Yankees lose out on Dallas Keuchel because of…Domingo Germán?

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Last week the Atlanta Braves signed free agent pitcher Dallas Keuchel. The Yankees, also in need of starting pitching, were reportedly in the hunt for him as well. When Keuchel signed with Atlanta for $13 million for the remainder of the season the Yankees took some heat from their fans for not being willing to spend a moderate amount to fix a thin and injury-hampered rotation.

Today a columnist — Randy Miller of NJ.com — wrote a column blaming the Yankees’ failure to sign Keuchel on starter Domingo Germán. The upshot: if Germán, who just went on the injured list due to a strained hip, had told the Yankees earlier that his hip hurt, they would’ve made a greater effort to sign Keuchel. Here’s Miller, after chronicling the history of Germán’s hip:

And because German hid this injury, the Yankees’ allowed their Plan A for a rotation upgrade to go elsewhere when free agent left-hander Dallas Keuchel passed on their one-year, $11-million best offer to take one-year and $13 million from the Atlanta Braves last Thursday. If the Yanks had known about German’s hip issue, there’s no doubt that management would have looked at Keuchel as more of a necessity than a luxury and thus probably offered enough money to get him.

He goes on to nail the alleged direct connection here even harder, saying “[t]he Yankees could have had Keuchel – probably would have had Keuchel – if German hadn’t kept quiet about his sore hip for almost two weeks.”

That’s a major stretch. A stretch that ignores the fact that adding Keuchel would’ve addressed an already-pressing need. If the Yankees were getting outbid by the Braves for a measly $2 million despite that need, it’s pretty doubtful that Germán’s hip — which was already leading to some poor outings, thus suggesting he was not going to continue to carry the staff like he had in the first two months of the season — would’ve made the difference. Saying it’s his fault that the Yankees were unwilling to match Atlanta’s offer is rather ridiculous, actually.

But making this argument sure does serve the purposes of the Yankees’ front office. They would, I’m sure, prefer that fans  ignore the fact that the Yankees have bypassed a number of chances to improve the club via free agency in the last several months. It’s better for them if angry fans are blaming Domingo Germán than Brian Cashman.

 

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.