PAPI MOONS NEW YORK

PAPI MOONS NEW YORK

Friday, April 1, 2016

Prediction time: The 2016 Yankees will finish... (drum roll, please)...

In modern professional sports, there is one sure-fire way to build a winner: Finish last for three to five years. You'll collect top draft picks, get to auction off stars at the trade deadline and - unless you possess superhuman stupidity - you will rise. It's the way pro sports are rigged. Damn... it's so clean, so perfect, so ingenious. The world's wealthiest men - the billionaires who own sports teams - run an authoritarian, socialistic system based on "luxury taxes," a means to destroy free market capitalism and keep down their payrolls.

Before we start, I just wanted to get that out of my system...

I do this, because if the Yankees had finished 5th the last three years, we'd be anticipating a dynasty. But the former Evil Empire is the one team in American pro sports living the delusion that it can win the pennant every year, and never have to rebuild. In the early 2000s, they competed by annually buying the best free agent on the market. The rules changed, and now, we have an owner - no, we have the son of an owner - who sports the hubris of believing the Yankees will simply outsmart the rest of baseball and win without spending. It's madness, of course. And it forms the basis for these predictions.

Here goes...

The 2016 Yankees will finish third in the AL East, about six games over .500, continuing their stay in the Wild Card level limbo, which they have occupied for three ugly, long, fruitless years. We no longer compete for pennants. We chase the expanded Wild Card slot, and this year, we will miss it by a couple games.

We are an old, brittle team in a sport dominated by young, ascending players. The 2015 Yankees illustrated this. They led the AL East into July, then sank without a bubble in August. By the end of September, we looked haggard, beaten, frail and - frankly - terrible. We couldn't even beat last place Boston. This year, the core of the team will be even older, and there is nothing Joe Girardi or Brian Cashman can do to change this.

The breakability of this team was magnified yesterday, when Andrew Miller was diagnosed with a chip fracture in his wrist, and Bryan Mitchell - the promising swing man - went out with a broken toe. Both are durable young players. Both were freak incidents, the kind that happen commonly. But no Yankee fan in captivity believes Gardner, Ellsbury, Beltran, A-Rod, Tex, Sabathia, Tanaka, Pineda et al - will last the full 2016 season. It's far more likely that none of them go the whole year. In every winter trade, Cashman sought youth. (Except for the Aroldis Chapman, which was affected by his legal status.) We're just too damn old.

Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius will become the core of the team. Don't be surprised if, by the end of the season, they are batting one and two. Counting Ellsbury and Gardner, we have four lead-off hitters. The problem: Driving them home. The middle of the order is really, really really slow. The DP-ball is going to kill us.

If there is a key to the Yankees, it is Luis Severino. He looks like our version of a young Pedro Martinez. You don't want to hang that kind of comparison on him, but for the Yankees to win the Wild Card, we need an ace, and who else is going to rise into that role?

The other key is Teixeira, now in his contract year. He wants to retire in New York - a desire that runs directly counter to Hal Steinbrenner's plans of weeding out expensive contracts. This is where we should pause to once again lament the injury to Greg Bird. He was going to take over 1B. Now, who knows? But Tex could be good... until he's hurt.

As much as we love the three-closer bullpen, it's just a show. We can't wait for that one game when Betances, Miller and Chapman shut the door from the seventh inning on. But it's a fantasy. We might lose the next game, because three were unavailable. Can Girardi manage this threesome? Last year, he turned into Joe Torre - in a bad way - overusing closers until they fell apart. And now Miller is going to start the season with a bad wrist. Is that really a good idea?

The AL East won't be the patsy league it was early last June. Toronto is loaded, Tampa has mucho pitching - (Chris Archer could win the Cy Young) - and Boston is building via the tried-and-true method: They have finished last two years in a row. They made huge blunders by signing Sandoval and Ramirez, and maybe Rusney Castillo, but they won't come in last forever. They have a strong wave of young talent on the horizon - Yoan Somethingorther - and if a few players emerge, the bump we feel will be Boston passing us... maybe for a while.

We are in a limbo. Third place. It's going to be a long year.

OK, everybody: It's time to post your views.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

As soon as I was riding high super excited for baseball season, you bring me back down to earth. And that's not a knock, I'm glad you shot some reality back into me. I live in Phillies country and every time someone tells me they hate the Yankees, I tell them, "trust me I hate them a lot more." You are dead on as usual and they will be painful to watch. Might as well watch the Phillies at least they have some young talent and a chance to be good again in a few years. I am sure by Father's Day I'll wish i had saved the $129.99 i spent on m MLB.tv subscription for a little red wagon for my 2 year old.

Tom said...

Funny how we want them to get younger, but the young players -- Mitchell and Bird, fr instance -- are the ones getting hurt.

I don't know how they'll finish. I expect they'll only be as good as their bullpen -- not the Big 3 -- but the next three or four guys. The soft underbelly of any team, and the key to most successful seasons. Somebody get Dick Tidrow on the line!.

Offense will be spotty. They'll score 15 one game and 2 or 3 in several more. I do hope Texiera gets a huge contract next year, which will be a direct result of a strong season this year. I expect A-Rod to spend a lot of time staring at his bat, shaking his head while he walks back to the dugout. Really, too many holes in this lineup. Why did they sign Headley for four years?

Of course, I'll watch. I'll read all about it, and I'll get overexcited every time there's a three game winning streak. But I suspect that el duque's prediction of another mediocre season is probably on target.

John M said...

Fourth. Everyone will get hurt, old and young alike, and the rotation will be generally a disaster beyond Professor Tanaka and that phee-nom kid from last year. And maybe Mitchell, when he's finally allowed to start.

The bullpen? A mess. Nobody but three closers worth a damn, and there will be dissent among them about who should man the ninth. Not that we'll need a closer very often.

Ptui. Feh. Yick.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

I've said before that I'm dreading this season, for all of the reasons listed above. I will still obsessively listen to each game, and of course get my hopes up every time they're on a winning streak, but we've seen this movie time and time again, so their collapse will always be hovering, like some cheap B movie grim reaper.

Folks, the Yankees have become the METS, and the Mets the Yankees, URRRGGGGGGGGG!!!!!

Anonymous said...

THIS IS GOING TO BE A TOUGH YEAR TO PREDICT.....JUST WHEN I WAS STARTING TO FEEL LIKE SOMETHING GOOD MAY HAPPEN THIS SEASON,- BANG!- GREG BIRD GETS SHOT DOWN.....THEN I KIND OF FOOL MYSELF AFTER A WHILE, AND SAY, "OK, MAYBE WE CAN SURVIVE WITHOUT BIRD, BECAUSE WE WERE GOING TO HAVE HIM IN TRIPLE A FOR TOO LONG ANYWAY", THEN, -BANG!- BRETT GARDNER SAYS HIS WRIST STILL ISN'T HEALED....... THEN I TRY TO REASON WITH MYSELF AND START TO THINK, " WE STILL HAVE QUITE A BIT OF TALENT." THEN, -BANG!- ANDREW MILLER GETS A CHIPPED BONE ON HIS RIGHT WRIST, AND -BANG! BANG!- BRYAN MITCHELL GOES DOWN FOR 3 MONTHS (IN THE SAME DAY MILLER GETS HURT)!..............I WILL WATCH OR LISTEN (TO THE MASTER) RELIGIOUSLY ALL SEASON LONG. RARELY A GAME GOES BY THAT I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON....... I SMELL 3RD PLACE. DEPENDS ON HOW BOSTON PANS OUT....WE CAN'T HIT WITH TORONTO. THEN AGAIN, WE CAN'T REALLY HIT AT ALL, ESPECIALLY IN THE CLUTCH WHEN IT COUNTS.....AND THAT WILL BE OUR UNDOING -THE HITTING- AND NOT SO MUCH THE PITCHING.....I CAN SEE US BEING AN AWFUL TEAM WHEN PLAYING FROM BEHIND.........AFTER THIS SPRING TRAINING, MY HOPES OF ANY YOUNG PROSPECTS COMING UP, EVEN BY THE ALL STAR BREAK, HAVE BEEN DESTROYED.......... EL DUQUE SOUNDS RIGHT ABOUT CASTRO AND DIDI BEING THE CORE STRENGTH OF THE TEAM......MAYBE WE CAN GET LUCKY AND CATCH A WAVE, WE ARE STILL THE NEW YORK YANKEES, (CASH & HAL ASIDE)...........GO YANKS!

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

One huge problem (in my opinion) is that -- whether they finish 1st or 5th -- the 2016 Yankees do not seem like a team that will be FUN to watch.

You might have made the case that watching Bird, Sanchez, Ref, and some of the other young guys -- if any of them had had a marvelous (and uninjured) spring -- would be interesting. Maybe FUN.

You can't make that case. Watching Alex stroll up to the plate or Sabathia pitch is depressing. Alex should be behind bars. CC should be behind the podium at numerous AA meetings.

SO: In 2016, we gotta watch Luis, Starlin + Sir Didi -- tolerate Chapman, hope Betances isn't over-used before May 31, and root for Miller to actually be able to play the game with one hand. Essentially, you will have to ignore the other 19 players.

Yes -- this is roughly like choosing among the 5 remaining morons to be the President. You can wince and curse, but one of them IS likely to win in November. Thinking about the choices is painful. BUT: Enduring the Presidency of one of these folks might well be WORSE.

Is Chase Headley really gonna get 140 games at 3B? Is poor Beltran going to be sent out to RF for at least 7 innings per game? Must I watch games waiting for Texeira, Gardner, and Ellsbury to injure themselves? . . . or to provide evidence that an injury happened (Gardner in 2nd half 2015).....

Will my idea of a "victory" in 2016 be defined as "Brian McCann slaps a double down the left-field line" . . . ?

None of that sounds like FUN. It might actually be worse. The 2016 Yankees really are likely to be like the ongoing political crapola: It's very reasonable to anticipate disaster now, but watching the reality unfold could really suck.