Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hitting in the clutch: Frankie Cervelli has his first 2-HR game, and it might mean his ticket out of Yankee Hell

I like Francisco Cervelli. Always have. Twice, he's been rushed to hospitals in ambulances, still wearing his NY jersey. He's a homegrown Yank, a fighter - albeit a snake-bitten one - who somehow managed to stay positive during some of the most depressing scenarios any player could imagine. (How about an entire season on a bus, traveling the New York State Thruway?) And now, he's about to go. But not without rendering one last gift unto his underserving corporate owners.

Yesterday, he hit two HRs against the Tigers. First time he'd ever done it. They came as Brian Cashman was mixing and matching, wheedling and braying, trying to include Cervelli in a trade package for an infielder - preferably under 35 - who can bring balance to an out-of-whack Yankee roster. The White Sox want Cervelli; they currently have Barney Fife battling with Mr. Bean for their starting catcher slot. The Mariners, Brewers and Diamondbacks would also like to possess Cervelli. (The Mariners have Jesus Montero, mwah-hahaha.) That puts Cashman in a rare trading position: He has what other teams want.

But here's the rub: Those teams also know the Yankees have too many catchers at the upper end of their system. If they keep Cervelli, they send Austin Romine back to Scranton, which clobbers the playing time for JR Murphy, who then would ruin that advancement of Gary Sanchez. The best scenario is to trade Cervelli for some 25-year-old infielder, some former hot prospect who might blossom on a new team. (The way many of us expect Joba and Hughes to do, away from NY.) But who is this mystery infielder? Does he really exist? And can the Yankees outwait their opponents, who want to take Cervelli off our hands for nothing?

Every day counts. So what does Cervelli do? What he always has done for the Yankees: Hit surprisingly well in the clutch. Two HRs should whet the whistle of the White Sox, the loathsome abomination of an organization, which once unboweled itself on us with the likes of Steve Trout and Ron Kittle. Frankly, the White Sox have no one we want. They never did. But Cashman must work that old black magic of his and find a third team... yes, a mystery third team.

And just in case nobody noticed, another ingredient in that mythical trade also came through for us yesterday. Zolio Almonte hit a home run. He is exactly what we need: a switch-hitting outfielder with speed and power. Unfortunately, he's dead to us. Instead, we have the international tap-dancing sensation, Ichiro.

Can Cashman get a decent deal? Ronald Reagan found that it's tough finding bargains, when you're trading hostages. But at least the hostages are doing their best.

1 comment:

KD said...

No, no, no. we can't let Frankie go. He is the pet goat to our new thoroughbred.