You ask, we answer. The Post is fielding questions from readers about New York’s biggest pro sports teams and getting our beat writers to answer them in a series of regularly published mailbags. In today’s installment: the Yankees.
Will Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge play on Opening Day — Chris Fiegler
On March 3, GM Brian Cashman addressed the readiness of Stanton and Judge for Opening Day, which was supposed to be March 26.
“As of right now, more likely than not, I don’t see him ready by Opening Day because of the time frame,” Cashman said of Judge, who at the time believed he was dealing with a right shoulder issue that was later diagnosed as a fractured top right rib. “It’s 3¹/₂ weeks, and just then the healing and then having to have a spring training.”
On Stanton, who was dealing with a Grade 1 strain of the right calf, Cashman said:
“My gut would be that he wouldn’t be ready by Opening Day. I would say it’s better to assume he won’t be ready. Will he be, in theory, ready in April? At some point the answer should be yes.”
Of course, the landscape has changed. Nobody can predict when/if the season starts. However, the delay can be viewed as a positive for the Yankees in regard to getting Judge and Stanton back whenever games start. They have been rehabbing in Tampa since the exhibition season ended on March 12.
This past week Aaron Boone said the Yankees are using the time for Judge to heal and that is helping the rib issue. Of Stanton, Boone said when the season starts the outfielder “should be ready to go and be part of things.’’
How does MLB justify counting this non-playing time as part of the suspension of Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch but not for Domingo German — Hal Wayne
The difference is that Luhnow’s and Hinch’s suspensions weren’t negotiated with MLB and German’s was, and German already has had his suspension carry over into the following season. German’s 81-game suspension last year for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy has 63 games remaining that will carry over into this season, if there is one. But if the season is canceled, none of German’s remaining 63 will carry over again into 2021.
Luke Voit has become one of my favorite Yanks with his big personality, guns, and, of course, bat. Is there a chance he could become the most regular first baseman since (Mark) Teixeira — Darren Boch
Since Teixeira retired following the 2016 season, the Yankees have used 17 first basemen. After being acquired from the Cardinals on July 28, 2018 the right-handed hitting Voit started at first in 31 games. Last year it was 81 starts, and would have been more if not for core muscle problems that required surgery.
Voit’s power is real, and he has improved defensively. Had Greg Bird remained healthy, he would have challenged for the starting first base job that belongs to Voit if/when the season opens. Bird signed with the Rangers this past offseason.
Most Yankees championship teams seemed to have lineups with a nice balance of lefty/righty power. Though Judge and Stanton can go to right field with power, do you think the lack of left-handed bats will hurt run production — Frank Grampone
The Yankees didn’t pay for not having a power hitter from the left side last year when switch-hitter Aaron Hicks appeared in just 59 games and required postseason Tommy John surgery, which will likely sideline him until June. And that was without Miguel Andujar in the lineup.
There is enough power in the lineup regardless if it comes from the right side. Gary Sanchez, DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit have opposite-field power and, as you mentioned, Judge and Stanton hit the ball the other way. It also helps Yankee Stadium plays very small in right field.
Why don’t doctors operate on Judge now? Virus permits time frame for recovery — Florida
Surgery is always the last option. Judge has been rehabbing a fractured rib injury in Tampa. Remember when Masahiro Tanaka was diagnosed with a small tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in 2014, and the loud cries that he should immediately have Tommy John surgery?
The Yankees and Tanaka opted for a rehab program, and the right-hander has gone 62-38 with a 3.90 ERA in 144 games (143 starts) since the beginning of 2015.
What does a potentially lost season or part of season mean for the contract of Jacoby Ellsbury — Alex Hamm
When Ellsbury was released by the Yankees on Nov. 20, 2019, the Yankees were on the hook for the $21 million he was guaranteed for the 2020 season — which was the last leg of a seven-year deal worth $153 million that includes a $5 million buyout in 2021. Currently, the $21 million is counting against the Yankees’ luxury-tax total for 2020.
The Yankees attempted to recoup some of the money, based on their belief Ellsbury used an outside facility to rehab injuries, by converting the contract to a non-guaranteed one. The Players Association filed a grievance on Ellsbury behalf. The situation is pending.
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