Thursday, December 17, 2015

Who's on third? Nobody. Why can't the Yankees grow their own third-basemen?

As we enter Year II of the Chase Headley Era - potentially the worst 4-year term since Calvin Coolidge - hope-mongers across the Yankiverse are already kicking rocks in the farm system, hoping that someone - anyone - will rise from the mine shafts of Scranton to play 3B. But if history tells us anything, it's that we might as well be waiting for Atlantis. (Did you know that whenever a Yankee 3B prospect collapses, tens of thousands of Muslims cheer on the rooftops of Jersey?) Over the last 40 years, the Yankees have raised one - yes, one, (1) - home grown quality third-baseman. His name was Mike Lowell. We traded him for Todd Noel, Mark Johnson and Ed Yarnell.

Yep. We raised one third-baseman, and we'd have been better off if we didn't. Forty years of nothing. Oh, I guess you could say we grew Mike Pagliarulo from a seedling. Pags was an occasional slugger during the lost 1980s, whose batting average - foreshadowing Stephen Drew - generally hovered between .180 and .210. After that, good night and good luck. Move on, people, there's nothing to see. Go on, shoo!

It's not that we didn't draft third-basemen in the top rounds. Remember Dante Bichette Jr.? Brad Suttle? David Adams? Of course, you don't. We always signed somebody - Graig Nettles, Scott Brosius, A-Rod. It's been a system-wide failure. For reasons I cannot explain, we simply do not make third-basemen.  

So last year, we turned to Chase Headley. He stank. There's no better way to put this. He sailed throws into the right field bleachers - 10 more errors than usual (dare I say the name Chuck Knoblauch?) - and contributed little at the plate that Yangervis Solarte, the guy we originally traded for Headley, wouldn't have done. Headley didn't hit for power. He didn't hit for average. And it wasn't jitters from coming to NYC. He'd already been here the last half of 2014.

You know, I can actually understand why Hal "I'm Not Cheap" Steinbrenner preaches against signing long contracts. He goes on and on about how the Yankees cannot get locked into such deals... and then gets drunk and signs Ellsbury for seven, McCann for five, Headley for four, etc. It's like there's two Hals, one who pinches pennies and one who goes out clubbing with Gigi Hadid. So we end up with Headley.

Last winter, the Blue Jays pried current MVP Josh Donaldson from Oakland in a trade. The Yankees watched. We had Headley. Yesterday, the White Sox obtained all-star 3B Todd Frazier in a trade. The Yankees watched. We have Headley. If you look at our current farm system, one position stands out as particularly barren. Guess which. Go on, guess...

WTF? This shouldn't be. Two years ago, we made Eric Jagielo our top pick. They now say he's probably a first-baseman. Deep in the system, around Charleston and Pulaski, you find possibilities. But nothing has changed. They've always been there - fresh crops of the next Eric Duncan and Brandon Laird.

I keep hearing how our "suddenly productive farm system" has turned itself around. That's a drum beat we get every Christmas. The truth is, we have a middling system, which only looks good with a microscope, and when you're not comparing it to what other franchises have. Until we can develop a decent 3B, I'm not buying the crapola. All I see is three more years of Headley. And I'm sorry, it drains me of holiday hope. Merry Knoblach, everybody!

9 comments:

John M said...

They'll move Refsnyder to third, and he'll be terrible, and they'll say, 'See? Told you he wasn't any good.' Then they'll trade him for a bag of donuts.

You know, I kind of like Headley. He represents exactly what this team is at this point in time. And those throws into the stands...comic masterpieces, even better than Tex' videos.

Tom said...

Greg Bird?

He started as a catcher. Looked good at first. Why not?

Headley would have fit right in with the Horace Clake-era Yankees. Below average in just about all things.

KD said...

Yeah, Headley stinks. but do you remember when he took one on the chin and was playing the next day against Bawlmer? points for toughness, at least. Ellsbury would've been out for a month.

Alphonso said...

The better observation about the "quality" of our " improved and deeper " farm system is when you compare them to Yankee regulars, on the big club. When you compare them to the prospects of other team farm systems, our talent pool still ranks near the bottom of the slime pool.

Luckily, our Yankee regulars are so awful, it makes our "prospects" look potent, by comparison.

The reality is; we have next to nothing. Wearing pinstripes or otherwise.

13bit said...

We are quickly sinking deep into another Horace Clarke era. one of those long drought periods in-between dynasties.

Anonymous said...

If you go back a bit in Yankee history, you'll find Loren Babe at third base for a while.
Unfortunately, the Steinbrenner family doesn't understand that both Cashman and Girardi are complete incompetents. They have no idea how to replace them. So, as long as these morons are around, it will be next to impossible to improve the organization.
By the way, reading the Chicago papers, the Yankees have traded for a problem at second base. It seems that Starlin is not as good A fielder as Fidel. Cashman got taken again with the wrong Castro.
All I can say is thank heavens for Netflix and TCM. Perhaps my cable company can drop YES.

Anonymous said...

I REMEMBER WHEN WE HAD MIKE LOWELL, AND THE IRONIC THING ABOUT HIM WAS, IT WAS ALMOST THE SAME SITUATION AS WE HAVE NOW WITH ROB REFSYNDER....I REMEMBER LOWELL HAD A GOOD BAT IN THE MINORS, AND THEY WEREN'T SURE ABOUT HIS GLOVE....I REMEMBER HIM HITTING A HOME RUN IN A SEPTEMBER CALL UP GAME, AND I REMEMBER SAYING TO MYSELF, "WE GOT SOMETHING WITH THIS GUY." ........AND THEN, POOF, HE WAS GONE (AND OF COURSE, IT WOUND UP BEING FOR NOTHING WITH THE JUNK WE RECEIVED)..... IT WAS LIKE THAT "MYSTERY SCOUT" STRUCK AGAIN, DEEMING LOWELL, A NON-MAJOR LEAGUER...... WRONG DECISION!...AS WE KNOW, LOWELL WENT ON TO HAVE A GOOD MAJOR LEAGUE CAREER.....

SanJoseKid said...

Promoting your new "Bard" book shamelessly on Facebook, Duque. Send a copy to Putin?

joe disgusted pastry said...

I don't care who's on third, or second for that matter. The only thing they are trying to win is the battle to avoid the luxury tax. Why should I give a flying fig about that? Instead of watching YES I'll be rooting for whoever is playing the Red Sux or the Metropolitans. Anybody who pays for tickets to a Yankees game next year is a sucker.

Anonymous, thanks for the Loren Babe reminder. I saw him listed in my scorecard at my first game at The Real Yankee Stadium: Babe, Loren. For the rest of the year I thought he was Babe Loren, named after the Bambino.