Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The "Ifs" are starting to become "what ifs?"

Heading into spring training, the groveling supplicants who sell Yankee tickets under the guise of broadcast and print journalism - you know who they are - outlined a series of "ifs" to soon be confronted by the 2016 Retrieval Empire. These were conditions that - if they come true - would secure a path for Food Stamps Steinbrenner's fiscally prudent Yankees to win the AL East.

For example,

If Ellsbury can just stay healthy...

If Sabathia can rebound...

If Boston continues to suck....

Well, a few of the "ifs" are becoming "ands" or "butts," and it's not even April 1. Of course, it's way too early to pronounce judgement on this team, or any individual "if." Last year, for three months, we looked like The Avengers, and then we turned into the Mystery Men. But two of the above "ifs" already look like "uh-ohs."

For starters, Ellsbury has a bum wrist. 

The above sentence contains two words that Yankee fans most fear reading in an injury report: Ellsbury and wrist. We watched Tex miss a season due a wrist, we've seen prospects disappear due to wrists, and we've come to view Iron Man Ellsbury as having the durability of a soap bubble. If he's good - that is, when he's healthy - we can score 5 runs and win a game. If he's hurt or worse - when he's playing hurt - we are the team we have been in the last three years: That is, if we're down 3-0, forget it.

But hey - some "ifs" look good. Didi and Castro are shaping up, and Headley hasn't thrown any balls into the Gulf of Mexico yet. And no matter how bad CC looks, Luis Severino may make up for him. (And let's be clear: We won't spend all of 2016 - as we did last year - wrapping our hopes around CC's return to form. He'll get some early starts - he's earned that shot - but if he doesn't deliver, it's over. He will not drag us down.)

And here's a "what if:" The other day, Aaron Hicks homered. The line out of Tampa - true or not - is that Hicks is a better fielding CF than Ellsbury, especially in covering ground. That's critical, because with Beltran in RF, our CF basically must cover two positions. If Hicks can play, we can drop Ellsbury from the "ifs" and make him a "whatever." He and Gardner can play every other game, and maybe it's Hicks who is our everyday centerfielder.

If Hicks is for real...

1 comment:

Alphonso said...

Why is there no, " if only Beltran would get injured....?"