Astros in the 2017 ALCS and the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS the following year. We already know the Astros are guilty of using electronic equipment in an elaborate sign stealing scheme back in 2017, and MLB is investigating the Red Sox for similar violations during their 2018 championship season. In an appearance on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” Tuesday night, Sabathia said he feels “cheated” now that the allegations have been confirmed.

“As everything’s been coming out and the more facts that we get, it’s getting frustrating, man, to sit here and know that late in my career I could’ve had a title, maybe ’17 or maybe ’18,” Sabathia said, as transcribed by ESPN. “But we got cheated out of a team kind of doing something that’s not within the rules of the game.”

The Yankees lost to the Astros in seven games, and Sabathia started Game 7. All four of the losses in the series came at Minute Maid Park, which is where Houston had set up a video monitor outside its dugout to help steal signals from opponents via a center field camera feed. Sabathia said the fact that the series was so close makes the cheating harder for him to swallow.

“When I first heard it, I was upset, and then as investigations went on … I was like, well, we can’t go back and play the games,” he said. “But as more information started to come out, I’m like, we played a seven-game series in 2017, ALCS, and we lost really on kind of like one pitch.”

Like many others, Sabathia feels even the $5 million fine, loss of draft picks, and season-long suspensions of former Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were not enough. He wants Houston to vacate its 2017 World Series title. Considering who MLB painted as the mastermind behind the cheating with the Astros, Sabathia may soon feel the same way about the Red Sox.

Gerrit Cole has funny comment about shaving beard for Yankees

Most people would be willing to make a lot of sacrifices for $324 million, and one of the ones Gerrit Cole had to make when he signed with the New York Yankees was bidding farewell to his facial hair.

Cole has had a beard throughout his entire MLB career, but he now must adhere to the Yankees’ notorious appearance policy, which forbids facial hair. At his introductory press conference on Wednesday, Cole took the podium clean-shaven.

Naturally, the right-hander was asked about having to shave now that he is a member of the Yankees. He had a great response.

The Yankees’ appearance policy has led to some very unique concerns for star players in the past, but they certainly have a reputation for paying well. Cole may have liked his beard, but he now has 324 million reasons to help him forget about it.

Report: Yankees reached out to Brewers to discuss Josh Hader trade

Josh Hader

The New York Yankees have already made one big splash in the pitching market, but they may not be finished trying to add an arm.

According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Yankees reached out to the Milwaukee Brewers to discuss a potential trade for reliever Josh Hader. Milwaukee, however, is not considered motivated to move their star reliever.

Combined with Aroldis Chapman, Hader would give the Yankees a dynamite one-two punch of bullpen lefties. The asking price, however, is expected to be high. Hader struck out 138 batters in 75.2 innings last season and is regarded as one of baseball’s best relief pitchers.

The Yankees already made their biggest splash of the offseason, but they’re clearly determined to get even more stars in if they can. Any Hader pursuit would clearly signify that.

Report: Yankees have offered Gerrit Cole record $245 million deal

Gerrit Cole

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 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.

Report: Yankees approved to give Gerrit Cole record contract

Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole and his agent Scott Boras appear to have entered an absolute dream scenario.

Cole had a monster 2019 season for the Houston Astros, just as he was set to become a free agent. The Los Angeles Angels are in desperate need of pitching help, have money to spend, and Cole is a hometown kid. The New York Yankees also have a desire to sign Cole and have made him their top priority in free agency.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan even reported on Thursday that the Yankees have received ownership approval to give Cole a record contract.

The current record for a pitcher was the 7-year, $217 million deal David Price got from the Red Sox. A bidding war between the Angels and Yankees is expected to drive up the price for Cole beyond $250 million.

Cole turned 29 in September and went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts last season.

Yankees brought Andy Pettitte to free agent meeting with Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees have made Gerrit Cole their top priority this offseason, and they are breaking out the big guns in an attempt to convince the right-hander that he belongs in pinstripes.

The Yankees sat down for a meeting with Cole this week, and ESPN’s Buster Olney says they brought legendary pitcher Andy Pettitte with them.

There are a lot of reasons speaking with Pettitte might make an impact on Cole. For starters, Pettitte pitched for the Astros for several seasons between his stints in New York, so Cole may be familiar with him from his time in Houston. Cole also grew up a Yankees fan. While he is from California, his father was raised in Syracuse. That means Cole, who is 29, would have been a kid when Pettitte was helping the Yankees win four World Series titles between 1996 and 2000.

Even one of Cole’s teammates in Houston predicted the ace would sign with a West Coast team because of his deep ties to the region, but Cole reportedly assured the Yankees during their meeting that he does not have any West Coast bias. If he truly does have an open mind about his free agency, having Pettitte pitch him on the Yankees certainly can’t hurt.