Friday, January 3, 2014
Now that Robbie's gone, brace yourself for the other homegrown Yankee hitter, Brett Gardner, to follow
Posted by el duque at 6:18 AM
These days, reports from Japan say Ichiro Suzuki is also looking forward to donning pinstripes in 2014. That .297 on-base-percentage really gets your hopes up, eh?
Why is bile directed at these aging stars clogging up a post about Brett Gardner? Because they're clogging up the 2014 Yankee roster, and unless we sign Masahiro Tanaka - (a likelihood that seems to shrink further each day) - the Retrieval Empire will be forced to trade Gardy, its best homegrown position player since Robbie Cano, for a fourth or fifth starter. We learned yesterday there is a guy with two penises. That's nothing. The Yankee outfield has six, maybe seven! We have more DHs than the French have pastry chefs, and Gardner is the only position player that anybody else wants.
According to the Internet, six teams - SIX! - have inquired about taking Gardner off our hands. Brian Cashman has held the line, advancing the sixties' LSD flashback-level delusion that Michael Pineda and Vidal Nuno will fill the back end of the Yankee rotation. He will maintain this incredibly unique view until around March 10, when he's back to dragging his metal detector over the MLB scrap heap, looking for reincarnations of Wally Whitehurst and Aaron Small. Then he will become Monty Hall and start looking to make a deal.
We have six outfielders, not counting our top 2014 "prospect," Zolio Almonte, who just concluded a great season in winter ball. Zolio might be better than the sum of Wells and Ichiro, but who cares? He's destined for Scranton next season. The contracts will dictate that the veterans stay. No way to run a franchise? Doesn't matter. It's the Yankee way, and if we've seen one thing most disturbing about this off-season, it's that the Yankees are not changing their ways.
When you field the oldest, most over-the-hill team in baseball since Bingo Long's Traveling All-Stars, there is a certain bungee-jump edginess to the idea of signing a 37-year-old OF/DH to a three-year deal. You're saying, "Last year, we almost suffered a complete meltdown due to age and injuries, so in 2014, let's get even older and more brittle!" But hey, they're the Yankees, so they signed Carlos Beltran. And right now - when other teams call about Gardner - they have ample reasons to dial the number: They know they are phoning baseball's most lopsided roster, a team that has painted itself into a contractual dead end with its toughest out and grittiest home-grown player - the only one that anybody else wants.
Teams are calling about Brett Gardner. One problem, though. They're not calling as suitors. They're calling as predators.