Jul 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) goes to the dugout between innings against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Yankees are a favorite to win it all this year, but they may already be scoping out the competition for the offseason.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported on Thursday that the Yankees view the San Francisco Giants as the biggest threat to sign All-Star outfielder Aaron Judge. The 30-year-old slugger was born in Linden, Calif. (less than 100 miles from San Francisco) and attended college at nearby Fresno State.
Judge will be a free agent after the season. He is currently having a colossal contract year with an MLB-leading 22 home runs and 1.058 OPS. Judge has also helped lead the Yankees to a league-best 40-16 record, putting them on a 115-win pace. He looks like the frontrunner right now for AL MVP and is enjoying a historic season by some notable measures.
As for the Giants, they will probably be able to make a solid run at Judge since they have nearly $50 million less in payroll than the Yankees do for the 2023 season. Judge is known to have grown up as a Giants fan as well. But San Francisco may actually be playing catch-up with this nearby team that already appears to be recruiting Judge.
Sep 13, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler (19) returns to the dugout before the game against the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
The San Francisco Giants fell to the Cincinnati Reds, 5-1, on Friday night but for manager Gabe Kapler, that wasn’t even the worst of it.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Kapler made the call for relief pitcher Jake McGee, who had just come off of IL earlier that day. However, there was one major oversight that prevented McGee from entering the game: he wasn’t eligible to play.
Hours earlier, Kapler had turned the lineup card in to umpire Hunter Wendelstedt and McGee’s name wasn’t on it. Accordingly, the pitcher was prevented from taking the mound, forcing the Giants to turn to Jose Alvarez.
Cameras later caught Kapler and bench coach Kai Correa discussing the error in the dugout.
“We have an extremely detailed and meticulous group,” Kapler said, via NBC Sports. “We failed to get McGee on the lineup card. And ultimately, that’s my responsibility. So Jake was unable to pitch because he wasn’t on the lineup card. Subsequently, I had to bring [Jose] Alvarez into the game.”
Pressed further, Kapler assumed the brunt of the blame and refused to throw Correa under the bus.
“No. Everything we do around here … we do this together,” Kapler said. “This is a team effort. Our entire staff is incredibly detailed and pays very close attention. There’s a lot going on today. We just f—ed it up.”
Alvarez went on to surrender two hits, one walk and two runs (one earned) as San Francisco fell to 24-20 on the season.
May 24, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants left fielder Joc Pederson (23) watches his two-run home run against the New York Mets during the third inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
It was an eventful Friday evening in Cincinnati as the San Francisco Giants battled the Reds. But long before players took the field, fireworks erupted when Giants outfielder Joc Pederson and Reds outfielder Tommy Pham engaged in a physical pregame altercation.
Pham approached Pederson during player warmups and after a brief exchange, slapped Pederson across the face.
After the game, Pederson explained the situation. And as it turns out, the entire event was spurred on by a fantasy football disagreement from more than a year ago.
Joc Pederson gave his side of the story on why Tommy Pham smacked him in the face over their Fantasy Football League. pic.twitter.com/zJaCQKy7vp
“Unfortunate situation,” Pederson told reporters. “Kind of stemmed from a fantasy football league we both were in last year. I put a player on the injured reserve when they were listed as out and then added another player. And then there was a text message in the group [chat] saying that I was cheating because I was stashing players on my bench.
“Then I looked up the rules and sent a screenshot of the rules, how it says that when a player is ruled out, you’re allowed to put them on the IR. That’s all I was doing. It just so happened that he had a player, Jeff Wilson, who was out. He had him on the IR. I said, ‘You literally have the same thing on your team, on your bench.’ … So it feels very similar to what I did. And that was basically all of it. There’s not much more to it.”
That’s really wild when you think about it. Pham held a grudge over a fantasy football transaction for more than a year and Will Smithed another man over it.
Following the slap, the Giants requested Pham sit out the game. And after a two-hour rain delay, the Reds eventually conceded.
Now Major League Baseball is investigating.
“MLB is investigating the incident that occurred before the game involving Mr. Pham,” an MLB spokesman said. “Mr. Pham agreed to not play this evening, pending the results of MLB’s investigation.”
Pham’s aggression isn’t exactly new, either. Earlier this season, he challenged San Diego Padres first baseman Luke Voit to a fight after Voit collided with Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson, resulting in a concussion.
Ironically, Pham’s slap of Pederson wasn’t even the most bizarre moment of the night for the Giants and Reds.
Aug 23, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (99) runs to first base after hitting a single against the Atlanta Braves during the eighth inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees were unable to reach a deal on a contract extension prior to this season. That means the 30-year-old slugger is headed for free agency over the offseason.
Judge has elite power and entered Friday leading the AL in home runs for the second time in his career. Teams will want to have an MVP contender like Judge in their lineup, so he should have no shortage of suitors. Some wonder if he could end up getting a $300 million contract in free agency.
In addition to the Yankees, there is one National League team that reportedly is expected to have interest in Judge.
Judge is from Northern California and grew up as a Giants fan. The Giants prefer bargain deals over big free agent splashes, but Judge could be worth the big deal. The team had interest in Bryce Harper, so it sounds to reason they would also have interest in Judge.
Would the chance to play near where he grew up serve as a factor? Possibly.
If Judge’s preseason negotiations with the Yankees taught us anything, it’s that Judge will probably sign for the most amount of money possible. He’s batting .307 with 14 home runs and a 1.045 OPS in 36 games this season. He’s playing like a guy who wants a $300 million contract.
The contract is worth $36 million and will pay DeSclafani $12 million in each season.
The Giants are also bringing back pitcher Alex Wood on a 2-year deal reportedly worth more than $10 million per season, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Left-hander Alex Wood and the San Francisco Giants are finalizing a two-year contract worth north of $10 million a season, sources familiar with the agreement tell ESPN. First on the scene with the talks was @ByRobertMurray.
The Giants led MLB with 107 wins last season. Wood went 10-4 with a 3.83 ERA in 138.2 innings last season. DeSclafani went 13-7 with a 3.17 ERA. They, along with Kevin Gausman and Logan Webb, formed the core of the team’s pitching rotation.
Photo: Apr 21, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani (26) pitches during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Kris Bryant’s time with the San Francisco Giants could end up lasting for all of three months.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly said Thursday on MLB Network that Bryant is unlikely to return to the Giants in free agency. Baggarly added on the air that the Giants were not particularly impressed with Bryant, especially defensively, and that the former NL MVP’s swing might not age well.
Baggarly later took to Twitter to clarify that the team was happy with what Bryant contributed and knows that he is a star. However, certain aspects of Bryant’s game underwhelmed. Baggarly also said in the clarification tweet that Bryant’s swing relies on athleticism and thus poses some risk.
The 29-year-old Bryant arrived in San Francisco in a midseason trade with the Chicago Cubs. He hit .262 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs through 57 regular season games for the Giants. Bryant also went a scorching .471 with eight hits (including a homer) in San Francisco’s five-game NLDS loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Photo: Aug 3, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Kris Bryant (23) looks on in the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants breathed more life into their rivalry this year by battling it out in a thrilling five-game NLDS, but the two teams have a long way to go before they can call themselves baseball’s biggest rivals. Just ask Mookie Betts.
After the Dodgers defeated the Giants in a thrilling 2-1 game on Thursday night, Betts was asked if he thinks the two California teams have what his former team, the Boston Red Sox, has with the New York Yankees. Betts seemed hesitant to respond at first, but Max Scherzer pressured him into saying what he was thinking. The short answer was “no.”
Here’s the video:
Max Scherzer cornering Mookie on how the Red Sox – Yankees rivalry compares to Dodgers – Giants is wonderful pic.twitter.com/3LfROntt9J
Very few rivalries in sports come close to matching the intensity that we see when the Red Sox and Yankees face one another. The controversial way Game 5 of the NLDS ended (video here) might help drum up some more hostility between the Giants and Dodgers, but they’ll probably never have what the Red Sox and Yankees do. Betts understands that better than most.
The San Francisco Giants may have lost on Thursday, but that didn’t stop them from having fun afterwards.
Giants pitcher Kevin Gausman shared a photo on Twitter that showed some of his teammates dressed up. Brandon Belt is in the foreground as the captain. His “seamen” are lined up on the stairs of the plane behind him.
The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers began their huge series this weekend with an epic game on Friday night at Oracle Park.
The Giants scored in the third inning and led 1-0 for nearly the entire game. Then with two outs in the top of the ninth, Chris Taylor singled in the tying run. The teams traded runs in the 10th, and then it got tight again in the 11th.
The Giants had the bases loaded with one out and grounded out, bringing up Buster Posey with two outs. Posey hit a sharp ball up the middle on a 1-2 pitch and Trea Turner went to his left to field it. He set himself but still threw high to first, where catcher Will Smith was playing. The 5-foot-10 catcher had to leap to make the catch, which pulled himself off the bag.
Posey was able to step on first while Smith was off and was called safe.
Bryant is hitting .267 with 18 home runs, 51 RBI and an .861 OPS. The 29-year-old has bounced back after batting just .206 in last year’s pandemic-shortened season.
Chicago appears to have entered total rebuild mode. In addition to Baez and Bryant, they also traded closer Craig Kimbrel to the cross-town rival Chicago White Sox. The Cubs are 50-54 and not in the playoff hunt, so they have decided to restock their farm system. Their 2016 World Series champion team seems like a distant memory.