Friday, July 21, 2017

"That beautiful Yankee bullpen" has two holes in it

For years, I've wanted John Sterling to break out a signature strikeout holler for each Yankee pitcher. We never got hear "It's a K-K from C.C!" or "Andy is dandy!" It wasn't fair. And last night, with The Master still bouncing like Ricochet Rabbit over the Todd Frazier acquisition - the Yanks got three stars, three! and gave up nothing, nothing! - he continually waxed over the "beautiful Yankee bullpen," a collection of wondrous arms like exotic wrenches in a hipster tool box. John should start yodeling over strikeouts. It's a rap... from Chap! Dellin is dealin'!

Except for one thing. Last night, when we finally brought in Betances and Chapman to seal the deal, it's a good thing we had a four-run lead. Nobody is swinging at Dellin's breaking balls in the dirt, and base-runners are stealing the silverware hanging around his neck. Meanwhile, El Chapo keeps walking lead-off batters, and those 102-mph meatballs are going out of the park at 115-mph. Last night, with a three-run lead, Joe started warming up David Robertson... just in case. And of course John whooped about yet another proven closer to call upon from that magnificent Yankee pen.

Yep. We have the greatest Yankee bullpen ever assembled, but with one minor hitch: The (cough) closers can't (cough) close. No problem. Move along people, there's nothing to see here. That gaping wound in the fabric of our security system, a little duct tape should fix it. And now that we are an Officially  
Declared 2017 AL Wild Card Contestant (TM), we can sit back and wait for Brian Cashman's next trade - did anyone think a GM won't go for broke in the contract year? - knowing that no lead is safe. We have "Thrillin' Dellin" for the eighth, and "Chappaquiddick Island" for the ninth, and that's that. We're not going to sell El Chapo in an Aug. 1 garage sale. Nobody wants the garage. It's got bullet holes in it. So the tabs now want us to trade the house for Sonny Gray? Are Yankee fans actually supposed to buy into the notion that these players are coming to New York for free? Dear God, save us.

Well, I dunno. We won last night, and it's always nice to see Joggy Cano hitting 30 points below our own second-baseman, even if Starlin Castro is jogging these days due to the hamstring. But I'm wondering what impact the next week will have on Cashman's trading plans. If, say, the Yankees go on a tear, would it embolden him to trade the 2020 crown jewels for Sonny? And if we fall apart, would it keep Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar as future Yankees? I'm not even sure what to root for, but John is doing it for both of us. Ice berg, dead ahead.

The Nationals are looking for a closer. Just saying.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

If the Yankees are supposed to be different, then why are they doing what every other team does?

I view readers of this blog as Yankee zen masters, mountaintop gurus with doctorates in Yankeeology - philosopher-fans whose vast knowledge of the game - as well as of life itself - cannot be questioned by less evolved fan-bases. 

On that note, I certainly don't have to tell you that two nights ago, the franchise dealt one of best prospects, Blake Rutherford, for two veteran relievers and a 3B two years past his sell date, who is hitting .207. Nor must I tell you that for the last two nights, the Yankee-owned media has been celebrating the three additions like gifts from heaven, no strings attached, sent to help the Yankees. Yesterday, Suzyn Waldman actually argued that it doesn't matter if Rutherford someday becomes a great White Sox star, it's still a smart trade. (Yeah, just as dealing Jay Buhner surely looked smart for a week.) To the surprise of no one, the Yankee-owned media has cheered this deal with all its might, and the increasingly desperate Gammonites of print - while sifting through buyout offers - cannot expect to have phone calls returned if they get smart-mouthy toward the front office. Thus, almost everywhere you look, it seems as though the Yankiverse is rejoicing the deal. It's almost as if the Russians are running this league.

But the more I look at it, the more I see one of the worst moves in recent Yankee history. Once again, it shows an ownership unable to stick with a long term strategy, and unwilling to actually put the Yankees in a class apart from other franchises. By going for broke this year - by trading prospects for veterans - we are betraying the traditional Yankee ethos of trying to build dynasties, rather than one-shot Wild Card seasons.

Okay, let's drop the theoretical bullshit. Let's play this simple. Let's say this trade pays immediate dividends: Todd Frazier regains his long-lost stroke and goes on a tear, (as Alfonso Soriano did a few years ago.) Let's say David Robertson - a disappointment in Chicago for the last two seasons; his ERA was well over 3.00 - continues with his resurgence. That will leave the Yankees one starting pitcher from post-season contention. We might have to trade - well - it would be a much steeper price for Oakland's Sonny Gray. (Thinking Clint Frazier, Jorge Mateo, Justis Sheffield, et al.) But let's say it works: Kaboom - the Yankees win the 2017 Wild Card game, then run the table, winning the World Series. Owner Hal Dolanbrenner will bestow life-time commitments upon Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi - whose contracts end this winter - and hell, we might even sign Todd Frazier to a three-year deal. We will ride the Canyon of Heroes, toasting our first world championship since 2009.

Remember that one? We won the Big Burrito on the juicy power of A-Rod, along with a payroll splurge - CC, Tex and AJ - that dogs us to this day. We're still paying it off. It's the one Yankee world championship we tend to overlook because - well - it launched eight years of pain. We sacrificed our future for one big year. Ever since, we've been paying the piper.

Today, that's how teams succeed. Look at the Cubs. Last year, they couldn't load up on enough stars and chess pieces. This year, they carry the stench of an bloated also-ran. Look at the Royals, the Giants, the Cards, the Mets, the Nats, even Boston - they traded the fruits of their farm systems for one-year shots at championships - damning the long-term consequences. So why shouldn't the Yankees do the same? That's how every other team does it, right?

Well, maybe so. But speaking now to you true Yankee fan-philosophers, I'd like to pose the notion that our team should be different. We don't want to compete for a Wild Card every year. Under the current MLB system, any team can compete for a Wild Card: Just be around .500, and you're a Wild Card contender. But Yankee fans want great teams - dynasties with a Reggie-Thurman-Gator-Catfish axis, or a Jeter-Bernie-Mo-Jorge core - teams that win multiple rings. We don't want to one world championship per decade, followed by nine years of Sidney Ponson and Lyle Overbay, because of salary caps or spent farm systems. The Yankees are supposed to build dynasties, not merely clubs hoping for a Wild Card and a hot October. 

Today, I doubt the Yankees are done dealing prospects. I think we've only begun. Last August, Dolanbrenner announced a new concept - "the Baby Bombers" - but I'm not sure if it was a strategy or marketing slogan. For a year, they have vowed to build with youth and aim for a great team in - say - 2019 or 2020. The had quit the prospect-trading addiction, gone cold turkey on old turkeys. But this week, they reached into the refrigerator and pulled out a beer. And it tasted really nice, especially coupled with all that adoring encouragement from the Yankee-owned media. Now that we're all-in on the 2017 Wild Card, we'll need a starting pitcher. Sonny Gray? It won't be cheap. And even if we somehow get lucky and win this year, it's going to cost us in the future. Once you start drinking again, the shot glasses fill up mighty easily.

I've been hoping for one last great Yankee dynasty in my lifetime. I sort of thought 2020 might be the year - with rookie Blake Rutherford in CF, beside Clint Frazier and Aaron Judge. Now, I'm wondering if Cliff Frazier will even be there at all. The Yankees are going for broke on - gulp - the 2017 Wild Card. Even if we somehow win, we will lose sight of what we once were - a team unlike all others.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

How about the boost from those proven Chisox veterans!

Todd Frazier didn't even bother to shave. Was Ms. Manners, Jennifer Dolan Steinbrenner, even watching from her pink brocade toilet seat? How does this happen, an unshaven man shows up and plays for the Yankees? Where is Jennifer? She should throw a Daddy dearest shit-fit. Me? I don't care. But Todd is now down to .205. Kahnle is wearing Chris Carter's old number 46, but it's Todd who has taken over the job of striking out twice a game. Could somebody please splain to me why we got this guy? So Head Casely can play first? Save us.

Meanwhile, over in Shelbyville...

While we're sitting here, pondering the meaning of a sell-off of prospects in pursuit of unclear objectives, over in Red Sox Nation, they're actually afraid of the Todd Frazier-David Robertson-Tommy Kahnle trade.

I suppose the grass is always greener over the septic tank, as the underrated Erma Bombeck once wrote...

Why Cashman makes these questionable deals

So much for rebuilding

I'm sorry. Apparently, I missed something. These things happen. You think you know a subject, but the technology continues to evolve, and one day, you find yourself stranded on the road, unable to even find the spare tire. I thought I knew baseball. Well, I'm wrong. There's been a huge sea change, a revolution in knowledge... and somehow, I missed it.

Somewhere out there, I don't know how this happened, I've been maintaining the outdated delusion that a first-baseman who is hitting .207 should be a candidate for the scrap yard - not the cherished target of a big Yankee trade. I'm still recovering from a four-month hallucination, in which the Yankees finally ditched a first-baseman named Chris Carter because he was hitting .215. Somewhere - again, I don't know how I lapse into these mental pulled hamstrings - I thought Mark Teixeira retired because he couldn't lift his average above .210. Obviously, I'm wrong. Two-oh-seven is the new Yankee Standard of Excellence (TM).

I say this because the Yankees last night traded three solid prospects for Todd Frazier, who is batting - yep - .207. Of course, he's not a consistent .207-hitter. Last year he hit .225, with an on-base percentage of - get excited, people - .302. Three oh two. Apparently, we've been missing Carter's two strikeouts per game, so we ran out and added Frazier, who has 71 on the year.

Okay, I know what you're thinking: Duque, you're just a dumb, Baseball America-blathering prospect-hugger. The Yankees needed to move young players they didn't plan to protect in next December's draft, and Frazier has 16 home runs, plus we got David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle - (whom we failed to protect in the 2013 Rule 5 draft.) And we ditched Tyler Clippard. Plus, we keep Boston from getting those guys. Hooray! Way to go, Cooperstown Cash and owner Hal Dolan!  

Yeah. Hooray. That's the real reason, isn't it? We're looking up and seeing Boston. So we're going to be even more of a home run/strikeout team than we've been... and that's going to beat Boston?

Listen: We're not going to beat Boston. They have something called a pitching rotation, while we have a regular shuttle running to and from Scranton. We have a five-person thingy that includes Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa and the cast of Glee. Has anybody noticed that right now, we're behind Tampa Bay - which simply waited for its prospects to mature - for the one-game wild card, and we're barely ahead of Minnesota - and yet we're trade deadline buyers? We're selling off our future - gulp - the one-game, away field, last opening wild card?

I feel sick. Somehow, I bought into the notion that the Yankees had a long-term strategy, and that we were committed to a great team in - say - in 2019. Maybe I am just a stupid Baseball America blathering prospect-hugger. But we just gave away one of our premier prospects - Blake Rutherford - for a .207 hitting first-baseman and two bullpen arms on a downward slope. Have we really improved? Monday night, Garrett Cooper delivered three hits. Will we ever see three hits in a game from Todd Frazier? Three strikeouts, sure. Three hits? That's out of the realm of .207.  

I feel sick. It's not the details of this deal. It's the concept. We're going with veterans. Forget 3B Miguel Andujar, who is tearing up Scranton. We're going to see Frazier and Head Chasely at the corners, numbers be damned. Tito Polo - another prospect we traded - could be next year's Ben Gamel, whom we'll meet this week in Seattle. Ian Clarkin - the pitcher we dealt - is still a fine prospect. Surely, the White Sox scouted our system for weeks. Let's hope Rutherford doesn't become the star the Yankees were projecting last year, when he was drafted. Then, the Gammonites were gushing all over themselves, calling Rutherford the steal of the draft. Now, they're gushing all over themselves, telling us how the Yankees have improved their lineup and bullpen for the big stretch Wild Card run. But I still remember the queasiness when we traded a single A kid named Fred McGriff to Toronto, and the writers announced that we had just solved our bullpen problems by obtaining - gulp - Dale Murray. 

Sorry, folks. I know you come here for that cheery feeling of hope and optimism... but I just don't think a team with a long term plan should ever trade a prospect like Blake Rutherford.  

We're back to hoarding short-term veterans on the downward trajectory. Here's a prediction: Frazier will hit a few home runs, so the Yankees will re-sign him next year to a long term deal. And then he will suck. We will be back in the Ellsbury-Headley continuum of playing contracts rather than players.

Sorry, folks. I must have missed something. Somehow, I got it into my head that the last five years were not incredibly successful, and that that the Yankees planned to change their ways. My bad. Hey, look! ALL RISE! It's Todd Frazier, former MLB Home Run Derby champion, coming to bat. And - wow - look at that batting average! Two-oh-seven! Wait. Where's Vernon Wells? Where's Pronk? Has anybody seen Dale Murray? 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Quick Question for the Research Dept.

The one " big name prospect" we never hear about has the last name of, Sheffield.

We know about Glyber, and Mateo, Frazier, Andjuhar, Wade, Kaprelian and Bird.  But wasn't Sheffield amongst those we acquired last summer?  Wasn't he one of the gemstones?

It won't surprise me to learn he has been injured all season.  In fact, that is likely the better rationale for his total absence from all radar screens. I mean if he simply sucks, that will be a disappointment.

Anyone have insights?  Anyone seen him play?  Is he rooming with Dante Bichette, or Cito Culver?  Possibly in a rock band?  Left the game for personal reasons?  Up the river?

Is this another scam from Brian Cashman?

Falling - no, make that "plummeting" - into the trade deadline

Sherman, set the Wayback to slightly less than one Yankee revolution around the sun... the time, Friday, July 29, 2016...

Here we are! The team is heading to Tampa - generally, our rag doll for fun and torture - for an exciting weekend. We are three games above .500, six behind Boston and clinging to relevance in the AL East. Our beloved owner Hal Steinbrenner is said to be pondering several trades to boost the team for our pennant drive. We might get a veteran bat or starting pitcher. The White Sox are dangling David Robertson... hm-mm.

On Friday night, our bats go to sleep, and we lose 5-1 to Jake Odorizzi. On Saturday, that great future Hall of Famer Drew Smyly beats us 6-3. Then, on Sunday, well, it is Blake Snell, a name that drives terror into the hearts of any lineup. We lose 6-3. We leave Tampa demoralized and drowning, having scored just seven runs over three nights - a .500 team. By Monday, Aug. 1, we are retiring A-Rod, saying goodbye to Tex, benching Brian McCann and trading Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran for players most Yankee fans have never heard of, beyond the obscure rankings of Baseball America. 

Had we won those three in Tampa, we would have gained two games on Boston, edging back into the race and maybe pushing Hal to become a deadline buyer. Who knows how the future course of Yankee history would have changed? That collapse in Tampa set into motion trades that sent to Chicago the man who would close the Cubs' first World Series in several lifetimes, and this year, it might be Cleveland who wins a ring behind Miller, the best reliever in baseball. For us, it means Clint Frazier and Glyber Torres, Justis Sheffield and a lot of crossed fingers...

Those three otherwise forgettable games... the most important series in the last Yankee revolution around the sun.

Listen: These horrible, rotten, miserable and dismal last six weeks have unleashed many demonic flashbacks to the events of last July. But if we're wishing for a repeat of the 2016 Yankee yard sale, sorry, folks, the cards just aren't there. We don't have what other teams want. We're stumbling, game after game, and every sign of hope seems equally balanced by one of despair.  

Last night, we get three hits by Garrett Cooper - along with word that Greg Bird will undergo ankle surgery and miss another full season. 

Last night, we get a nice outing by Bryan Mitchell - along with word that Michael Pineda is going under the knife, gone forever from the Yankees.

And last night, what should have been a grand debut for Caleb Smith - he pitched two scoreless innings, retired six in a row - ended in calamity, because we left him in too long. 

We are limping to the Aug. 1 trade deadline, with little of value to deal and nobody from our farm system to rescue us at first base, the bullpen and starting rotation. The biggest rumor lately is that we will trade prospects for David Robertson, almost a perfect reversal of course from a year ago, which would leave us floundering, no plan in sight.

We hoped the Yankees would emerge from the All-Star break with renewed vigor, ready to cast aside the tremors of June and early July. We fought Boston to a draw and escaped Fenway with our pride intact. Then came last night. Jeez. Another painful loss. This morning, it just doesn't look as anything has changed. We've fallen, and we cannot get up.

This year, Tampa will be visiting New York for the weekend series that closes July, and which sets up the August trade blitz. We play the Rays three games, and then - on July 31 - the lowly Tigers come to town. Most likely, we will be a few games above .500, a bunch behind Boston and clinging to relevance in the AL East. Damn. Has anything really changed?

Monday, July 17, 2017

A nothing burger

There's a terrifying scene in Blair Witch Project, where the campers encounter a familiar downed tree over a creek - same one they saw yesterday - to realize they've been wandering in circles, going nowhere, so they cry hysterically, hoping to win an Oscar nomination. Last night, that was me. A lost weekend of wandering - 16 hours, 43 innings, 20 pitchers, a million swings-and-misses... and here we are, back at the downed tree, three and a half behind Boston and Tampa on our heels. 

For every ray of hope, there came a pineapple pillow. Betances looks good; Chapman looks bad. Torreyes makes a great play; Torreyes boots one. Judge strikes out; Judge hits an incredibly clutch HR in any other ballpark, with any other CF. Headley gets a hit; Headley fans with the game on the line. And here we are, a million brain cells later, chewing on tree bark and howling at the moon, back where we started, at the All-Star break. 

If El Chapo did his job Friday night, we'd have taken a pivotal series in Boston, jabbed a shiv of truth into the Redsockian belly, and today, we'd be flying to Minnesota without need of a plane. If Judge's ball lands three feet to the right, Bradley cannot touch it. And so what, you wonder, we still lose 3-2. But but but... in the eighth on Saturday, if Judge doesn't take their weirdo closer, Craig Kimbrel, to a nine-pitch at bat, Kimbrel might not have labored so hard and, who knows, maybe not surrendered the game-tying homer to Holliday? It's pointless to think "What if?" There is only "What is..." and today, that is up for debate. I'm all for screaming into the wilderness, looking for an Oscar nomination.

From now, the fate of the 2017 season - and the next five years - falls upon the instincts and algorithms of Brian Cashman, and that's a movie we've all seen many times. Last night, as if tired of this current Yankee lineup, the YES machine flashed graphics of potential trade targets, such as Oakland's Sonny Gray and Yonder Alonzo. I was cringing at the prospect packages we'd give up. This isn't about punting on Rob Refsnyder. Hell, we punted on Brigadoon three years ago. (By the way, Ref homered last night for Scranton - perhaps the most meaningless tidbit of information on this site since Alphonso posted estimated beautistics of the Irritable Bowel Movement lady on TV.) This is about punting on Clint Frazier or Tyler Wade, or both, because some nameless "scout" in the Yankees' organizational meat loaf just wrote a scathing memo, identifying some flaw from their stool samples. I have no idea what's coming, but it's well worth breaking down hysterically and screaming into the wilderness. 

Yesterday at Scranton, 22-year-old 3B Miguel Andujar went 2-4 with a RBI. He's hitting .299 at Triple A. When the Yankees brought him up last month, he went 3-4 with four RBIs - and was sent back down the very next day. Okay, I get it - the kid needs to play and not sit the bench. Still... it will soon be time to ditch Headley once and for, and play the future. Why are we bothering to accept mediocrity?

Last night, Jacoby Ellsbury went 1-4, bringing his average to .262. Let's not get Shakespearean on the woes of Ellsbury - we've said everything a thousand times already. But as soon as Aaron Hicks returns, it's gotta be Ellsbury who goes - not Clint Frazier or any of the kids in Scranton or Trenton. I'm still insanely bitter about giving up Ben Gamel last fall, the 2016 International League player of the year, for table scraps - and then attribute it to the great job we've done building the farm system. Apparently, the unnamed "scouts" in the Yankee front office didn't see what Seattle did - surely because they were blinded by the glow of Ellsbury's Blair Witch contract. 

Last night, Garrett Jones - I MEAN GARRETT COOPER! - finally got his first major league base hit, a double to left. He needs 100 at bats (and he needs to field his position, because he looked shaky last night.) Could he and Choi platoon? I dunno. But how much more production will we realistically get from a high priced veteran? And what do we give up? Seems to me, if we traded for Jones - I MEAN COOPER! - we ought to give him a shot. Whether we will... that's another story.

I shudder to think of what's to come. But here we are, back at the downed tree. Excuse me, while my vocal coach and I practice primal screams. Chapmannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn...

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The widdle babies pwayed under pwotest

I forgot. The Redsock '17 Hall of Fame Superteam of Destiny (TM) played last night under protest.

Well, you know what I say?

"Tough titty" said the kitty with the milk so warm.

Boston gets the pineapple

For most of six hours yesterday/last night, I wanted no part of what the juju gods were doing. I could easily see their plan: They would give us the lead, so El Chapo could come in and blow it. I knew it. I was furious at myself for watching. It was so obvious. Oldest trick in the book. Still, I couldn't let go.

Time after time, we failed to move a runner. Torreyes couldn't bunt. Headley wouldn't bunt. Judge chased pitches. Frazier and Cooper looked ridiculously over-matched. We were going to lose. I knew it. You knew it. John and Suzyn knew it. Everybody sitting smugly in the Fenway stands, they were just waiting for the kill shot. The fates were toying with us, waiting for that perfect drop-kick to our groin. Friday night's hideous debacle wasn't enough. They would drag this one out for seven hours, then poke us with the dagger. 

Our pitchers kept putting lead-off runners on base. Chasen Shreve left with two on, no out. El Chapo walked his first man. Did anybody in the world think Chapman would NOT fail? Jonathan Holder. Ben Heller. It was only a matter of time. We would lose. Of course, we would lose. It was just so damn obvious...

Listen: I don't see the 2017 Yankees as a "team of destiny." One game cannot heal a month-long collapse. If we're lucky, this team may someday be viewed as a forerunner to a championship lineup - the year that Judge, Sanchez, Frazier and the rest arrived. But damn... today, I doff my cap to the Yankees - to Ellsbury, to Headley, to all those who so regularly draw our flaming ire. 

Last night, they didn't just beat Boston. They beat the Fates. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017


The Trade back-up catchers

The deal for Cooper is a bust.

If you watched the game, his inability to hit at this level is as clear as incompetent and embarrassing leadership in the Oval Office.

Greg Bird is a bad, recurring dream for any functioning schizophrenic.  A nice young man who, in reality, is a medical aberration.  Greg is done and gone.  Get used to it.

The worst part is that his curse regenerates.  New Yankees brought in to play the position are going to be plagued by the shadow of Greg Bird's physical failures.

The best looking player over there this season has been Austin Romine, and he has a proven ability to contribute with the bat in the major leagues.  So what we need is a back-up catcher of repute.  I am sure some Molina brother could be co-erced to put on the pin stripes, and walk away from his barbecue.  Hell, we might as well trade Torres or Kaprelian, because they are unlikely to be healthy again anyway.

Or, you can throw in Tyler Wade.  If we aren't going to play him, why have him?  Or Frazier....the Manager sits him down for one of the Jacoby/Gardner twins after he gets red hot, anyway.  If we are committed to play, " those individuals to whom we are paying the most money," we need not keep the young guys on the team.

And for the capper;  I warned this audience that El Chappo would never again be what he once
was ( are any of us?).  When he sat down for a month due to an unnamed malady, the signal went out that " something has changed."  We saw that last night.  A closer who cannot close.  An aluminum siding salesman who cannot cut it, and should not have access to quality leads.  This guy stabbed his teammates in the back.  Who wants to labor and fight, when he is looming?

The Yankee ship is captained by a pinstriped version of the unbalanced, " Queeg."  And that is showing.

That is not a confidence builder when the holds are flooding.

Mayday... Mayday... Come in, Star Fleet... If you're hearing this message, our planet has been destroyed...

This morning after Yankeegeddon, Night of the Living Pineapple Suppository, let us count the nightmares...

1. The 2017 team won't win nuttin,' honey. That steaming bag of shit under the Christmas tree doesn't mean a pony's waiting out back. Hope Week came and went. Anybody who still sees this as a team of destiny - well - stay on the Fentanyl. Between now and Oct. 1, we'll get hot and win a few, but we're middling among the mediocre. From here on, our battle is with Tampa, for second, with the Mets, for NYC tab covers, and with Buck Showalter, for - I dunno - just for old times' sake.

2. We have the exploding Cuban cigar known as Aroldis Chapman for five long, excruciating years. Five fucking years. By the time he's gone, I'll be in a home, conversing with Suzyn Waldman and playing with my stool. Five years. Amazing, eh? We were on the verge of finally escaping A-Rod's Burmese python of a contract, and we were halfway through the Jacoby Ellsbury-as-appeasement-for-losing-Robby Cano debacle, and now - holy crap - we have El Chapo for five more seasons. 

Everybody, take out a pencil and paper. Now write down how many blown saves will Aroldis give us in the next five years? I predict 25, a low ball number, because at a certain point, he will not be allowed to pitch after the sixth inning. If I'm right, we'll be paying about $2 million per blown save, though I must remind myself here: Hal's money supply is closer to infinity than zero.

Today, we have the most blown saves in baseball. El Chapo's ERA - always below 2.00 in the past - is around 3.15. He's legitimately awful. Did he throw one off-speed pitch last night? (Clearly, he's terrified of his slider; it must be a floating cupcake.) Between Chapman, Betances and Clippard, we have a Japanese monster movie of a bullpen, akin to the infamous QuanGoMo - Paul Quantril, Flash Gordon and Mariano - which collapsed in 2004, the last year of the Yankee millennium. No lead is safe. Five more years. The names already haunt me. Tired Clippard. Dellin Bet-against-us. I-can't-hold-this Chapman.   

We can't trade El Chapo. We already did that. Will he become the highest paid mop-up man in history? A LOOGY? Will he permanently destroy Hal's willingness to sign free agents, starting with Otari, next year's Japanese hitting/pitching sensation? Five years... 2022. Will there even be polar glaciers? 

3. Greg Bird is probably gone for the season. Something about ankle surgery - sorry, folks - I just couldn't read it. This will be his second straight year of sitting around in hot tubs, healing. Obviously, we must proceed with the assumption that he will never, ever, play for the Yankees in any meaningful role. That way, whatever we do get will be a pleasant surprise. 

4. For now, that would be Garrett Jones - I mean Garrett Cooper, the mystery man from Colorado Springs. Last night, he was D.B. Cooper, jumping from the airplane. Three strikeouts in four at bats. Listen: I'm no scout, and I try not to judge players' skill sets. But those long, loping swings - wow. You'd have to go back to the days of Zealous Wheeler and Antoan Richardson to find someone who looked so blatantly future-less. Did Chris Carter have an evil twin? Today, Coop gets Chris Sale. Wonder how that will turn out. By Monday, he could be 0-12 and in Scranton. We actually might have lost the Tyler Webb deal. Wow. Does anybody have some leftover Oxicontin? Bulk order, preferably.

5. What do we have to trade on July 31? Nuttin', honey. Nobody will take Ellsbury, even if he's wrapped in Bitcoins. Chase Headley might bring a Satan-cursed doll. Matt Holliday is hardly Carlos Beltran, who last year netted a collapsed former prospect that Texas had punted on. Trade CC? Why bother? The truth is, we have no one to dangle before the thirsty contenders, no one who would bring a Glyber or Clint. We can trade crapola, and we can receive crapola. Either way, it sits under the tree, and there is no pony.

6. Jeez, I'm sorry: I cannot BELIEVE how negative I feel about the Yankees today. I hate this team. I hate myself. I hate everybody, everywhere. Go away. Christmas? Bah! Last night killed me. Over the last month, we have endured some of the most horrible losses in modern Yankee history. One after another. This is not a mere losing streak, or a stutter-step. This is the dark void. What we saw last night was a team that cannot move runners, that boots critical grounders, that cannot hold leads. There is no God!

7. Or leadership. Nothing will change at the top. For reasons that belong between him and his therapist, Hal Steinbrenner simply cherishes, loves, adores Brian Cashman. Mark my words, someday, Cash will get a plaque in Monument Park (and we will view it the way Black Lives Matter activists see statues of Jefferson Davis.) Same for Joe Girardi. Neither is going anywhere. We have been looking toward 2019, the year when we would rise, but maybe we're wrong. Maybe the Clock of Hope should be pushed back to 2022, when El Chapo is calling play-by-play for Cuba Today and dating Jennifer Lopez. Or maybe we won't live long enough. That light at the end of the tunnel, it's steaming.

Friday, July 14, 2017

"[T]he history of great rookie seasons... shows how strong the pull of regression can be: The average player... ended up producing only two-thirds as many WAR in the second half of his rookie campaign as he did in the first. For every Trout, who started strong (despite a delayed call-up) and then decimated the league down the stretch, there were more cases like Devon White, Joc Pederson and even Sabo, all of whom struggled to recapture the magic of their first-half performances."

Is Aaron Judge the next Babe... or Jeremy Lin?

FiveThirtyEight - the geniuses who missed the last election - crunch the numbers.

Pineda needs Tommy John surgery

Kiss him goodbye. 



For the last time: Jesus Montero: 7 for 49 - .143 - at Triple A.

Redsocks calve a chunk of ice roughly the size of Delaware. It's name is Pablo Sandoval.

They'll eat $65 million on the bad contract.

(But they still have Rusney Castillo.) 

Tonight... Gary Cooper on first?

Garrett Cooper... or Gary Cooper?

(Hap tit to ranger_lp.)

Before everything hits the fan, Yankees will try a roll of the dice at first base

"Who's on first?"

"Gee, man, I dunno."

"Wait... I thought I Dunno is hurt."


"I dunno."

"Gee, man, I dunno."

"That's right!"

Thanks to Brian Cashman's quick-as-a-tick phone reflexes, the Yanks tonight will face the Redsock '17 Hall of Fame Super Team of Destiny (TM) with a lefty-righty platoon of 26-year-old Triple A used-tire rims: Gi-Man Choi and the newly acquired Garrett Cooper, who came in a flea market deal yesterday for LH reliever Tyler Webb. 

This duo will hope to heal the open sore at first base, where 24-year-old Greg Bird is currently calving new ice shelves in Antarctica, applying cold to his injured lower paw. This assumes that Cooper will be added to the 25-man roster today; as of this morning, he's still a Scrantonian, which makes no sense. Good grief, after trading for a band-aid, the first thing you do is put it on. Let's hope the Coopster - a dead pull hitter - enjoys a Green Monster, new-to-the-league bounce, beginning tonight. Stranger things have happened. Remember Jason Maas? 

So who the hell is Garrett Cooper? As usual, I've spared no expense to bring you these IT IS HIGH Tidbits of Knowlege (IIH-TOK).

1. The guy will look good coming off the bus. He's 6'6" and 230. Between Coop and Choi, who also never misses a chow wagon, we should batter Boston's clubhouse buffet, even if we don't hit their pitchers.

2. The guy was killing Triple A.  Coop was leading the Pacific Coast League in hitting (.366), second in RBIs (82) and 14th in homers (17). Keep in mind, it's a bandbox league. Remember Will Middlebrooks? He has 18 HRs. Remember Ivan De Jesus Jr? (Hint: He's now 30.) He's second in hitting. Cooper played for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox - (Google: rarefied air effect on baseball flight) - have a team batting average of .289 - and it's the fourth highest in the league. Yeesh. They must need bottled oxygen. The league's best team ERA is in that West Coast town of Nashville, with 3.36. Seven team ERAs are over 5.00. Last year's PCL leading hitter was 26-year-old Alex Dickerson of the Padres. The year before, it was 30-year-old Danny Dorn. You get the picture? Danny Dorn.

(Note: Last year, Gi-Man hit .346 in the PCL. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be to follow minor league hitters in that league? They're all batting .400, and then they come up and hit .170? At least Scranton is a notorious pitchers' park, so if a Clint Frazier is hitting .260 in Moosic, you can almost expect a boost from moving to NYC.) 

3. The guy was hot. Cooper just recently was named PCL Player of the Week, hitting .500 with 2 HRs and 11 RBIs between July 3-9. Yep, the Second Coming of Danny Dorn.

4. The guy was blocked. Why would Milwaukee the league leading reigning Player of the Week for Webb, a Rule 5 reject who was hanging in the Yankee pen - which is a Disaster Zone? For starters, they have 27-year-old Jesus Aguilar playing 1B, and he's hitting .294 with 9 HRs. Also, like most teams in baseball, they can always use another lefty. We now only have the roller coaster ride known as Chasen Shreve and - of course - El Chapo. 

5. The guy was a Christmas baby. 'Nuff said.

Whenever I hear of a nothing-for-nothing deal, I trigger the memory of another Tyler that Cashman dealt - the current pariah, Tyler Clippard, who went for the winter phenom known as Jonathan "Jessica" Albaladejo. That's my P.T.S.D. predilection for remembering bad trades. The truth is, Cashman wins a few and loses a few, and who cares? This would be a neat parlor trick if Cooper hits a few off the Monster this weekend against mighty Boston - who will use three lefties - Pomeranz, Sale and Price - in four games. Together, they would likely make mincemeat of the Gi-Man. Cooper is a roll of the dice. I'll take it.

We're running on fumes. If we lose - say - three out of four, the Yankees will fall 5.5 games behind Boston and probably kiss goodbye the 2017 AL East race. We could be looking up at Tampa and playing for the one-game wild card. The ice sheets are calving. It's time to use the kitchen sink. That includes Garrett Cooper, or G-Man, or the Bird, or No Maas, or whoever's on first.