Monday, March 14, 2016
Posted by el duque at 8:15 AM
Of course, the Yankees will use Chapman's suspension as hype: If the team has played poorly, Chapman will be coming, yea! If the team is doing well, just think how good things will be with Chapman! It's nice to have a rabbit in the hat.
But the trouble with middling teams is that everything looks fine... until it doesn't. By May 6, we will probably know a few things that right now look murky.
1. Is CC Sabathia even a fifth starter? Yesterday, management shrugged off his horror show against the mighty Phillies. Expectations have been lowered by the suggestion that CC is the last guy in the rotation - not the ace. He is this year's Chris Capuano, which means 5 innings and three-to-four runs, which means let's hope for an offensive surge. They suggest he can be the next Bartolo Colon, the old guy who gets by on guile. But there aren't many like Colon, and I'm not sure the Yankees would know one if they saw one: After all, they're the team that let Colon go four seasons ago. Had we kept him, Colon would have been our best pitcher over those four years. Who knew? Not us, that's for sure.
2. Is it time for Gary Sanchez? Odds are the Yankees in two weeks will send Sanchez to Scranton, no matter what he does - (and he hasn't done much this spring.) They want his MLB contract to start late, so they keep an extra year before arbitration. But by May 9, if they need a RH bat - or a youth infusion - Sanchez might be the guy. After all these years of bouncing around Scranton, can Austin Romine prove to be a solid backup catcher?
3. Is Chase Headley deadly? The Yankees yesterday made five errors - CC, Chapman, Aaron Hicks, prospect Derek Fowler and Starling Castro. But at least Headley didn't throw away any balls. Last year, they were sailing like Frisbies. He may be a middling hitter from now on, but if his throws continue to be erratic... Houston, we have a problem.
There are others: Brett Gardner's hand, most notably. But for the most part, April will be the usual slow start by some, fast start by others. And come May 9, we'll unveil our saver... hopefully not our savior.