Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Posted by el duque at 6:44 AM
1. Pineda/Tanaka = Koufax/Drysdale. Or, at least, Whitey Ford/Ralph Terry. Hey, they're both 26, prime of life. Their erections can cut glass. Shake their hands, and your elbows stink of testosterone. Twenty six: Same age as Emma Stone, Paula Gretzki, and that red-haired Rupert Grint creep from Harry Potter. Plus, they're leviathans. They look scary coming off the bus. Of course, either can tweak a willy while tying his shoe, and never pitch again. But in our Viagra hallucination, they become dominant starters, Cy Young dandies, and lead this team. (Sadly, nothing short of uncut ether lets me see CC joining them, but he could help.) Maybe Larry Rothschild can save the Great Experiment, Nathan Evaldi. If not, Larry could be Kevin Long-gone by 2016. But Pinedanaka could win us 45 games.
2. Fountain of Youth. We lead the majors in Comeback of the Year candidates. Hell, we lead the world. Our lineup is the baseball equivalent of Saved By the Bell. Who could be 2015's Sports Illustrated cover story? Well, there's Tex, there's Beltran, there's Ellsbury, there's Headley, there's Drew, McCann, Young, Capuano - everyone but Dellin. They need to come back. What are the odds? Frankly, Jim Boeheim has a better chance of being invited to deliver a Ted Talk. But that's how this happens. Like the dead in that French TV series, they all come back.
3. The "A" guy. Nope, not Adam Warren. Alex. He doesn't need to play 3B. He doesn't need to bat third. He doesn't need to run for President. He just needs to hit .270 with, say, 25 HRs. He needs to be the good A-Rod, who is decent and cheery enough to keep the haters from swarming over this team, from turning the boos into cascades of thunder, and from plunging everybody into a downward spiral. He needs to be a positive rather than a diversion.
4. Pen mightier than sword. I'm still mucho pissed-offo that Hal "I'm Not Cheap" Steinbrenner let David Robertson walk. It happened because I'm Not Cheap was being chea- er, I mean, "frugal" - and didn't respect a homegrown, beloved Yankee, who pitched heroically in replacing the Great Mariano. Write this down: We will regret losing Robertson. It's a huge crap shot, expecting guys from Pittsburgh or Atlanta to come to NYC and excel. Still, Cashman nabbed some power arms. A good bullpen can paint over many problems. Ours could be one of the best. It damn well better be.
5. Somebody gushes up from Scranton. Last year, it was Dellin Betances. This spring, we longed for Jose Pirela, but that dream just hit the wall. We need an infusion of unexpected youth. Maybe Rob Refsnyder can save 2B. Maybe Slade Heathcott can be the Second Coming of Josh Hamilton (God knows, they share the troubled histories.) We could get a jolt from John Ryan Murphy, Tyler Austin, Gary Sanchez - even Kyle Roller. Somebody, anybody, needs to bloom. Don't snicker. It could happen - if some of the old guys get out of the way.
6. Didi defense. We traded a shitload for Didi Gregorius. He needs to play SS every day. This notion of a platoon with Brendan Ryan? Ugh. That's how you ruin DP chemistry. If Didi can't play everyday, we're screwed. That great middle defense? It could turn into Drew at SS and the still butter-fingered Refsnyder at 2B - in other words, Swiss cheese. But if Didi is solid, you'll often hear, "That's a ball Jeter wouldn't have gotten!" Our defense will save games.
7. Measles in AL East. Let's face it: We may suck. But so might the rest of the AL East. Maybe those hot Redsock super-rookies will crap out. Last year, Jackie Bradley Jr. was headed straight to Cooperstown, until his .198 average got in the way. (Watch out, though: He's still only 24.) This year's model is Mookie Betts, age 22. Could they toss another air ball? Could something in that vaunted farm system fail to close the massive gap between Pawtucket and Boston? I still dread them having Yoan Moncada, thanks to I'm Not Cheap's - um - fiscal prudence. As for Baltimore: Buck Showalter only builds championship teams for other people to manage. Look it up. Tampa Bay? They need to come in last for five years again and draft high. Toronto? They are - well - Toronto... today, tomorrow, always... tough luck Toronto. Maybe we're bad, but everybody else sucks worse. Like the Presidential race, eh? We're Jeb Bush in a division of Sarah Palins. That's how we win it. Altogether now: "U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!"