Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Yankeetorial: How many backup catchers equal a starter?

Yesterday, we avoided arbitration with Eli Whiteside -- NYC's new Eli -- who we fished off the scrap heap. We signed the guy to a $625,000 contract, a lot of squid for somebody who hits .125 lifetime.  Oh, and he's 33!

That gives us the following catchers:

Austin Romine (the eternal prospect)
Frankie Cervelli (the eternal overlooked)
Chris Stewart (the eternal backup)
Eli Whiteside (the eternal Eli Whiteside.)
Not sure, but we might also have Gus Molina, eternally wondering the New York State Thruway in search of Batavia, the eternal destination.

Meanwhile, we're romancing  Russell Martin, who apparently wants a three-year deal. And that third year might seem an eternity.

OK, I know what you're thinking: Seely, WTF? This is supposed to be a Yankee humor site. Who gives a shit about the fifth catcher in the organization? Have you lost your effing head?

Listen: We mess up catcher, and there's not going to be a lotta laughs next year. So... a couple things:

1) I'm not complaining about signing Eli. Cashman's greatest strength is dumpster diving; it's the bum trades that kill us. As long as he's scoping the trash heap, Cashman can't wreck another season with a disaster deal.

2) Supposedly, our future catcher is named Gary Sanchez, who is two years away - although he could be the next Jesus Montero, whatever that is.

3) Everybody likes Russell Martin, as a profoundly courteous human being, a citizen-player and a fine defensive catcher. But come on: .220 is .220.  Since when do you give a three-year deal to a clump who hits .220?

So what's with these backups? How many do you need? Is the new adage, winning is all about backup catching, backup catching and and more backup catching. And not one hitter in the scrum.  When the batting order hits a slump - and we sure know what that looks like, eh? - wouldn't it be nice to have a hitting catcher off the bench? We're about to cut payroll next year: WTF with all these catchers?

Only conclusion? I dunno. Three come to mind:

1. Cashman is prepping for a deal. Somebody out there likes Romine or Cervelli. By adding Whiteside, they are the new expendables. So Cash is about to bring us another Michael Pineda.

2.  Cash is squeezing Martin in the negotiations. He's saying, "Heck, Russell, we've got Eli Whiteside in the house!" If Martin holds on the three-year demand, maybe we let him go. Put the catcher position up for auditions. (But I doubt this second part, because Girardi - the former catcher - places a premium on the position.)  Maybe Eli is a winter fix and a future fixture at Scranton.

3. It means nothing. Nada. Zip. I just wasted three hours writing this post, and you just wasted two minutes reading it.  It stands as a microcosm of the 2012 season. THIS IS PROBABLY THE TRUTH.

Dammed if I know. But I say this: If we sign Martin - people get ready, for a trade's a comin.'.


John M said...

Martin wants the third year for a simple reason: he's really a shortstop. You saw the story the other day; ol' Russ has volunteered to play SS for the WBC team.

That makes Jeter expendable, which is just as well, since nobody knows how the ankle thing is going to go. But if his mobility is shot? Easy peasy, no brainer, muchacho: Jeter moves to catcher. He's got the hands and the smarts.

Oh, sure, maybe he catches a few dings here and there, but the guy's getting near the end, anyway. Whereas Russ has time to burn, and burn up the infield at short.

See? No problem. And we have five backup catchers behind Jeet for when he breaks fingers, wrists and toes or gets a concussion blocking the plate when Prince comes barreling in on a squeeze play.

That Cashman. The man's a genius. A genius, I tell ya.

Anonymous said...

They could have made the 625K part of their offer to Martin instead of spending it on Whiteside.

Tex Message said...

Apparently they just DFA'd Eli Whiteside. Looks like Manning's reign is safe for now. Does this mean Whiteside is headed to Scranton??