If the Yankees weren’t doomed before, they are now

58 Comments

No, the Yankees probably weren’t beating the Tigers four times in five days either. Still, Wednesday’s rainout made the assignment that much tougher.

– Because they’re playing four games in four days, the Yankees have lost the ability to pitch Game 4 starter CC Sabathia on three days’ rest in Game 7. At best, he’ll be available for a couple of innings out of the pen. Their Game 7 options would be Phil Hughes and his achy back, David Phelps, Derek Lowe or perhaps someone not on the roster. They’d have the option of disabling Hughes and activating Ivan Nova, though that would mean losing Hughes for the World Series.

– The Tigers, on the other hand, suffer from no such problems there. Their Game 4 starter, Max Scherzer, wasn’t a candidate to come back and pitch later in the series. Justin Verlander would start Game 7 on four days’ rest.

– One of the things that makes it more difficult to reel off a winning streak in the postseason is that teams often have to use up their quality relievers to get their wins. In Games 3 and 4 against the Orioles, the Yankees had Rafael Soriano throw 3 1/3 innings and David Robertson throw three innings. They may well need similar efforts from those two if they hope to win Games 4 and 5 against the Tigers. Now with no days off between Games 5 and 6, the Yankees will likely head back to New York with a tired pen if they do somehow manage to survive.

– Detroit’s pen, on the other hand, just earned a day off for unexpected ace in Phil Coke. Coke said he’d be ready to go tonight regardless, but after throwing 3 2/3 innings the previous four days, he probably needed the little break.

OK, so that’s pretty minor. The Game 7 issue looks like a backbreaker, though.If they could find out a way to eke out wins the next two days, the Yankees’ chances wouldn’t have looked so bad with Hiroki Kuroda and Sabathia back in the Bronx. Instead, it’d now be TBA versus Verlander.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Dodgers owner Mark Walter is involved in a scandal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Dodgers last owner, Frank McCourt, was a mainstay of the gossip pages. The new administration has been pretty drama free since taking over five years ago. That is, until now.

Multiple outlets, ranging from the New York Post to the Wall Street Journal, have been reporting on a scandal brewing at Guggenheim Partners, the multi-billion investment firm led by Mark Walter, its CEO. Walter is also the head of Guggenheim Baseball Management, the offshoot of the firm which owns the Dodgers. Walter is the Dodgers’ named owner — the “control person” — as far as Major League Baseball is concerned.

The scandal does not directly relate to the baseball team. Rather, it involves allegations that Walter bought a $13 million Pacific Palisades home for a younger female executive named Alexandra Court:

In the past 24 hours, the company has pushed back on multiple reports that CEO Mark Walter will step down; its chief investment officer has claimed on CNBC that there’s “no tumult” at the company; and Guggenheim has denied reports on a real-estate blog and in the New York Post that Walter bought a California mansion for a younger female executive at the company.

The denial regarding who bought the mansion is a bit too cute, though, as the company only denies that Walter bought it or owns it. In fact, the mansion is owned by a holding company that also bought Walter’s personal residence in Malibu. Billionaires don’t go to closings at title company offices, of course. They buy houses through companies and LLCs and trusts and stuff. As such, the claim that Walter didn’t buy the house may be technically and legally true but entirely misleading all the same. For what it’s worth, The Wall Street Journal has reported that Walter and Court have a “personal relationship.” Walter, who is married, and the company deny this. Court is on an extended leave of absence.

Walter and Guggenheim are denying that Walter is going to step down as CEO. That remains to be seen. The question for our purposes is whether, if he steps down from Guggenheim Partners, he would necessarily have to step down from Guggenheim Baseball Management and thus relinquish control of the Dodgers. I suspect not — they’re distinct legal entities, and his departure from Partners would be unrelated to stuff having to do with the baseball team — but you never know. It’s not like he put up $2 billion of his personal dollars for the team. There are likely a lot of strings attached and contingencies involved to the arrangement.

Something to watch.