Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Posted by el duque at 7:05 AM
I mean, when you talk of crap years, you've got Bill Cosby and then everybody else. Of course, there's Brian Williams and Jeb Bush, and that Florida guy who went into the sinkhole - he definitely had a bad year - but Joe Girardi turned in a few stinker months.
Basically, Joe got swallowed by the sinkhole known as the Yankee middle-innings bullpen. He had two closers - Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances - and Justin Wilson, and after that, he was waving prayer beads at the opposition. By July, it was common to see Joe calling on Miller or Betances to finish games that should never have required a closer. We might have a seven run lead in the eighth when - bang, bing, zoom - suddenly Joe would be waving the white flag for Miller. By September, both Miller and Betances were creaking under the strain, and there was no cavalry to call, beyond speed-dialing Scranton to see what Nick Goody was doing.
I think Joe caught the Joe Torre Virus, which happens after a few wins get squandered, and a manager looses faith in humanity. Torre became famous for burning out Proctors, Sturtzes and Quantrills after a few traumatic involvements with a Buddy Groom or Colter Bean... and this happened en route to Mariano - often a bridge too far. For some reason, the Torre Virus keeps resurfacing in this franchise.
Yesterday, for unfathomable reasons, Girardi named Arodys Chapman as the Yankees 2016 closer. Why? Good luck in supplying an answer. Last year, Miller was baseball's best closer. This year, Betances should be reaching his peak. Why pick Chapman over them? For starters, the guy remains a human billboard on domestic violence, he might miss the first month due to a suspension. Then there's the fact that he's never dealt with the NYC media - (do they have Gammonites in Cincinnati?) - or pitched in a league with the DH.
Even if Girardi secretly intended for Chapman to evolve into the closer role, what's the benefit to anointing him in January, unless Joe is already experiencing PTSD, imagining the gasoline brigade squandering leads. Already, he's thinking like it's the one-game Wild Card.
Generally, I don't put much stock into anything the Yankees say publicly. Cashman never telegraphs trades, and Girardi never discloses the full extent of injuries. They practice disinformation in a way that would make the CIA proud. But why, why, why install Chapman on the hot seat?
It looks like a long, long year. (But I still think Cosby's got him beat.)