The 2019 baseball season starts tomorrow. The New York Yankees are looking to win the World Series this season. They are starting off the season with some injuries. Some key players are injured to start the season including Dellin Betances, Aaron Hicks, Luis Severino, and Didi Gregorius. Betances, Hicks, and Severino should be back in May and Gregorius is going to be back in the second half. I don’t expect these injuries to hurt the Yankees in the first month of the season. The lineup to start the season is going to be Sanchez, Bird, Torres, Tulo, Andujar, Stanton, Gardner, Judge, and Voit. That lineup is one of the deepest lineups in baseball. The offense should be able to carry the team while they deal with the injuries to the rotation. The Yankees are in position to best the team home run record from last season. A healthy Judge, an improved Sanchez, and a comfortable Stanton will give them a great chance to break it. If Aaron Judge is healthy, they should be fine. Their biggest weakness offensively last season was hitting with runners in scoring position. It is frustrating to see them fail to bring runners in during big spots. They must improve that to win a championship. The Starting pitching is the biggest weakness. Starting the season, they will have Domingo German and Jonathan Loaisiga in the rotation. We don’t know what to expect from those two because they haven’t shown us enough in their previous starts to be confident in their starts. The top three spots look good with Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ. They signed Gio Gonzalez, who could be a reliable starter if they need it. They will be fine with these guys in the first month of the season. Luis Severino will need to figure out his issue from the second half of last year. I expect he will ready to pitch like an ace throughout the entire season. The Yankees also have Jordan Montgomery coming back in the second half of the season from Tommy John surgery to add another starting pitcher in the mix. If they are healthy the rotation will be one of the better rotations in baseball, especially with the help of the bullpen. The bullpen is the deepest in baseball even without Betances to start the season. They have Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino, and Chad Green, who all can be closers. The strength of the bullpen will take pressure off the starters to go deep into the game.
I believe the Yankees can win the World Series this year. The Yankees have the experience and the fire to get it done. They made some good moves during the off season. I predict they will win the AL East with between 95-100 wins. This team is ready to bring the 28th championship to the Yankees.
The Yankees signed Aaron Hicks to a seven-year extension worth $70 million with a club option in 2026. The deal includes this upcoming season. Hicks was slated to become a free agent after this season. The current free agent market isn’t friendly to players over the age of 30. It is not guaranteed he will get a big contract in free agency from a contender. Hicks might have decided it was a better idea to get a seven-year deal for $10 million a year than take a risk with free agency which he might not earn more over that stretch. Hicks could love playing with the Yankees and doesn’t want to go anywhere else. It is more worth it to playing on a championship caliber team rather than a team in the basement every year for more money. For the Yankees this is a great deal. They are not paying Hicks a massive amount of money. He will give you 20+ home runs every year and is a big bat in the lineup. The big issue is whether he will be healthy because he of his previous injuries. For the production Hicks can give you it is a good deal.
I like the extension of Aaron Hicks because he is a solid outfielder. Seven years does seem like it could be a year or two too long, but it is at ten million a year. With that cost it is fine since, he could end up being a fourth outfielder in his last couple years. This deal means they will trade either Clint Frazier or Estevan Florial because there isn’t room for both outfielders on the roster. I believe they will trade Florial because he will probably have better trade value due to Frazier’s concussion issues. Clint Frazier sounds more of a Yankee than Estevan Florial.
The Yankees are looking to extend some of their players before free agency. They are talking to reliver Dellin Betances and shortstop Didi Gregorius. I hope they can sign them before the end of spring training. I expect they will sign Aaron Judge to an extension within the next few years to lock him up for his prime years in his 30s. One reason they didn’t want to sign Machado or Harper is because they need to pay Judge and a few other young players. Hicks could end up being a better financial deal than Harper. I am happy to see Aaron Hicks get paid and remain on the Yankees.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced several proposed rule changes. Manfred has looked into to speeding up the game and grow the interest in baseball. For the most part I like the idea of these changes. Should they accept these changes?
One major change is the designated hitter being added to the National League. The DH is the one unique difference between the two leagues. I like the fact that pitchers hit in the National League, but with inter-league play being a big part of baseball now, it gives the NL a disadvantage in American League ballparks. This allows NL teams to have a designated hitter when they face AL teams. It also prevents a pitcher from getting injured, especially pitchers from the American League who only bat a few times a year. Yankees pitchers Chen-Ming Wang and Masahiro Tanaka have both got injured from batting. Chen-Ming Wang was never the same pitcher after that injury. It is better for baseball taking out the risk of injury for pitchers even though there are some pitchers that can hit. It is fun to watch pitchers like Bartolo Colon bat, but it is not worth the injury potential. MLB is looking at lowering the pitching mound. This is a way to increase offensive and try to decrease strikeouts. I don’t believe this will make a difference, but if it helps make the game more exciting than I am all for it. It is a change that shouldn’t happen. They are looking at a rule to allow two-sport amateurs to sign major league contracts. They don’t have to do this one because of there being very few athletes who are in a position to be two-sport athletes. This is because of Kyler Murray who was drafted by the Oakland A’s at ninth and decided to go to the NFL over MLB. If it doesn’t work out for him, he could lose out on baseball. Athletes will decide to pick one of the two sports they play and not toy around with both. It is becoming less common for athletes who can play in division I athletics to play more than one sport. The MLB is hoping this will allow athletes still consider baseball and increase their chance of going toward the MLB. A single trade deadline before the all-star break was also proposed. This will prevent teams that are out of it from trading away all their best trade assets. Currently the trade deadline is July 31 and the waiver trade deadline is August 31. This proposal will have one deadline ending before the middle of July instead of allowing players to be dealt until the end of August. This is a great idea to prevent teams from trading away all their best players during the season. If the deadline was June 30, there won’t be as many fire sales because of a teams season being over. If they plan on adding a waiver period, it should be from July 1 to the all-star break. There is a proposal to stop tanking with pushing toward a draft penalty for losing teams. My idea is for the first round to push them back at least five picks instead of picking first they pick sixth. The win count should be 68-70 with the teams under getting their first-round pick moved back. A team isn’t going to tank if it means getting a worst pick than a team that won 75 games in the first round. I think they also should make the second-round pick one of the last few picks of the round. It forces an organization to put a team out there to win. The earlier trade deadline and getting a worst pick for being bad combined will make the season more interesting. Teams aren’t going to give away all their best players if it means they get a worst draft pick. It will give fans of bad teams a reason to watch their teams in the last couple months of the season because they will have something to play for.
There are several proposals to speed up the game. A three-batter minimum for pitchers. This will prevent a pitcher from coming in to face one batter. This will allow there to be fewer pitching changes during a game. I don’t like seeing several pitching changes in an inning because it gets annoying having a few commercial breaks during a half-inning. If you are trying to get people into baseball too many pitching changes will tune them out. You can say it takes away from some of the strategy of pitching changes because you can’t bring in a pitcher in any situation. A manager will still need to figure out what pitcher should be used for the three upcoming batters in the current situation. A pitcher who got final out of the inning with facing one or two batters shouldn’t have to face a second or third batter the next inning because this will defeat the purpose of this change. The limit could also reset with relievers who pitched the previous inning. They would have to face at least three batters in their second inning of work. Another change is adding a 20 second pitch clock. I believe this is a great move to speed up the game. This will keep the action moving throughout the game. More action is what baseball need to get more people into the sport. It should only be used when no runners are on base, because of how pitchers and baserunners could manipulate it. Hopefully, pitchers keep up the pace with runners on and don’t put the action to a crawl. A good consistent pace will help make the game more interesting. The MLB is considering increasing the roster to 26, while decreasing the September roster from 40 to 28 and maximum of 12 pitchers. In September, calls ups lead to more pitching changes, which slows down the game. This prevents a team bringing up a bunch of pitchers in the bullpen and using them a lot. I like the idea of decreasing the roster in September but having 28 active players for the game with up to 32 players on the roster. There should be a max of twelve pitchers active, which includes the starters. Last season, Rob Manfred decreased the amount of mound visits to six and can reduce it even further looking to decrease it to four this season and three by 2020. The reduction of mound visits helped with speeding up the game and decreasing it further will continue to reduce the game time. It should get dropped to four and stop at there. The reduction to six has worked out the way you hoped because it stopped a catcher going out to the pitcher often, like Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez. It would become interesting strategically with how you should use your mound visits. It would work like timeouts in other sports, where you need to use the few you have at the right time.
For the most part these changes are good for baseball and will help the league. These changes will help Major League Baseball increase the speed of the game and generate more interest in the league. Baseball is looking toward remaining a major sport in today’s society.
In the NFC Championship game, a non-call pass interference cost the Saints a chance to go to the Super Bowl. Bad officiating is what soured a great day of football. The question is should the NFL allow coaches to challenge a penalty or non-penalty. Does this lead to too many things being reviewable in football?
In my opinion reviewing penalties is a good thing for the NFL, if it doesn’t get out of hand. Awful penalties that determine the game leave a bad taste in your mouth. You want the officials to get all the calls right. The NFL doesn’t want bad officiating to bring negative conversations about the league. Terrible calls have been an issue with the league for years. People weren’t talking about the Super Bowl matchup the week after the conference championship, it was all about officiating. Saints fans feel robbed by the NFL for that mistake, even though there were bad calls throughout the game. The Super Bowl wasn’t an exciting game, which makes Saints fans more upset believing they would have defeated the Patriots. The NFL is interested in having a special challenge for penalties. Reversing the decision on the field in terms of penalties should only be for clear mistakes not ones that could go either way. It would become a problem if it is being used for anything other than the obvious. Having one or two challenges for penalties will help with prevent bad calls effecting games. During the playoffs, the booth should review any questionable calls in the last ten minutes of the game and overtime. Having the booth review calls late in the game will help prevent backlash for a horrible call late in the game. The league needs to have some form of booth reviews for these plays late in the game due to the importance of the fourth quarter. Fans are the most upset over bad calls late in the game rather than one in the first quarter. However, they shouldn’t go to it too often because it would slow up the game. A big issue with reviews is the amount of time it takes for it. They need to make the reviews quick because the NFL doesn’t need games getting longer because of replay reviews. Adding reviews for challenges can result in more replay reviews. You don’t want it to get a point where there are too many replay reviews. Too many reviews will cause viewers to tune out of the game. Fans already hate the amount of time it takes for most reviews. Unfortunately, fans will still complain about the system to review penalties. There will be times when the refs ruling after a review will be met with anger believing the refs made the wrong call after watching the replay. It happens with challenges often where fans believe the refs didn’t get it right after viewing the tape. This will also make refs look bad because every penalty and non-penalty will be dissected. Fans will also call for more challenges to make sure every call is right due to the amount of calls that fans will feel are wrong. It is good for the league to prevent ending like the Saints-Rams conference championship league. I hope it ends up being a positive for the NFL instead of a negative leading into a rabbit hole for replay reviews.