Sunday, July 23, 2017

Take that, Seattle

First Yank series victory since early June.
And Aroldis Chapman almost blew another one.
Poor Joggie.

He loves only gold...

Only gold...

Why Does Cashman Have A Job?

Seriously, Yankee fans and Yankee haters, are we really all snowed by the Miller & Chapman trades of last summer?

We are already in the process of giving back all of the advantage we supposedly gained.  Different names, perhaps,but drawn from the identical minor league talent pool.

Blake Rutherford was, without the same fanfare, perhaps our best young position player.  Ian Clarkin a number one pick.  And that third guy with the short name and stature, a potential all star once he is given the freedom to play and have a full fur face.

But I am still lamenting the Ben Gamel trade.  As Duque has embellished, this kid had it all and was major league ready.  But we had a senior, veteran, dragged out, overpaid contract for a former good player (Ellsbury) who must play, or Cashman will look like an idiot for giving him $135 million and a lifetime to earn it.  Gamel should be in our outfield and Ellsbury should be back in Boston with his grandchildren.


1.  I think we all know now that the Yankees were on the wrong side of the Jesus Montero trade, even though Jesus is a minor league ice cream sandwich vendor.

2.  Who even knows that the Yankees received anything for the Ben Gamel trade?  Duque mentioned a couple of 19 year olds but, seriously, these are not people. They are what Duque uses as, " space fillers,"  when there is nothing to say.

Just to be clear:  we gave up a young, major league ready, talent with speed, power, defense, a great arm and who hits for average, has a high on base percentage, and steals base,s for two kids waiting in their parents car for their pick-up order at Arby's.  Two kids who have not even starred in a local stick ball league.  This is Jay Buhner 2.

Jay Buhner 3 will be when Hicks thinks he is ready, and the " good Frazier" is sent to Scranton, for demoralization.  He will sink into despair, fail at his game, and get traded to Seattle for the right to pay for nothing, again.

Cashman is a plague who doesn't ever catch the damn disease.  Someone please do something.

One more serious giveaway of talent, in a frothy, drooling, foam at the mouth move toward the one game play-in, and I am out as a Yankee fan.  The young talent we have, well managed and developed, can lead to exciting baseball, always wir5h watching.  But if this talent is mis-managed, abused, and given away to get some phony reason to claim a successful season by making the play-in, and I am gone as a fan.  My life is too short to remain optimistic watching Ellsbury and Headley, and all of that ilk.

On a long night in Seattle, the chickens come home to roost

Well, it finally happened. Last night, Seattle's emerging star outfielder, Ben Gamel, poked a sharp, flaming stick in the eye of Brian "Shoe-in-for-Cooperstown" Cashman, while the Yankiverse got to ponder four more years of Jacoby Ellsbury. Gamel homered and scored the winning run in another CIA torture tactic defeat - this one being especially gruesome, because it took extra innings for the full pineapple to be successfully inserted. 

Last August 31, Cash traded Gamel - the International League Player of the Year - to the Mariners for Juan De Paula and Jio Orozco. Yep, THE Juan De Paula and Jio Orozco. Juan is currently 2-3 with a 5.25 ERA for Staten Island in the NYP League. Jio is 3-4 with a 4.95 ERA at Charleston. The most hopeful thing you can say about either is that they are still 19. Basically, we gave Gamel away for two dirt league dice rolls, because Gamel had no place in that All Star Yankee outfield, where - as stated above - we get to ponder four more years of you-know-who (and I'm not referring to Trump.) 

Last night, Girardi all but confirmed that Ellsbury is the fourth Yankee outfielder, not exactly the most alarming statement ever uttered, considering that Jacoby is not hitting for average or power, and has a Venus de Milo arm. Nor does this factor in the return of Aaron Hicks, sometime this decade, which should make Ellsbury the fifth outfielder - except nobody truly believes this. Everybody expects the Yankees to send Clint Frazier back to Scranton (if they don't trade him for Sonny Gray or Yu Darvish on their absurd wild card goose chase) because he'll need to "play every day." In the same way we are chained to Head Caseley at first base and Todd ".204" Frazier - (who air-mailed one last night from third) - we have Ellsbury in center, appearing like a pop-up web ad that cannot be minimized or x-ed out. 

But wait... we haven't discussed next year's Ben Gamel. Currently at Scranton, poor Jake Cave is tearing up the International League and surely awaiting his own Independence Day, around August 31. Cave, 24, is hitting .361 with 9 home runs. If he keeps it up, the Yankees could sport back-to-back IL Players of the Year, with both being traded for rookie league chum. 

But wait, there's more! Also raking in Scranton is Billy McKinney, 22. In 69 ABs, he's hitting .319 with 4 home runs. A former highly touted first-rounder, McKinney came over in the trade for Arodis Chapman last July, and he seems to have found himself. Oh well, a few years in Scranton ought to straighten him out. Or maybe we can convert him into 19-year-olds. You can never have enough 19-year-olds. In fact, the only trouble with 19-year-olds is that they eventually become 23, and then you have to trade them for more 19-year-olds.

Or, the Yankees can do to Cave and McKinney what they did to Rob Refsnyder and Mason Williams - which is to bury them in Scranton so deeply and demoralizingly - (I know some of you don't share my faith in Refsnyder, but I say he should have gotten a chance at 2B, his only real opportunity) - until they play out their minor league careers. And the funniest part? This is not necessarily the sign of an organization overflowing its banks with talent - it's just a front office that values veteran contracts over youth. And of course, the Yankee-owned media praises every move as pure genius. And when Cashman someday gets inducted into Cooperstown, as the sportswriters suggest, maybe he'll wear a Seattle cap?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

This is it, the baseball week that I most hate and fear

Be afraid. Be, like, very afraid. Crap the bed. Barf onto the windshield. Hide in the closet, make no sounds, and for Glyber Torres' sake, don't open the door, if somebody knocks. It's not Jeter. It's not Mo. It's the Yankadook - Lance Berkman, Alfonso Soriano, Billy Butler, it's - gulp - RUN, YOU BASTARD, RUN! - IT'S SONNY GRAY. It's the death knell to the once vaunted Yankee rebuilding strategy - (2016 to 2017, R.I.P.) - which lasted nearly one calendar year, before the Steinbrenners, - baseball's version of the House of Dolan - demanded a return to their annual 20 percent profit mediocrity. 

This is Yankee Hell Week, when terror fills the airwaves. You can feel it: The Yankees won last night, adding a 100 mg Viagra booster cap to their wild, Wild Card fantasies. With each victory, they will move closer to trading a trove of young prospects, players scouted by opposing teams for months. They will deal this package for the latest in a line of Brian Cashman's sexual fantasy dream stallions - another version of Jeff Weaver, Javier Vazquez, Nathan Eovaldi, et al - the "power arm" that, in Cashman's erection-crazy eyes, is always on the verge of Cy Young status - until he's not. Think of it this way: We just said goodbye to Michael Pineda for the final time. Now, we're about to trade for a new one.

The Yankees must always have a Pineda. It's in the rules.

Okay, I know what you're thinking: Why don't I trust the "baseball minds" on Cashman's staff. They certainly know more than I do, sitting here in my darkened closet, cringing beneath the dirty laundry, refusing to answer the phone. I have no grand insights into the future of Sonny Gray, beyond the price we will pay to get him. But when I think of the "baseball minds" running the Yankees, I must also ponder the goals of this organization: All you need do is watch a game from YES's center field camera and see the empty seats behind home plate, and you know this is not a well run franchise.

But I digress: Last year, the "baseball minds" had to make a decision on a kid named Ben Gamel, the 2016 International League Player of the Year. They didn't waste time. They traded Gamel to Seattle for a $15 bag of French Roast - because, of course, they were committed to Jacoby Ellsbury. Our "baseball minds" saw two players - Gamel and Ellsbury - and decided to go with the latter. Who signed off on that decision? I won't say the name, but I guarantee this: It's the same guy who will orchestrate a deal for Sonny Pineda. 

This March, as spring training wound down, the Yankees publicly floated the possibility that Aaron Judge would have to return to Scranton. That way, he would "play every day," rather than ride the bench. (We're hearing that now about Clint Frazier.) Judge was in a tough competition with Aaron Hicks, who also was having a great spring. When I look back on this, I wonder what the "baseball minds" were thinking: Apparently, they did not see a first-half MVP in right field. They saw a guy who would benefit from a bus trip back to the place where he hit well last year. They saw a guy who be so depressed and demoralized like so many other young guys before him - Frankie Cervelli, Mason Williams, Rob Refsnyder, et al - that it might have taken him two months to dig out of his season-opening slump. That's the Yankee way: Send the prospect packing, and always err on the side of the Todd Frazier or the Head Casely, and if the kid burns out in his second tour of Scranton, they can say, "See? We told you he couldn't hit. Our baseball minds were on it."

The Yankees spent the last 12 months touting their new commitment to youth. But that was just p.r. Now, we're entering Hell Week, the days before the trading deadline, and you can scan the rosters of Scranton and Trenton, and imagine the worst-case scenarios that will bring us another Nathan Eovaldi - that is, a pitcher who might be entering his prime, or who might be nearing his career pitch count, because he's already logged a lifetime of innings for another team.  

I realize the Yankees do not have enough positions on the field for the number of prospects they now have. But if we solve that "problem" by making Oakland an AL powerhouse for the next 10 years - while we dick around with another guy with New York issues, or a weariness in his elbow that has been too slight for him to mention - well - I can't take it. And for the next few days, I'm almost rooting for the Yankees to lose. Can you believe that? We might be better off if the Yankees simply blow a few. Is that horror or what? Now, excuse me, I've got to borrow deeper into the underwear.

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.