Thursday, December 31, 2015

With Chapman, the Yankees are more than ever the Retrieval Empire

It's a new, warped holiday tradition, like gathering the family to watch "Bad Santa:" Bloggers predict the next Yankee trade - and always end up fanning like Aaron Boone facing Brandon Looper with the bases loaded and the World Series on the line. Back in November, nobody - not even Kreskin - foresaw Aaron Hicks becoming a Yankee. A few weeks later, even after rumors of talks with the Cubs, the Starlin Castro trade caught the experts by surprise. And this week, Aroldis Chapman exploded out of nowhere, like a spray of hot bullets into a suburban garage.

As a result, there's no reason whatsoever to speculate on the future of Mr. Brett Gardner. Next year, he could be a Yankee. He could be a Harlem Globetotter. (R.I.P. Meadowlark.) Brian Cashman will pull off any deal at any time, seeking even a microscopic improvement, basically because the Boy Owner has clipped his balls on signing free agents. So Cashman does what Cashman does best: He picks the scrap heap for usable parts.

All recent Yankee acquisitions have one thing in common: They are reclamation projects.

With the Twins, Hicks was basically a failed super prospect - a former top pick, still too young to abandon, but without enough juice to be a starter. He's a one-year-younger version of Dustin Ackley, 27, whom Cashman harpooned and wrestled ashore last August. Castro, 25, was once earmarked to become the next "Mr. Cub," until his act in Chicago grew as unpopular as Rahm Emanuel.

Chapman, 27, is a project for the Yes Network Spin & Drivel and Hype Delta Force. To shore up the team's battered image with battered women, the Yankees will need more than pink bats and special prices on sloe gin fizzes. And if any of Aroldis Chapman's neighbors coughs up a cell phone video - well - our bullpen coach will be Gloria Steinem.

The Yankees are rolling the dice and hoping for sevens. Last year, it worked with Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Young - but not with Stephen Drew and Chris Capuano. The year before, it worked with Yangervis Solarte and Branden McCarthy - but not Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson. We can probably expect a 50 percent success rate. But in our hearts, we never do. Every winter, one rich vein of hubris roils across the Yankiverse: We convince ourselves that Hicks will be a star, along with Castro and now Chapman. The Yankees are best at hyping hope, and nothing inspires it more than a fresh face - (as opposed to Year III of Carlos Beltran, our top hitter last season... at .276... yes, two-frickin'-seventy-six. And this year, he'll be 39.)

We are no longer the Evil Empire, but - hey - in the latest Star Wars, the Evil Empire doesn't even exist: it's now the First Order; (Wait... wasn't that a boy band?) We are the Retrieval Empire, and - who knows? - maybe there is some copper in that scrap pile. Let's hope the force is with us.


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Anonymous said...

I don't understand Yankees media and fans sometimes. We complained that George spent too much money. We complain that his son doesn't spend enough money. Complain for trading prospects, complain for holding prospects. We complain the team is too old we complain when the team gets younger. We complain for long term contracts we complain for not signing long term contracts. We pine away for the team to get certain players... And when the team does... Fans complain. Too many home runs.. Not enough home runs. I recall complaints after the 2009 signings all the way to the world series There's no winning. Kinda sad someone's

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