Tuesday, February 17, 2015
No ace, the A-Rod circus, an uncertain lineup, and a month of monument ceremonies: Welcome to the Yankees' 2015
Posted by el duque at 7:52 AM
I will watch my favorite player of my enduring mid-life years - Bernie Williams - be inducted into the Yankees' mini-Cooperstown. (He belongs in Cooperstown, period, but that's another story.) There will also be a Sunday of love for Andy Pettitte, when he goes in. And then one for Jorge Posada. And then for Willie Randolph - the great Willie Randolph. And then, of course, we all will gear up to retire Number 2. And by then, a few Kanye voices in our heads will whisper, 'Where's Graig and Catfish?" And maybe Mel Stottlemyre, or even David Wells. But they can wait for 2016.
We may be seeing the beginnings of a new Yankee tradition: That every year, an old warhorse or three gets immortalized in Steinbrenner Park. That means at least four Sunday sell-outs, with ratings boosts on YES, and if the games are against - say - Minnesota, the profit differential is profound. Sorry to be cynical. Bernie is my fave. I guess I just didn't expect so many Yankees to be lumped in with him.
What are the Yankees selling us? As everybody gathers to celebrate the past, how bad is it going to be in July and August if the Yankees are in third, stuck around .500?
Right now, the 2015 team does not look worthy of being compared to the Yankee past. Lately, Brian Cashman has been grabbing pitchers with the exasperation of Lucille Ball working on a chocolates assembly line. Last week, we signed journeyman Kyle Davies, and yesterday, it was somebody named Jared Burton. I don't know whether to praise Cashman for his diligence or grimace over the notion that we're still scrambling for somebody - anybody - who might be able to throw a baseball. No credible analysis projects the Yankees to win the AL East with our current rotation. And that's hardly our only problem.
Soon, we launch another epic pageant: the Great A-Rod Distraction. Nobody expects the Lupica/Madden et al caliphate to accept a cease fire. They want A-Rod boiled in oil. They have spent two years screaming about him - with the blessings of Bud Selig and maybe Hal Steinbrenner - so they won't accept his apology and walk away. (Of course, A-Rod brought this on himself. Once you invite the Babadook into your house, it's hard to get rid of him.) Whatever A-Rod does will be spun negatively and furiously, no stone left unthrown. The NYC press has torn apart better teams than this. Prepare to be astounded.
And then there is our farm system, still ranked in the lower third of MLB teams. The cheerleaders tell us the Yankees are only ranked so low because their great talents are so young - down in low Single A and the rookie leagues. Once they rise up, so will our system, they say. Trouble is, they've said the same thing for five years. Until a prospect breaks out, we have no prospects who have broken out. (Yes, Dellin Betances was great last year, but he was 26! That's not exactly the age of a prospect.) We could be sitting in the same place next year, waiting on a new crop of names nobody has ever heard of - and probably never will.
Soon, the Yankee hype machine will start ginning up hope. And we will have at least four - maybe five - tear-filled sellouts on hot summer Sundays.
But if Yoan Moncada is playing for the Dodgers on those days, I'll shut it off after the pre-game show. The actual games will be too tough to watch.