Thursday, January 17, 2013
Posted by el duque at 6:34 AM
In the face of overwhelming despair - as the fireball in the sky expands - to simply close your eyes and clutch a statue, or a book, or a center fielder who hit .310 last season in Charleston - it's just a matter of faith. You either have it, or you don't.
Since that night when Miguel Cabrera put down our tired franchise like a cancer-ridden collie, every piece of Yankee news has been tinged with a mounting, faith-crushing dread. We can close our eyes, but the heat of that fireball is not going away.
We spent millions to maintain our icons - Andy, Mariano, Ichiro - more as legacy gifts than planks for the future. Nobody can or should question the moral decision to keep them as Yankees. But does anyone really have faith that they will last the season?
We spent millions on Kevin Youkilis, arguably the most hated Redsock since Pedro. We expect him to play third base, despite his own advanced age and health issues, which include a regular series of hobbling tweaks. If Youkilis doesn't hit, or if he goes out with a hammy, nobody will claim the fans are shouting "Yook."
We watched three critical cogs walk out the door - Russell Martin, Rafael Soriano and Nick Swisher - and we never even phoned the free agents out there who could have replaced them in stature or statistics.
I can't remember a Yankee winter so barren of hope. All we have is faith.
Well, none of the Gammonites has yet invoked the "R-Y" phrase: Rebuilding Year. It would be hard to use it with a straight face when you consider a lineup that on any given night could average 35 years of age. And what if those "jewels" of our farm system - the kids at Single A - turn out to be over-hyped?
Impossible, you say. Hey, keep up the faith. But I dunno. Baseball America recently rated the Yankee farm system at 11th - basically, middle of the pack. There are many ways to spin this. You can say it testifies to the high ceiling talent in the low levels - because we have zilch at the top. I dunno. Go for it.
Last year January, we envisioned a wave of youth: Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances were on the cusp of Yankeehood. Turned out, the entire youth movement was David Phelps. Everything else tanked. Now, we're supposed to put faith in kids two levels below Scranton?
Listen: At Single A, everybody's a great prospect.
I dunno. Faith is faith, and pizza is pizza, unless it's got pepperoni. It's almost time for Cashman to weigh in with his signature January move. I'm not sure if I want it, because his track record for trades is spotty. Right now, the light in the sky is just starting to burn us. Clutch the statue to your breast. It's going to get hot. But I don't think we want to let go.