Friday, August 22, 2014

Joel Sherman says it (He said it last August too): "Maybe these Yanks would be better off getting clobbered by the lowly White Sox this weekend, having their fate fully defined and taking advantage of pitching needs with the Angels and Dodgers to see if they could trade McCarthy and/or Hiroki Kuroda/"

It's what we all know: If the Yankees last August had accepted their dismal, starkly apparent, also-ran fate, imagine the implications for 2014.

1. No trade for Alfonso Soriano, who through July sat in our bellies like a State Fair deep-fried pat of butter.

2. We could have traded Robby Cano for a front-line prospect, or maybe three. If we scored a young 2B, we would have been spared the Brian Roberts Experiment.

3. Maybe we could have traded Curtis Granderson, CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and/or Joba Chamberlain - for a pile of prospects.

4. Tried Adam Warren as a starter. Given J.R. Murphy and Zolio Almonte 150 at bats.

5. Maybe avoided signing Carlos Beltran for three years and Brian McCann for five.

Yes, hindsight is 20-20. Anybody can look back, postulate moves that could have been made, and criticize. But when you study the Yankees' quest to chase the one-game wild card windmill, and to trade youth for veterans, two arguable views of Hal Steinbrenner emerge.

1. He is a Quixotic hero for refusing to concede a season - as some owners do - even in the face of overwhelming odds. He just patches the lineup and exhorts his army to "step it up" (as he did this week.)

2. He is a coward, who hasn't the guts to face the abrupt rage of sportswriters, call-in-show experts and paying fans, who would spend the next month criticizing management.

Trouble is, I don't think Number 2 really applies.

It's interesting how Redsock fans have accepted - even embraced - their 2014 collapse. Come next spring, they anticipate an overhauled roster, new young players and another World Series chase. Right now, as bad as their team is, they have more hope than most Yankee fans.

The Yankiverse is about as troubled as it's been since 1990. I don't know one Yankee fan who thinks this team could win the 2014 World Series. Most doubt we're a contender for the Wild Card. And here's the real rub: Most expect us to be down and out next year, too.

Next year, the Yankees won't have Derek Jeter to showcase in the lineup. In fact, they'll have no player with star power whatsoever - unless they drain the system for somebody, a thought that causes fans to cringe. The quick fix would be to sign John Lester and Max Scherzer - who have already logged a lot of innings in their careers - to Sabathia-length contracts. Are you cringing, too?

Joel Sherman is right. Perhaps the best that could happen would be for the White Sox to sweep us at home. But even then, would Hal get the message?

Damn. It's like standing on the deck of the Titanic and watching the ship bore full-speed ahead.


KD said...

A third view of Hal is that he is a coldblooded, bottom-line focused, spreadsheet wielding MBA who has determined that House Steinbrenner's net wealth is maximized by following the current plan. He can't bear the few years of sucking it would take to build another dynasty.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

I agree with KD 100000000000%!!!!!