Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Posted by el duque at 7:31 AM
Lately, bloggers have anguished over what few cards management can play. Most are changing the seats on a sinking barge. Some proposals:
1. Tweak the batting order. River Ave says Jeter should bat first, separating him from our "big hitters" - Ellsbury, Gardner, Teixera, Beltran, McCann and Solarte. Big hitters? Together, they have 35 home runs. The Blue Jays' big five has 65, and they don't play in a bandbox. The problem is that Jeter cannot be dropped in the order, because the Brain Trust has decided his farewell tour outweighs the pennant. Thus, why bother?
My solution: Let Girardi pull the order out of a hat, as Billy Martin once did. That way, the fates would drop Jeter, not management.
2. Bench the culprits. There are growing chants to waive Soriano and Brian Roberts, who have failed this team now for 62 games. Sori began wearing out his welcome last fall, when he killed a last-ditch rally - and, in essence, our season - by trying to steal third base with two outs against the Redsocks. Can you imagine that? A veteran... attempting to steal third with two outs? As for Roberts, he still has no defining, bonding moment as a Yankee. Does anyone think he ever will?
Another player whose fuse is surprisingly short - considering he's ours for five years - is Brian McCann. He's played fine defense and seems like a leader, but he has been utterly discombobulated by the over-shifts, reduced to a .220-hitting mediocrity. Five years? God help us. Will he ever be combobulated again?
3. Bring up somebody. Two candidates have emerged, and both play 2B. Jose Pirela is 24, crushing it at Scranton, but the Brain Trust ruled two seasons ago that he is a utility player. This has to be demoralizing, especially if you don't happen to always believe the Brain Trust. Surely, the Yankee scouts know more than we do. But wouldn't it be great if statistical metrics also proved their success? After all, they were the ones who went out and got Sori, Roberts and McCann.
The other kid is Robert Refsnyder, who plays 2B at Trenton. He's been on an inhuman tear for a month. No one player this year has more emerged as our long-range hope. But the guy is still learning 2B, and jumping Triple A might not be the best idea. Thus, we are terrified that his role will be part of No. 4.
4. Trade for another salary dump. Soon, David Price will be on the market. The Rays would demand a package of our best prospects, which they surely know well, since the Yankees critical farm club plays in Tampa. The quickest way to climb into Wild Card contention is to trade our future to Tampa. Next winter, we'll sign free agents - just slog on, indefinitely.
November began with the stated goal of reaching a $187 million payroll. That would allow the Yankees to escape the crushing luxury taxes that fuel small market rivals. That goal vanished, along with Robbie Cano, leading to a string of panicked signing. Now, we see the worst of all worlds - a mediocre team, no high draft picks, and a payroll still out of control.
The Steinbrenners have somehow managed to build an exact replica of the 1980s monstrosity that their father orchestrated: A collection of favored stars on a bloated, second-division team, and nobody happy with the outcome.
And now, they are facing a Death Valley August, the first yawner since the early 1990s, before Jeter arrived. This team could be out of the Wild Card race by July 31. YES viewership will plummet, the writers will swarm, and those blooms of empty seats behind home plate will explode. This could be our August of discontent. Soon, the cries for change won't be limited to our infield.