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Yankees make radical changes to their training staff

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One of the biggest stories of the 2019 season was just how many dang injuries they endured. And not just around the edges. Tons of important players were gone for months on end.

The fact that they still won 103 games and the AL East despite that was maybe even a bigger story, but it doesn’t make those injuries any less problematic. Maybe they go farther in the postseason if they’re not as banged up? Certainly they can’t expect to overcome those kinds injuries again, right? It’s just not probable.

So you should not be surprised, then, that the Yankees just did a radical overhaul of their training staff. Lindsey Adler of The Athletic reports:

The Yankees have hired Eric Cressey, a well known and highly sought-after performance coach, to oversee their training and strength-and-conditioning departments, sources told The Athletic. As part of an overhaul that will include new hires by Cressey, the Yankees will also transition longtime athletic trainer Steve Donohue to a status akin to trainer emeritus, though it’s expected he will remain involved with the club.

Adler reports that the Yankees will likewise promote assistant athletic trainer Michael Schuk to head trainer.

Adler notes that Cressey runs a business, Cressey Sports Performance, which already works with many ballplayers. The interesting thing here: he’ll continue to run that business and to work with non-Yankees. This is the second example of such a move this offseason, as the Reds recently hired Kyle Boddy of Driveline Baseball as the organization’s head pitching coordinator while allowing him to keep his business. In this it’s like a regular business giving a consultant an in-house office, basically. More than a contractor, less than a regular employee.

Obviously the specifics of training and athlete health are way above my pay grade, so who knows how all of this works out. Some injuries are no doubt a function of bad training. Others are no doubt a function of bad luck. Knowing which is which is beyond my or the common fan’s ken.

The Yankees, however, should be applauded for switching things up as radically as this. They’re not an organization known for that kind of thing, really.

Reds sign Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal

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The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a multi-year deal. That’s the report from C. Trent Rosecrans and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Jon Morosi of MLB.com was the first to report the Reds as frontrunners. The deal is pending a physical. UPDATE: The deal is four years. Financial terms have yet to be reported.

With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.

Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.

Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.