Sunday, March 26, 2017

Curly drinks his Kool-Aid

The Redsock-owned Globe's Dan Shaugnessy asks an essential employee's question... 


While Betts, Bogaerts, and Sale have established résumés, Benintendi remains infinite. He has a chance to burst on the scene already a legend...

An "infinite" resume. That's pretty darn good! If his homer total reaches infinity, he'll beat Barry Bonds! 

Sunday morning links... to the past and future

It's almost time to honor that bloated, tiresome tradition of predicting the season ahead. In the spirit of the hive mind - and political prediction markets, which have a better track record than national polls - I hereby implore each of you to start pondering the number of wins we should expect of the 2017 Yankees.

If we win more than 88, we probably make the playoffs - or the playoff.

If less than 78, we probably launch a selloff - or selloffs.


If we hit 81 - absolute .500 - we will reach the summit of water-treading, beached whale mediocrity - good enough to float, too lame to swim anywhere.

Late this week, I'll put up a post and ask each of you to lay out a number. So think about the season ahead, and let's see if our ornery community - via group average - can pick the exact number of Yankee wins in 2017.

On that note, let's ponder Alphonso's predictions for 2016. Read it, if you dare. (Oh hell, here's a taste:)

Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, and CC Sabbaths will not be reliable, dominating starters.  Severino will set a record for losses... Eovaldi will give us close to 5 excellent innings every start, and leave, in the 6th with no outs,  4 runs down and runners on 1st and 3rd.

Ok, here are mine from last year. In the comments, a few of yours. Truth be told, we were more accurate last March than we sought to be.

Today, it's quiet across the Yankiverse - almost too quiet. There's the annual plea for the Yankees to assume "Evil Empire" status again - you know, become the Belichick team of baseball. I would say the Redsocks are closer to reaching that distinction, as the team everybody hates.  

In fact, Mike Vaccaro of Jerry Hall's NY Post anoints the Yankees as "lovable underdogs." (Another trope.) He reminds us that writers used to say, "Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for U.S. Steel." Hey, isn't U.S. Steel a modern underdog?

Overall, Gammonites today seem to be rallying behind Tyler Wade as the short-term replacement for Didi. Who can disagree? Tell me a more hopeful sign for the Yankees than a rookie shortstop. 

On that note, though... Last night, I watched the last half-inning of the Yankees' walk-off victory over Toronto - a line drive by Scranton's Pete Kozma to score the winning run. The team exploded from the dugout and took turns rubbing Kozma's hair. The guy beamed. It was a meaningless victory, and the players were probably just celebrating the game's quick ending. Still, watching Kozma - nearly 29 - being hugged - (Mason Williams and Donovan Solano led the way) - reminded me that there is more to baseball than slash lines and WARs. In that moment, it seemed clear that Kozma is genuinely liked in the clubhouse. It's quite possible - maybe likely - that the guy never again tastes the majors. But he'll still have started for a World Series champion, and not many players can say that. And if Kozma turns out to be the April replacement for Didi - well - it won't give us erections, but he won't cost us the 2017 wild card, either. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Governor's Cups and March Meaningless: Saturday sausage links

Yesterday's walk-off wonders cut the Yanks' 2017 Exhibition American League March Meaningless Magic Number down to three (3)! We are four (4) games up on Oakland and Seattle with five (5) to play (play!) Any combo of three (3) Yank wins and losses by the As and Mariners will clinch the AL Exhibition Pennant and guarantee the Yankees (20-7) a berth in the 2017 AL regular season! 

As for the full-tilt 2017 Major League Exhibition Season Crown, that's still too close to call. With five (5) to play, our heroes hold a 1-and-a-half game lead over plucky St. Louis (17-7) - with the Meaningless Magic Number at seven (7). The Pirates (17-8) are only two (2) games out. It could go down to April 1, the Fools Day deadline.  

Yesterday, Railrider pride exploded across Tamptown, as several ex- and future Scrantonians received rings to commemorate the 2016 Scranton/Wilkes Barre Railriders, winners of the 2016 International League Governor's Cup. Last time Scranton won the cup was 2008, one season before the Yankees took the World Series. (Brett Gardner, Ramiro Pena and Joba Chamberlain were on that Scranton team.) Sad historical footnote: while on display, the cup - actually a replica - was smashed by an overly jubilant Railrider fan, who may have been similarly smashed. Do Governor's Cups matter? You could argue that the three cups won by our former affiliate Columbus - in 1991, 1992 and 1996 - foreshadowed Joe Torre's late 1990s run. Congrats to all!  

Speaking of Scranton, one of the few Yankee disappointments in camp this spring, Luis Cessa, has received a return trip to the Electric City. Cessa came to Tampa as a fave for the fifth rotation spot, but his 6.52 ERA says it all. Also cut was the camp's most pleasant surprise, OF Billy McKinney. 

Not sure who's leading for the coveted James P. Dawson Watch Award, given annually to the best Yankee rookie in camp. My guess: Aaron Judge, Jordan Montgomery, Ben Heller or - if he becomes Temporary Didi (TM) - Tyler Wade. Last year's winner was, gulp, Johnny Barbato. Previous Watchmen include Norm Siebern, Tom Tresh, Don Mattingly, Hideki Matsui and Slade Heathcott. (Otto Velez, too!) 

The Diamondbacks have played catch-and-release with 27-year-old RH bullpen lugnut Tyler Jones, returning him to the Yankees - and Scranton. They picked Jones last December in the Rule 5 draft, one of the more antiquated procedures in baseball. (We're still waiting to see if 20-year-old Luis Torrens - taken by San Diego last December - will basically sit out the entire season, a fourth catcher on a 25-man roster, so the Pads can pad their farm system.) Sad. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Things that should make us say, "Hmm-mm."

1. The MLB spring RBI leader is Boston's Pablo Sandoval. He has 16 RBIs, and he's hitting .362. He has supposedly shed 30 pounds and looks solid in the field.

2.  The MLB HR leader - with 7 - is Kansas City left fielder - and former Yankee farmhand - Peter O'Brien. We traded him for Martin Prado, whom we later dealt (along with David Phelps) for Nathan Eovaldi, Domingo German and Garrett Jones. O'Brien is 26.

3. The Padres went through a round of cuts yesterday but are still holding onto Rule 5 catching prospect Luis Torrens. If the 20-year-old stays the entire season with San Diego, he will be catcher No. 4 on their 25-man roster.

4. Masahiro Tanaka is the only pitcher in baseball who has thrown more than 15 innings this spring without giving up a run. Over 18.2 innings, he has given up six hits and struck out 22.

5. Future Hall of Famer Andrew Benitendi is hitting .292 with 2 HRs for Boston.

6. The Orioles Mark Trumbo - who hit 47 HRs last year, but ended up returning to the O's - is batting .162 this spring. He has yet to hit a home run.

7. Among those who have more than 20 ABs, the Yankee batting leaders this spring are Gleyber Torres (.448), Greg Bird (.432), Billy McKinney (.417), Tyler Wade (.342) and Gary Sanchez (.341). 

Carter goes 1 for 4, raises Spring average to .122




10 reasons the Yankees can take the 2017 American League Wild Card

Thus far, holy crap! It's been a great spring! Losing Didi for six weeks hurts, but it's nothing like losing Greg Bird for a year. In today's beat-down game, almost everybody misses two to three weeks. Maybe this will keep Didi fresher into September. And no matter who plays SS, it's just 24 games, and even Pete Kozma - the fans' last choice - could surprise us with a few key hits. (The guy is a pro, after all.)

So here we are, a week from Day One, having enjoyed a Yankee spring unlike any in recent times. With the exception of Mateo (.136), every one of our vaunted prospects has raked well beyond expectations (Billy McKinney: .417!), and in the case of Gleyber Torres, the hype is almost worrisome. He's gone from "future starter" to "future star," expectations that can only leave us disappointed. (Thus, I'm downgrading his career HR projection from 810 to a modest 650.) So let's close our eyes, sniff the medicinal roach, and think upbeat. 

Obviously, no one can beat beat the Redsock '17 Hall of Fame Superteam of Destiny (TM). Any team with Babe Benintendi goes straight to immortality. The nations of the world understand this, thus we must play for runner-up. That said, here are 10 reasons to be optimistic about a Wild Card. (Why ten, you ask? Because I have 10 fingers, and basically, we are chimps.) 

1. Greg Bird and Gary Sanchez in the middle of the lineup, squished around Matt Holliday. Two righties and a lefty, and all three could hit 25 HRs. (Last year, Beltran led us with a measly 22.) This year, John's Yankee Indian Point Power Report could actually be worth hearing.

2. Masahiro Tanaka looks like Cy Young. Last year, he ascended to the upper tier of MLB starters, and this year - his opt-out season - he looks even better. Yeah, his meat-joint can go at any time. But name me someone for which that cannot be said. We have an ace! 

3. Aroldis and Dellin in the pen. Last year, we learned that three shut-down closers is like a plane with five wings. It was more like an art piece than a winning tool. In a tight game, we can bring out two of the most intimidating pitchers in baseball. That's not tuna salad.

4. Even if he's not the starter we wanted, Luis Severino looks like a potential lights-out closer. In a worst-case scenario (beyond injury, of course), he settles in as yet a bullpen cog. Add Tyler Clippard, Adam Warren and maybe a surprise from Scranton, and we have the AL's best bullpen. It's not just happy talk. 

5. The Aarons remain viable. On February 15, every Yank fan in captivity knew there was a chance that Aaron Judge would be over-matched, out-gunned and moving back to Moosic. That hasn't happened. Likewise, nobody held out the slightest hope for Aaron Hicks. We won't commission his CF plaque, but Hicks clearly realizes that it's now or never for his career. Fingers still crossed. Both look decent. 

6. Jacoby Ellsbury could bounce back. Around here, you get bloodied by saying anything nice about Pariah Ellsbury. But he's taken every bullet, and he's hitting over .300. Clearly, he sees the wave of young outfielders - several play CF - as more than a mere existential threat. Often, such premonitions inspire players to have good years.

7. The wave is coming. By 2019, we could have the best lineup in baseball. (Or we could suck - "could be" is the shit phrase of fan blogs.) But if a few vets fail, they can be Wally Pipped... (or Tony Womacked, if you're new.) We have prospects at every position (don't forget Tyler Austin at 1B.) If Chase Headley has the April-May that he had last year, he won't be around for June.

8. Somebody could step up in the rotation. Okay, we're starting to count little fingers. Right now, Jordan Montgomery looks like a savior. Let's not anoint him yet - last year, it was Bryan Mitchell until the end, and I remember a fellow named Christian Parker in the 1990s: won a spot in Tampa and then saw Dr. Andrews. Still, we have a well spring of young arms - a bad March doesn't eliminate Luis Cessa - and where there is youth, there is hope.

9. CC and Pineda. Okay, we're down to nubs. Who the fuck knows? CC could throw 200 innings. Pineda... gah. Pour me another glass of Kool-Aid! Make it a double.

10. We have trade chips for a late season run. Hate to think of us turning back to the tired, losing, dead-end strategy of trading prospects for salary dumps, but our farm system next winter could be brimming with Rule 5 draft losses. We can't keep them all. Next July, one or two kids could be converted to a usable piece. 

Don't get me wrong. This week, Sports Illustrated predicts the Yankees to come in third, with a win total in the mid-80s. I think that's about right. But 85 wins chases a wild card, and 88 can take it. Three wins. It's a long season. Where there is life, there is hope. Right? And hey, it's spring. WE'RE IN LOVE!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

With seven games remaining, Yankees Exhibition Magic Number is 5


Any combination of 5 wins or 5 losses by Minnesota, Oakland and Seattle - and WE ARE GOING TO THE REGULAR SEASON!

Today's battle for shortstop

The major contenders all played. Nobody made an error. Here's how they did - batting 7th, 8th, and 9th. (Tyler Wade stole a base.)


In shocker, Yanks hand 1B to guy batting .421, rather than the one hitting .108

Yesterday's headline hit me like an obit about a celebrity you thought was already dead. You know... Kirk Douglas... Doris Day... Dick Van Dyke... The Yankees anointed Greg Bird as their 2017 starting first baseman. WTF? This is news? There was a competition? This was, gulp, in doubt?

I mean, for 14 months, the Yankiverse has awaited Bird. We watched him in the Arizona Fall League. He's the only actual 1B on the roster. He hit two years ago. He's hit all spring. He's batting .421 with four homers. And yet... it's news that he's beaten out Chris Carter, the granite-gloved 30-year-old strikeout leviathan?

No, let me rephrase: It's fake news. It's fake because we all know in our hearts that Bird has only beaten out Carter for now. Don't think for a moment 
that if Bird goes 0-10 in a weekend series, we won't see Carter - a DH at whatever position he "plays" - platooning against the next lefty. Hell, it could happen before spring training ends. Mustang is dead on right: Today's Yankee front office would still be playing Wally Pip. 

And it's not just first base. We spent the winter assuming Aaron Judge would get at least 200 MLB at bats, so we could see at last what he's got. Throughout his career, Judge has always started slowly and adjusted. Well, after three weeks in Tampa, the ghosts of Billy Connors seem to declaring a dead heat between Judge and Aaron Hicks, despite the latter's Hall of Fame resume of disappointments. 

Listen: I don't wish bad fortune on Hicks or Carter. Both have roles to play, and if either steps up to have a great season, it's gravy. But the Yankees cannot market themselves as the team of youth, "the Baby Bombers," and then dollop out last year's potato salad, claiming it's fresh. In Carter's case, we have a known defensive liability who, if given the at bats, would threaten all-time single season strikeout records. In the case of Hicks, we see an eternal prospect - now 27, two years older than Nick Rumbelow, fer godsake - who hit .217 last season. Two-fucking seventeen. Yeah, Hicks was working on a decent month when he strained a Willie and disappeared. That's it. For that, he wins a do-over? Two seventeen, folks. With on On Base Percentage of .281.

Well, at least we know that Kirk Douglas, Doris Day and Dick Van Dyke are still alive. May each live another twenty years, happily and in heath! And for now, when Lou Costello asks who's on first, Bud Abbott says, Bird! Next to Gary Sanchez! And with a little fairy dust and elbow grease juju, we could have two of baseball's rising sluggers anchoring our lineup. And here's the news: Unless the Yankees rediscover Wally Pip, we might actually get a chance to see something.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Oh God, I Just Thought of Something


If current Yankee management had been running the team back then, Wally Pipp would have kept his job.

The Yankee Brass Will Disappoint

Of course it should be Wade.

But there is no chance.

Wade has earned the shot, but he has never played in the major leagues.  He isn't even, really, a guy on their " high prospect" radar.  And they don't want to be embarrassed by revealing a superstar they didn't even know was a potential superstar.

All along, he has been a body to throw into a trade.  You know, for some old guy. And when he becomes Jay Buhner for someone else, they will try to cover it up by making other monumentally bad trades.

Even worse, Wade might just be better than the highly touted guys.  So Cashman and Girardi, like some members of our government, will keep it secret and lie about it.

Above all ( including the prospect of winning ), they don't wish to be " shown up" as idiots and assholes, who do not belong in their jobs.

So Torreyes and Tejada will battle it out to play mediocre defense and hit .228.  Then, DIDI will come back, flash for a while, re-injure the shoulder, have surgery, and wave adios.

Get used to it.

Forget the American Dream.  It is dead.

The Yankees are, at best , a third place team in the AL East.  And that reflects the new optimism.

FYI: Jackie Bradley Jr. hasn't been hitting for a while now

First half of 2016: .296
Second half of 2016: .233
Average last August: .198

Average last September: .237
Average in 2016 post-season: .100

Average this spring: .179


The Morning After Didi... a bipolar exposition on the fundamental Yankee human condition

Well, the first days are the hardest days. Don't you worry anymore. Because when life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door. Think this through with me...

Ah, Jerry... where are you? Yesterday, upon hearing the Yankees will lose our best player, Didi Gregorius, for six weeks, my thoughts turned to Jerry - who died 22 years ago within days of Mickey Mantle, of all people. In a perfect world, I would grab some sour diesel, roll 40 fatties - one per day - and check in with you all on May 1 - Mayday - to see where the team stands. But the Yankees are my self-medication, and for the last 18 hours, why lie? I've ping-ponged between hope and despair. 

My immediate thought: It's not so bad. We only play 24 games in April. (I looked it up.) A few get rained out. (Only three in a dome, Tampa.) It's a long season. Everybody gets hurt. We're lucky this didn't happen in July...

Then the equal, opposite reaction, as required by the law of thermodynamics: This is the worst thing that ever happened. It's just the kind of injury that wrecks a guy's season. Didi was on the verge of stardom. It'll take him into June to catch up with pitchers. What if it's the start of shoulder issues? In April, we play 15 games within our division. Fifteen. Every loss will haunt us all season. If it happened in July, Gleyber Torres might be ready. Now, we're sunk...

I bounced back to hope: Ha! Another reason not to trade for Jose Quintana. (I think it's Reason #304; the pile is taller than Mt. Marcy.) Whenever someone goes on about why we should trade prospects for Quintana, they sound like a toaster oven trying to pass the Touring Test. So much for that. This is a transition year. We must think of 2018 and 2019. No trading prospects!

Then... despair: Fuck me. Right now, Cashman surely is working the phones, offering Gleyber, Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield for a Brendan Ryan. We already have two Ryans - Brendan Tejada and Brendan Kozma - but they're not enough. He'll trade for another. Six weeks is just long enough for Cashman to wheel and deal. Hell, maybe we'll sign Brendan Ryan off the Tigers scrap heap. After all, he hit .077 last year for the Angels.

Then... a giddy twinge: Wait... WTF! Tyler Wade! He's 22, bats lefty (platoon with Torreyes). He played 133 games last year at Trenton. He hit .259 with an On Base Percentage of .352. That's a shitload of walks (And he stole 27 bases!) This spring, he's 13-for-33 in Tampa - has yet to make an error. (Torreyes and Tejada have each made three, and Gleyber Torres - bless him - made four.) They've been grooming Wade for a utility slot. Push the button, Cash! Throw us a bone! Let's "Wade" into 2017. 

Then... I saw Girardi's lineup last night: Torreyes at SS. (Went 0-3) That's Joe's immediate reaction - his current plan. Shit. Listen: I like Torreyes as a utility piece. He's pesky, he's quick, and he's not Brendan Ryan. But I don't see him playing everyday for a month without being undressed... and certainly not at SS. Jeez. I dunno.

But I'm not leaving in transcendental despair. We'll get through this. Forty days. And it's a long-term tumbler clicking into place. Next year, Didi should play 2B, with easier throws. (Yeah, he got hurt at 2B, but overall...) If Castro is a part of our future  - (big "if," considering his refusal to walk: his OBP last year was only .300) - it's at 3B. Our SS must be Gleyber Torres. This injury sucks, but it's a reason not to turn Gleyber into a 2B - and maybe to bring Gleyber up in July and never look back. In the meantime, 2017 is a transition year. So let's transition, goddammot! Tyler Wade, baby, TYLER FUKKING WADE!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Six weeks

Didi should be back in May.

In the meantime... Tyler Webb?

Update From The Doctor

The carefully parsed medical reports on Didi Gregorious are starting to leak out.

The earliest release from the Yankees ( remember...they are not going to ever reveal the truth, until they have no other choice ) is that Didi is out for April.

Now he moves from the Tampa Hospital assessment team to the New York Hospital of Special Surgery.

Nothing ominous there, right?

Stay tuned.

You read it here first.

Could Boston be facing the Curse of Dombrowski?

Pitchers keep getting hurt. It's almost as if...

Juju Gods, if you happen to be listening, you could really make a name for yourselves by installing a new Redsock curse. And despite what they say, we all know the truth: They would secretly love it.

It's time for each of us to take a stand

"The issue can bring conversations to a screeching halt, or turn them into shouting matches."

Screw dat. 

PLUTO IS A PLANET. YOU HEAR ME? 

LOCK AND LOAD, MUTHFUKKERS.

PLUTO = PLANET.

WHO'S WITH ME?

Kicked in the jewels, waiting for the pain... the Cito Culver moment hath arrived?

Sometime today, the news will emerge from its hole and look around. If it sees its shadow, the Yankiverse can expect six months more of winter. 

Most likely, it will appear unto us in a tweet, rippling across the Yankiverse. Often, breaking news appears on our comments section. That's probably what will happen. Somebody will see it, and their shrieks will rouse the rest of us. 

Obviously, I'm referring to the medical diagnosis of Didi Gregorius' shoulder, which has been described as "bruised" and "strained" and "a hematoma of the subscapularis muscle." A hematoma is a solid swelling of clotted blood between tissues. This is not Didi tweaking a gonad. It's the shoulder, the most important part of any ballplayer, after his heart. Last spring, Greg Bird announced that he'd hurt his shoulder. He's still recovering.

Today, we stand at the crossroads of four alternative fates. The bleacher beast in us wants Gleyber Torres to magically save the day. But I dunno. In the movies, Cuba Gooding Jr. joins the team, teaches the town to love, and we win the state championship. In real life, Torres is in danger of becoming over-hyped.Three weeks in March - and the notoriously unrealistic hitters' parks of the Arizona Fall League - is not enough to stick a 20-year-old Single A player into the iconic footsteps of Jeter. A reminder: Last season, at Tampa, he hit .254. There are serious reasons why Torres is not ready, and this is one of those times when we must assume Yankee coaches know what they're doing. Of course, we root for him. But you can screw up a kid's head by pushing too hard. The sixties writer John Barth ("Lost in the Funhouse") once said, "If you think you're something you're not, it will keep you from becoming what you could be." Torres could be great. We gotta protect him from our fantasy erections. So... the scenarios.

1. Didi is out for days. WTF? Why are we even discussing this? Let's get back to dissing Pineda.

2. Didi is out for weeks. No problemo. We go with Ronald Torreyes or Ruben Tejada. I'd suggest Tyler Wade in a pinch, or the 29-year-old Scrantonian Pete Kozma (who's hit .320 this spring, 98 points over his lifetime average.) Weeks? Bah. Bring in Cito Culver! We can handle weeks.

3. Didi is out for months. Problemo. As Ralph Cramden would say, "Hummina-hummina-hummina..." We can move Starlin Castro to SS and splice somebody in at 2B, but who? The Yankees long ago gave up on Rob Refsnyder's footwork, and the only players listed as 2B this spring are Castro, Thairo Estrada and Abi Avelino, two embryos. If it's months, Cashman might have to trade for a veteran, betraying every hopeful aspect of this franchise's youth movement. Frankly, I would rather see Cito Culver or another scrap heaper. Where's Donovan Solano. The dude hit .319 last year at Scranton. We won the Governor's Cup with this guy!

4. Didi is out for the year. I can't even think about this. If this is it, we just lost our best player. In my fantasy world, I figured this was Didi's year - 25 HRs and .290, maybe even .300. He would start in the sixth hole and by June, he'd be batting third. This was the dawning of the age of Gregorius. Now... if this is it... well... is Alvaro Espinosa still playing? Jeez. I dunno. Just be gentle in the comments section. I have a stent, you know.

Monday, March 20, 2017

As of today, our lineup's batting averages


lf Gardner .209
cf Ellsbury .313
c Sanchez .361
1b Bird .421

dh Holliday .306

2b Castro .313
3b Headley .257
rf Judge .386

ss Torres* .282
Tejada*
 .259

*If Didi is out.

As of today, our staff's ERAs

STARTERS*
Tanaka 0.00
Mitchell 3.77

Pineda 3.86
Severino 5.06
Sabathia 9.45

BULLPEN

Warren 3.09
Heller 0.93
Niese 2.27
Graham 1.17
Clippard 0.00
Betances 0.00
Chapman 0.00

BUBBLE
Green 1.50
Cessa 7.04
Montgomery 3.48
Gallegos 3.00

*Don't ask me, I just blog here. This is what they're saying.


Ask Doctor Alphonso

The Ju-Ju Gods, which I recently learned, began in Africa, have spoken.

Didi Gregorious, who was having his best spring ever, now limps home to NYC Hospitals for further testing on, " a barking right shoulder."

I have not seen any tape of how the injury occurred, so my diagnosis is limited.

I can tell you, however, that a shoulder injury is insidious.  There is no such thing as a " tweak" in the shoulder. A "tweak," by the way, is a meaningless, generic term for something not considered serious and which, with rest, will cure itself 100% in a relatively short time.  With shoulders, there are tears, dislocations, breaks, strains and hematomas.

All bode badly for Didi.

My guess;  the Yankees will never tell us the truth.  That is point one.

The geniuses running this franchise have already penciled in two guys who are, basically, career minor leaguers with no upside.  Torreyes, who has a decent glove and hits the occasional single. Or Rueben Tejada, a cast-off who underperformed for the Mets, I think.  This reflects the typically optimistic, and disingenuous, Yankee storyline that Didi is not seriously hurt, and all the Yankees need do is, " hold the fort," for a bit.  They think that lying to their fans and to the league will help the team win.

As fans, we want to see an exciting rookie.  We want a reason to watch the team.  Inserting Torreyes or Tejada for Didi does not cut it.  The team has been downgraded, by the loss of DIDI.  And using a couple of career nobodies is a blessing for Boston.  We gain nothing.

Now to the question everyone has been asking me:

Dr. Alphonso;  how long will Didi be out?  How seriously is he hurt?  What will his recovery time period be?

Answer:  Didi will be out a long time and his season, this season, is essentially ruined for him.

That idiotic marketing extravaganza, that world baseball thing, hurts major league teams like the Yankees big time.  Who gives a rats ass if kids in Denmark start lobbying for little league teams, instead of soccer pitches?  Building baseball love in the Yemen should be someone else's job, not the real teams of the world.

The Yankees took a bullet with Tex and they are taking a bullet now, with Didi.

Mark my words.

DIDI DOWN?

Gregorius flies home for tests on a barking right shoulder.

Two days ago, we mentioned this... and warned the juju gods about being smart-asses.

Still too close to call

The Golden Snowball goes down to the wire.

Forecast for tonight: CHANCE OF SNOW, beginning around 9 p.m.


Did a foot injury to JD Martinez just clear the way for a Gardner deal?

That's what Christian Kouroupakis opines today on elitesportsny.com, and while I consider bloggers to be moronic blowhards - (Example: Me) - this post taps a wellspring of Kool-Aid we've sought to bathe in for weeks. It's spring fever! It's crunch time! And since January, we've been waiting for some semi-contender like Detroit to lose an OF, boosting our leverage in a Brett Gardner-for-hostages exchange.

According to Kouroupakis - (whom I suspect has no problem spelling Higasioka) - the Tigers are clutching their pearls over JD Martinez' "sprained mid-foot," which happened this weekend while making a catch. It's not broke, not stubbed, not mangled in a lawn mower - it's not even the whole foot, it's the mid-foot, so we're probably talking - oh, hell, I dunno, you tell me - weeks? But these sprained mid-thingys are tricky, and Detroit has been sorta looking for a lead-off hitter and - hell, I can talk US into the trade, the question is, would Detroit bite? 

It sucks that we discuss swapping Gardy as if we're trying to find a home for our old college dorm refrigerator. But why kid ourselves? One of the reasons for his crapola spring - (hitting .205, five points above the disillusioned Rob Refsnyder) - could be Gardner's underlying certainty that, at any time, Cashman might ship his ass to some baseball-city-equivalent to Zambezi. He's watched Clint Frazier (.343), Gleyber Torres (.444), Dustin Fowler (.250, 2 SB) and Billy McKinney (.389) grab the Gammonites' attention, and he has to wonder if there'll be a place for him in the lineup come July. Bloggers tap their toes and blather about trades, but unless some team frees us from four more years of Jacoby Ellsbury, we have only Gardy to trade. 

Thus, every time an OF for a wild card-hopeful tweaks a gonad, we'll go through this mating dance with Gardner's psyche. It's a bad deal, but it's the reality of late March.

Hey, it's been a great spring! Eleven days to ignition. Hold on, everybody. Now come the trades.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Twilight of the Gods...-30-

Jimmy Breslin is gone.

Sunday links... With no particular place to go

The Monsters of March lost only their sixth game of 2017 yesterday when a scrap-heaper we signed Thursday - Ernesto "Guy" Frieri - surrendered a run in the ninth. At 31, Frieri continues the Cashmanic tradition of grabbing players who were stars four years ago. In 2013, he saved 37 for the Angels. Cash saw him in the WBC, and we took a flier on him. No harm in that. (If you teach a GM to fish...)  Over the years, junk-pile picking has been one of Cashman's greatest gifts - Aaron Small, Tanyon Sturtz, et al. (Chris Carter, 0-3 with another K yesterday, notwithstanding.) And get this: Frieri tells Jerry Hall's Post that the Yankees are the team of his dreams, and he will accept a minor league assignment. Bravo. 

The same article touts 22-year-old OF Billy McKinney - who hit his third homer yesterday - as a potential breakout prospect - (a phrase that covers every minor leaguer in our solar system.) Obtained as an "afterthought" in last summer's Aroldis Chapman deal, McKinney has hit all spring, and he might wind up in Scranton instead of Trenton. I hope Cashman is drinking in the positive vibes that come with trading FOR prospects, rather than dealing them for retreads. How much more exciting are they to watch than the lineup of Ellsbury, Headley, Castro, etc. Keep telling yourselves: Better times are coming.

A-Lo and J-Rod "quietly" visited Tampa camp yesterday. Yeesh. Story reads like an episode of Drunk History. As JA-RodLo was leaving, a high school hockey team approached them, seeking an up-close glimpse of immortality. A-Rod was gracious. (Insert joke about the $21 million he's being paid.) Good for him/them/it. I hope it's true love. But for now, it looks like just another case of insecure celebrities doubling their fame imprint by pairing-up in public. They weren't getting enough attention. I'm not sure I'd want to get too close.

A chewable thumb-sucker on "expectations" for Masahiro Tanaka. Nut of it: He could have a great year! Then again, maybe not. Is his elbow half-full or half-empty? That's the deal with "expectation" stories. I have little expectations.

Still getting over the death of Chuck Berry. Was hoping I heard it wrong, and it was actually Buckcherry. As our traditional IIHIIFIIc tribute, we rewrite a few songs a la' the Yankees - you know, Run, Run Randolph, Johnny B. Damon, and My Chien-a-Ming. But this just seemed wrong. I felt like... well... a certain current Yankee.

Riding around in his automobile.
Refsnyder is at the wheel.
Last night delivered a walk-off drive.
Won't seem him again 'till August 5.
He hits, but never can find the way...

With no particular place to play.

We've lost a true American original, a true American hero, the greatest rocker in history (and yes, I am aware of the guy from Jersey.)