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Yankee Youngsters Pushing For Starting Slots Now, Not Later

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It often times doesn’t go according to plan and in the case of the New York Yankees and their youth-rich roster of prospects, the “your time is coming soon” approach is being aggressively challenged by the players that the plan is attached to.

This spring the Yankees have played great baseball, and Spring Training wins/loss records don’t matter, but their production and impressive spring training record has opened some eyes around the league.

And while the Yankees have always been known for leaning on their veteran leaders it’s their youngsters, the “players of tomorrow”, who are wreaking havoc on the diamond and at the plate. It’s the youngsters carrying the Yanks to victory and it’s the young prospects that are forcing the franchise’s hand.

Gleybor Torres, who is expected to start the season in Double-A Trenton, has continued his hot play since winning the Arizona Fall League MVP. Torres, 20, has had an impressive spring and with the team not 100% sold on the long-term viability of Starlin Castro, Torres could be called up this season, especially if he tears through Double-A and Triple-A afterwards.

Another reality that the Yankees are facing is that the deal they handed Jacoby Ellsbury a few years ago in free agency may go down as the worst in franchise history. Given how active the Yankees have been in free agency and how often they have signed a top level free agent to a massive deal, that says a lot.

But the fact is Ellsbury is getting older, is a constant health concern, is vastly over paid and has dramatically underperformed.

To make matters worse for Ellsbury there is Jorge Mateo waiting in the wings. Mateo is mostly an infielder and could threaten the job security of Castro and Didi Gregorious, but the Yankees have worked him center field too.

If Ellsbury continues to disappoint, Mateo could be one of the first players the team pushes up into the starting rotation of outfielders.

And speaking of outfield, Clint Frazier is another name to keep an eye on because, like Mateo, he could threaten the job security of outfielders such as Ellsbury. Frazier should be a name to watch especially if the Yankees finally pull the trigger on trading away Brett Gardner, which they have been rumored to be close to doing for the past few years.

A longshot to be called up is Justus Sheffield, the left handed pitcher that general manager Brian Cashman ensured was a part of the Andrew Miller trade last year.

“Wherever I start, that is where I will start, but the goal obviously at the end of the year is to be up higher than the level I was at,” Sheffield said. “The overall goal is to make it to the big leagues.”

Sheffield only made Class A last year but with uncertainty surrounding the Yankee rotation he could see a fast rise through the minors and be in line to make an impact in 2018.

If James Kaprielian can stay healthy, he is a strong candidate to be called up to the rotation this season. Other names to watch include Jordan Montgomery and Chance Adams.

While the Yankees plan of waiting until tomorrow may not be going according to plan, the strong play from so many prospects is a good problem to have and the future is not only exciting, but it’s bright in the Bronx.

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media and DiMoro Enterprises LLC. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony hosts the Anthony DiMoro Show podcast, and formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

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MLB

Flyers Remove Statue of Kate Smith

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The Philadelphia Flyers have joined the New York Yankees in the removal of ties to singer Kate Smith, whose famous rendition of “God Bless America” was played at both Flyers and Yankees games.

Earlier this week, the Yankees decided to suspend the use of Smith’s rendition, which was played during the seventh-inning stretch, while they investigated allegations of racism against the later singer.

According to a report from the New York Daily News, there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” which
originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals” and was considered satire but includes racist language, including the line;
“Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”

The song was recorded by Smith and Paul Robeson, who was black.

The Flyers put out the following statement on Sunday (h/t ESPN):

“The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with ‘God Bless America,’ as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation.

“But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes.”

Smith, who was popular during the WWII era, recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among various other treats. 

Smith also endorsed the “Mammy Doll” back in 1939 which was based on a racist caricature of a black woman similar to Aunt Jemima.


“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a club spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”

The odds aren’t good that Smith’s songs will return to their prominent places during sporting events such as they were with the Yankees and the Flyers.

There is a lot of cleaning up to do when it comes to racism in sports, and weeding out songs attached to artists with questionable, and controversial, backgrounds such as Smith’s, is important in pushing forward towards the future.

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Chicago Cubs

MLB Investigating Racist Social Media Messages Sent to Cubs’ Carl Edwards Jr.

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Major League Baseball is investigating racial messages sent, via social media, to Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. prior to his demotion to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs back on April 6th.

According to The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, the messages have caught the attention of both the Cubs and the MLB Players Association, leading to the launch of the investigation.

Mooney had been a solid bullpen option during the last few seasons, but had a nightmare start to the 2019 season posting a terrible 32.40 ERA in just 1.2 innings of work over four appearances.

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MLB

Carlos Zambrano Attempting Comeback, Signs with Indy Team

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Former MLB pitcher Carlos Zambrano is attempting a comeback and has signed with the American Association’s Chicago Dogs, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer.

Zambrano last pitched in the majors back in 2012 with the Miami Marlins, but earlier in his career he finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting in the National League three times as a member of the Chicago Cubs.

Zambrano started his comeback bid last fall when he took the mound for 7 starts in the Mexican League, pitching to the tune of a 5.18 ERA, and performing even worse during a short stint in the Venezuelan Winter League.

Given his recent lack of production, it is a longshot to believe that Zambrano will return to the MLB level, but stranger things have happened.

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