The final mailbag before Opening Day has arrived. On Sunday, I put out a call for questions and you came through. We received nearly a dozen submissions! Of course I can’t answer them all this morning, but I’m going to take a swing at a few. If I didn’t get to yours, don’t worry. Another editor may take it up later in the week.
Turn2intampa asks: Lately the spring pitching performances have been underwhelming. for the starters and next wave starters. If we need pitching help. how can we get it with the budget constraints? We missed out on trading for the starters who were available.
The Yankees, for the most part, have pitched well this spring. CC Sabathia leads the staff with 1.50 ERA in Grapefruit League action, and Sonny Gray’s 2.08 mark follows closely behind. Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery have also been sharp, pitching to a 3.24 ERA and 3.43 ERA, respectively. Only Masahiro Tanaka (11.25 ERA) and the minor league starters have struggled.
The front office still has plenty of room under luxury tax threshold to add a starter, if needed. Depending on who you ask, the team has anywhere from $16 million to $22 million to spend before hitting that limit. They can, in theory, absorb the contracts of multiple pitchers at the deadline. Sure, adding another starter would have been nice, but don’t worry too much about it. They can always make in-season adjustments.
Jesse asks: When Giancarlo Stanton was signed, I noticed that he was going to wear number 27. I know that was Austin Romine’s number. Did Giancarlo compensate Austin for that number as incoming players often do?
Romine received compensation in the form that he wasn’t designated for assignment. I’m only slightly kidding, too. “I’m just happy to have a number,” Romine told the New York Times. “I said: Is 28 available? Then I’ll take 28.”
According to the same story, Stanton offered to compensate the backup catcher, but Romine politely declined. Good guy, Austin, never thinking about himself!
Robert asks: Hopefully fulfilling a bucket list item this summer - where are the best seats at Yankee Stadium for the price in your opinion?
For this question, I’m turning the mic over to Kunj Shah, co-host of the Pinstripe Alley Podcast and in-house Yankee Stadium expert:
The Grandstand Infield is probably the best “bang-for-your-buck” when it comes to seating at Yankee Stadium. You’ll be able to find cheaper seats in the Bleachers and the Grandstand Outfield, but the Infield keeps you right in the action.
My biggest problem with the bleacher seating is that there are no backs to the seats and if you’re an old grandpa like I am (figuratively speaking), your back will bother you for a few days after. And on a gorgeous summer day, the sun will be your greatest enemy and you’ll start to melt from the heat.
The only thing you’d miss out on by not sitting in the bleachers is the chance to catch one of the 900 home runs this team will hit. The Grandstand Outfield does a good job of solving the back and sun issue, but you feel so far away it’s more about hanging out with friends than just enjoying the game. Then anything in the lower sections, your wallet’s going to start taking the hit.
In the Grandstand Infield you can sit back, relax, and actually see what’s happening in the game without binoculars. I generally try and find seats right behind home plate, but the section extends out in both directions to first and third base. All the food options are right there at your disposal. Plus, at the end of the game, you’ll find yourself close to the elevators, escalators, and ramps so you can get out right ahead of the subway rush.
Ray asks: If Jacoby Ellsbury goes on the disabled list, do the Yankees recover some of his salary from insurance?
While the details for Ellsbury’s specific contract remain tough to find, most multi-year deals come with insurance. A player typically has to miss months worth of time before the insurance kicks in, but it happens. From what I can gather, it also wouldn’t have any implications for the luxury tax threshold. The Economist has a nice piece on the matter actually, if you’re so interested.