Wednesday, December 21, 2022

New York Baseball Has Massive Day, At Expense Of Team Who Spurned City 65 Years Ago


Aaron Judge (right) signing his new contract with Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman. @Yankees on Twitter.

When the New York Giants left for San Francisco after the 1957, along with the Brooklyn Dodgers, it left a gaping hole in the hearts of the city's baseball fans. 

65 years later, the two current teams, the Mets and Yankees, returned the favor as they have made three massive moves this offseason at the Giants' expense, with the capstone happening Wednesday morning.

It started two weeks ago when the Yankees signed Aaron Judge to a nine-year, $360 million contract, as he turned down a similar offer from his hometown Giants to remain a Yankee for life.

Then, the Yankees signed left-handed starting pitcher Carlos Rodon to a six-year, $162 million deal, as they lured San Francisco's ace out east.

Finally, the most stunning of the three moves happened on Wednesday when the Mets signed shortstop Carlos Correa to a 12-year, $315 million deal, as his previously agreed upon contract with the Giants fell through. San Francisco signed Correa after they missed out on Judge, so now they really don't have a centerpiece in that lineup.

What ties in the Yankees news to the Correa signing by the Mets is that the Yankees held their press conference celebrating the Judge deal on Wednesday morning, in which they also named him team captain, and then after that, the Yankees announced that the Rodon signing is official. Below is more information on the three signings:

Carlos Correa was ones of four coveted shortstops on the market this offseason, along with Xander Bogaerts, who left Boston for San Diego; Trea Turner, who left the Dodgers for Philadelphia; and Dansby Swanson, the long-time Braves shortstop who joined the Chicago Cubs.

There are two sides to Correa - he has been one of the best hitters in baseball since he debuted with the Houston Astros seven years ago, a time he led them to a lot of deep playoff runs and a World Series title in 2017, while also being one of the ringleaders of the sign-stealing scheme that the Astros did in that championship season.

Correa played for Houston from 2015, when he won the American League Rookie of the Year through the 2021 season, a time in which they reached the World Series three times, winning the lone title in '17. He then left for a three-year contract with the Minnesota Twins before the 2022 season, which he opted out of after one year.

In eight Major League seasons, Correa is a .279 hitter, and he has a .357 on-base percentage, along with an average of 28 home runs and 101 RBI per season. In his last season in Houston, in 2021, he hit .279 with 26 home runs and 92 RBI in 148 games, and then in 2022 in Minnesota, he had a better average, .291, but only hit 22 home runs and had 64 RBI in 136 games in what was a disappointing year for the Twins, who missed the playoffs.

Since Francisco Lindor, who highly lobbied Mets owner Steve Cohen, to bring in Correa, already plays shortstop, the assumption is Correa can shift over to third base. Correa spent time in the outfield with Houston, so maybe some time in left or center field could be possible.

Aaron Judge: The Yankees, during the press conference commemorating his new contract, made him the 16 captain in team history.

Number 99 is the first captain the Yankees will have since Derek Jeter, who served in the role from June 3, 2003 until his retirement in 2014, the longest tenure in franchise history. Jeter was on hand at the press conference, along with Willie Randolph, who served from March 4, 1986 to October 2, 1988.

According to the press release announcing the news, the role of captain has varied in baseball history: "The function of a team captain in baseball has changed over time. Early 20th century baseball rules required teams to designate an active, uniformed player as captain to do many things a modern-day manager typically would handle, such as changing pitchers, positioning fielders and talking with umpires. Non-playing managers at that time were limited to directing players from within the confines of the dugout. However, by the mid-1910s, managers assumed the modern responsibilities they have today, and the designation of captain became largely ceremonial."

Yankees captains throughout their history (research could not confirm one for the 1912 season: Clark Griffith (1903-05), Norman "Kid" Elberfeld (1906-08), Willie Keeler (1909), Hal Chase (1910-11), Frank Chance (start 1913-midseason), Rollie Zeider (midseason 1913-end of season), Roger Peckinhpaugh (1914-21), Babe Ruth (3/13/1922-5/25-1922 - Ruth did not play in the team's first 33 games of that season, and was just an active captain for six games from 5/20-25/1922), Lou Gehrig (4/12/1935-1939), Thurman Munson (4/17/1976-8/2/1979), Graig Nettles (1/29/1982-3/30/1984), Willie Randolph (3/4/1986-10/2/1988), Ron Guidry (3/4/1986-7/12/1989), Don Mattingly (2/28/1991-1995), Derek Jeter (6/3/2003-2014), Aaron Judge (12/21/2022-present).

Carlos Rodon: The Yankees completed the signing of left-handed starter Carlos Rodon on Wednesday, nearly a week after the news came out last Thursday, to a six-year contract that will last through the 2028 season.

Rodon, 30, had his best seasons in the Majors last year, when he went 14-8 with a 2.88 earned run average (ERA), as he allowed 57 earned runs (59 overall) in 178.0 innings pitched, along with 237 strikeouts, and allowed just 131 hits, 12 home runs, and 52 walks in 31 starts for the Giants. He posted career highs in wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, double-digit strikeout games (11) and games started.

135 of the 237 strikeouts he notched ended with a fastball, which was the third-highest total in the Majors, behind his new teammates Nestor Cortes (144) and Gerrit Cole (141). 

Last season was the second in a row in which Rodon made the All-Star team, after he took his game to another level in the 2021 season when he was a member of the Chicago White Sox, as he went 13-5 with a 2.37 ERA in 24 starts.

Rodon's combined stats for the 2021 and '22 seasons are astonishing. In 55 starts, he has gone 27-13 with two complete games and a 2.67 ERA, as he has thrown 310.2 innings, with 422 strikeouts, and allowed 98 runs (92 earned) on 222 hits and 88 walks. Over that span, he led the Majors in strikeouts-per-9.0-innings at 12.23, and he was third in pitcher WAR (wins above replacement) with 11.1, according to FanGraphs.

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