Live Yankee Chat: Wednesday 5 p.m.

Live Yankee Chat: Wednesday 5 p.m.

Monday, October 31, 2016

River Ave. Blues is Tweeting So Many John Sterling Pictures, I Was Afraid He Died

Don't do that.



Holy shit! Look what popped up while I was making this post:
Thanks, @RiverAveBlues!

Imagining the 2016 Yankees playoffs bullpen

The recent Bumgarner-esque runs of Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman bring a mix of Yankee fan pride and frustration. The pride comes because both players did right by us and - at least in theory - brought a nice bucket of seedlings. The frustration - or is it exasperation? - comes with the notion that the 2016 Yankees were so fundamentally flawed that the best savers in baseball couldn't save us. For most of 2016, a 2-run deficit seemed flat-out impossible to overcome. How did we get so toothless? And why did we go so long that way?

But today, let's ponder a what-if:

What if... we ditched A-Rod and Tex, and promoted Gary Sanchez, in early June, instead of early August? What if... the youth movement turned just four L's into W's? What if... we didn't sell off our three best players? What if... Joe Girardi used his dominant bullpen in the post-season as Joe Madden and Terry Francona have done?

Think about that Wild Card game: Tanaka pitches the first three innings. Betances takes the fourth and fifth. Andrew Miller does the sixth and seventh. El Chapo takes it from there. Does the other team score a run?

And three days later, in the ALCS, Tanaka starts again - limited to three or four innings.

Occasionally, Severino gives us an inning. When possible, we rest the big guns and use fodder (Michael Pineda). CC would be held to three, told to empty the tank. We wouldn't have Adam Warren, though we could have still traded for Tyler Clippard. Cessa and Green would go short stints. But in any close game... Betances, Miller and Chapman - shutting down potential rallies, and going more than just one inning.

Damn. The 2016 Yankees were built to win a playoff. We had a shutdown bullpen for the ages, which could smother a team from the fourth inning onward. And we blew it. We fukking blew it.

Management was so adamant about getting its money's worth out of old players that it failed to see what fans understood in late May. (Secondary note: Boston took another tactic - banishing Rusney Castillo, the Panda, Joe Kelly, et al - regardless of what they were being paid.)

Listen: I'm still glad we did the August sell-off. The team was dead.

I'm just wondering what, if anything, has changed at the top?

Today's link sausage:

A speculative what-if trade piece on trading for Jurickson Profar. Next year's Aaron Hicks?

Joel Sherman recounts past Indian trades that reversed the Andrew Miller deal. The usual conventional wisdom.

Hot scoop: Yanks might use Adam Warren as... a starter! (Or they might not, blah blah blah)

And finally... They clutched their pearls and said Local Bargain Jerk's brilliant plan to Moon Big Papi was unclassy. What would they think of this? (The NFL is always there for us, no?)

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Twiddling terminals for Tampa teats? And today's tidbits, too.

1. The Bronx Bummers plan to renovate George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa this winter. Considering recent male talk show uproar over projected Yankee Stadium "improvements" - (new breast pump stations and a kiddie park; they're practically castrating the ghosts of Babe and Lou!) - how will Florida react? My guess, it's a-okay, because the changes involve more Tiki bars.

2. Everybody is wondering what will happen to Brian McCann. But his future destination - and what we get in return - seems mostly to depend on how much contract ballast Food Stamps Hal is willing to eat. In recent situations, this has not always turned out well. Aaron Hicks II?

3. Andrew Miller has now set the all-time post-season record for strikeouts. If the Indians win tonight, he could be World Series MVP - following up on ALCS MVP. Yeesh, we've done the impossible: We turned Cleveland into the City of Champions. These prospects better be good. Otherwise, the rent is too damn high.

4. Maybe it's crass to say this, but what the hell: The news that Jose Fernandez had coke in his system, along with a mess of booze, when he died probably means the Yankees dodged a bullet. There was massive speculation about a trade, and Fernandez loomed as exactly the kind of power arm that Cashman covets. It's still an incredible tragedy, and I don't like to speak ill of the dead. But we might have traded our farm system for the guy.

5. If next July, the Yankees are treading water at .500 - a very real possibility, by the way - we could be on the verge of trading Masahiro Tanaka for another haul of prospects - and maybe anointing a new City of Champions. It's not crazy, considering his opt-out clause at the end of 2017. Some are even suggesting we trade him this winter. Obviously, it's all about the package - nothing about this team should be off the table - but I can't help but think that trading Tanaka would be a betrayal of sorts. He's a great Yankee. He's a great teammate. He's pitching with a tear in his elbow. We should show some guts and stick with this guy.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Baseball America's Josh Norris on the Yankee system: "There is a very good argument that it is the No. 1 system in the game."

Yesterday, the venerable Baseball America - heir to The Sporting News - uncorked its annual Top 10 Yankee prospects list - a generous helping of comfort food that warms every October. Throughout the years, no matter how we had decimated our system with trades - (Lance Berkman for Mark Melancon!) - we still received a top ten list about which to rejoice. But this year - wow - it's like eating ice cream. It's like a foot massage - NO, it's like getting laid. ("Megyn, why are you so fascinated by sex?") Go there, RIGHT NOW, for a good time!

Ahh, so you've returned. I can smell it on you. Go ahead, light a cigarette...

So here's the thought of today: As much as watching Andrew Miller and El Chapo dominate the World Series displays the talent we surrendered, this year's BA rankings show what we received: A shitload. Our two top prospects - Glyber Torres and Clint Frazier - both came in trades, and have elevated our entire system. In a chat yesterday, BA writer Josh Norris repeatedly praised our farms in terms I have never seen in my lifetime - not even when Brien Taylor (federal inmate number 56437-056 prior to being released in 2014) was the best prospect in baseball. At one point yesterday, Norris mused that the Yankees could put eight prospects on BA's annual Top 100. That's incredible. In recent years, we were lucky to place three. The Yankees sit where the Cubs were two and three years ago.

Listen: No single prospect is a sure thing, but when you have seven or eight in the Top 100... that is as close to a sure thing as it gets. All we need is - gulp - patience.

So here's a thought: In a mega-system ruled by luxury taxes - de facto salary caps - there is no reason why the Yankees cannot use their money advantage to always rate among the top systems. The lords of baseball made rules to limit spending on free agents, but a smart front office can still consistently build for the future. All we need is - gulp - discipline. . 

Right now, one team consistently dominates in parity-driven American pro sports: The New England Patriots, under Bill Belichik. Year in and year out, with or without Tom Brady, the Pats win. And this week, with the NFL trade deadline near, Belichick once again showed his acumen. He traded a sixth round pick for one player, and then dealt another player for a fifth round pick. In other words, he upgraded - ever so slightly - in next year's draft. Even while contending this year, he's working on next year.

The Yankees must do the same. We must always be getting younger. We can do it this winter by trading Brian McCann, Chase Headley and Brett Gardner. Get younger, get faster, get deeper in the system, get more power arms. We should always be in the top tier of BA's rankings. The minute we start bundling three or four prospects for the Javier Vasquezes and Jeff Weavers of the world, we will start backsliding.

Yep, I am calling for prospect-hugging. Supplement with free agents - I'd take Melancon and RA Dickey, and I wouldn't spit on Edwin Encarnacion or Steve Pearce - but build with youth. And pleasure yourself thinking about the future.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Before we talk ourselves into a catastrophic trade, let's remember the rule of three

Yesterday, some Yankee fan-porn site called Elite Sports NY - "the Pulse of NYC Sports!" - ran a piece calling for the Evils to trade a top SS prospect, because - well - we have too many. Yep, that's what they said. We're overstocked, so we should weed out either Glyber Torres or Jorge Mateo - bundle him with a few Trentonians and Charlestonites, and send the whole kit and kaboodle somewhere for a Miguel Cabrera, or somebody hitting 34 (the age when Tex went south, btw.)

First, whenever I read about Possible Yankee Trades, I wonder if the writer is 14 and posting from study hall. If we know anything about Brian Cashman, it is that he never shows his hand before a trade. Folks write how we're chasing a Cuetto, and he snags an Eovaldi. Predicting trades is the most pointless of pointlessnesses in a generally pointless pointlessness-ocity.

Second, trading a prospect is not an insane notion. These days on the Internet, nobody likes a prospect-hugger. We have three promising young shortstops - Tyler Wade, the third - plus Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro, who theoretically block everyone's ascent (although one of these days, we need to talk about Starlin.) 

But... let's remember the IT IS HIGH Rule of Three: For every three big prospects, you're lucky if one becomes a star.

This isn't the first big trio to rise from the primordial Yankee ooze. Remember our Big Three "can't-miss" starters - Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain. We traded Kennedy, kept the others - and for all our work, received maybe two years of eighth inning bullpen help (from Phil and Joba.) The fact is, we traded the wrong guy... the one in three.

Remember the Killer B's - Andrew Brackman, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances? One fizzled, one got traded, and we kept one, in this case, the right one. (Again, though - no starters, just bullpen help. And in theory, Banuelos' light still flickers in Atlanta.)

Last summer, we had a three-way in the Scranton OF - Slade Heathcott, Ben Gamel and Mason Williams. We ditched Slade, traded Gamel (the league MVP) to Seattle for a pack of cigarettes and we've kept Williams. Let's keep fingers crossed.

Future sluggers? We have three: Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier and Greg Bird. (I'm not including Gary Sanchez here, because he's no longer a prospect; he's an MLB catcher.) Maybe we'll get lucky. Maybe they'll all make it - and Tyler Austin, too. Dream on, everybody! Still, it's quite possible that one will succeed - just one. Wanna maybe trade him?

Pitchers? We have James Kaprielian, Justus Sheffield and Chance Adams (and maybe Domingo Acevedo and super-maybe Dillon Tate) Odds are one will make it. Okay, folks, which one? Show of hands? Are we feeling lucky?

So if we're trying to land Miguel Cabrera, which SS goes? Mateo, Torres or Wade? Which slugger goes? And which young pitcher - because don't kid yourself: They'll want one from every group. Are we ready to drop that one-in-three roulette ball?

Listen: The beauty of the Yankees right now is that we have a wave rising in the farm system. Even if we score at a rate of only one out of three, we will explode with talent. If we're lucky - two out of three - we could overtake Boston by next fall. At that point, we can supplement with trades and big free agents.

But if we bundle our future for some 34 year-old Teixeira-in-Training, we run the risk of trading the wrong guys. Of course, we can always play the Yankee hubris game: We're smart and other teams are stupid; nobody else has scouts.

So we can keep building - (I'm hoping we ditch Gardy or McCann to build another threesome) - or we can blow this. Do we feel lucky? AND DAMMIT, STOP POSTING FROM STUDY HALL!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Five reasons to trade for... GAHHHHHHHHH!

Yesterday, New Jersey dot com - the online embodiment of onion rings, big hair and proposed gubernatorial candidate Joe Piscopo - phlegmed-up five "reasons" why the Yankees should trade their newly recharged farm system for 33-year-old Miguel Cabrera. Supposedly, Detroit will let him go for the right price and - hell - he'll only make $212 million over the next seven years. That's chickenfeed to folks who run click-bait websites. Why, Cabrera can play first, freeing us to trade Greg Bird for pitching and ARE YOU FUKKING KIDDING ME? TRADE FOR ANOTHER OLD GUY, FADING INTO HIS TWILIGHT? YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS! THIS IS A JOKE, RIGHT? MOE, LARRY, CHEESE! MOE, LARRY, CHEESE... GYAHHHHHHHAHAHAHA...

Sorry about that. I'm okay now. It's just that - haha - sometimes these ideas, they just sort of, you know, I mean, it's like, it's not, you know, it's just, I mean WTF? WHAT THE FUKKK? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT DETROIT WOULD DEMAND FOR MIGUEL CABRERA? LEMME GIVE YOU A HINT. AINT GONNA BE BLAKE PARKER. MORE LIKE BLAKE RUTHERFORD. THEY'LL WANT AARON JUDGE! THEY'LL WANT CLINT FRAZIER! THEY'LL WANT SEVERINO, TORRES, MATEO, YOUR FIRST BORN. THEY'LL PUT HIM UP FOR BIDS AND SQUEEZE EVERY LAST MOLECULE OF DNA FROM OUR SYSTEM, AND THEN WE'LL HAVE THE GUY ON SHAKY KNEES THROUGH AGE 41, AND WE WON'T HAVE LEARNED A FUKKING THING. I'M STILL EXPECTING US TO TRADE FOR CANO AS SOON HIS HIPS ARE SHOT. JEEZUS H. MONTERO, ARE WE STILL PLAYING THAT FANTASY GAME WHERE ALL THE OTHER TEAMS ARE STUPID, AND THEY'LL JUST GIVE AWAY PLAYERS FOR NOTHING? JEEEEEEZUS ACHE MONTERO! I CANNNNNN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE! YOU HEAR ME? I CAN'T TAKE IT!

Okay, better now. I respectfully submit... I respectfully submit... that if we want an aging slugger who costs $28 to $32 million per season over the next seven years, Edwin Encarnacion would do. But listen: The Yankees are at the crossroads. They can stick with a wave of youth that eventually puts us into a position to win multiple titles, like the Cubs are now. Or they can trade the system, chase the Danny Tartabulls and Vernon Wellses and tread water at .500, perennially competing for wild card berths.

Can our front office stay disciplined and work for the future? Or will it go back to the liquor bottle and do exactly what got us into this mess? That is the question of this winter. Everything else is just click-bait.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Gannett to Yankees: Drop Dead

Well, this sucks.

A great Yankee beat writer, Chad Jennings, is out of work today, due to cutbacks by Gannett's Journal/News of the Lower Hudson Valley - aka LOHUD.

So ends a great Yankiverse tradition - the LOHUD online community, launched by Peter Abraham (PeteAbe) - around 1999, back when the team always found a way to win, and fans always found a way to feel hope. Over the years, you could always count on at least two great Yankee websites - (not counting this one, of course) - River Ave and LOHUD. Now there is one. (Not counting this one, of course.)

It's part of a big round of cutbacks, which by now we have come to accept at newspapers everywhere. It's a perfect downward loop - so clean, so pure and so efficient you almost have to admire our own self-destruction.

The more that good journalists vanish, the worse our journalism gets, and so the more people hate journalists, and so the corporations cut them, and the cycle eventually gives us an election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump - and everybody wonders how such a thing could happen?

I doubt Jennings will stay jobless for long. Condolences to all who got the slip.

As the World Series turns, the painful questions unfurl

Watching Andrew Miller send the Cubs back into Hell last night, I burrowed beneath the couch and clutched my Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield juju icons, pondering the endless toppling dominoes of Fate. It is now universally understood that if Cleveland wins its first World Series in the TV age, it will have the Yankees to thank. It's cold under that couch, especially under the weight of essential questions:

When we traded Miller, did we sell our soul to Mephistopheles?

And if so, did we get enough? 


This we know: Nobody has an issue with trading Aroldis Chapman. On a team so riddled with holes, three all-star closers made absolutely no sense. Besides, El Chapo would going to walk this winter anyway, and Food Stamps Hal is still clutching every thin dime, because that's the metric by which he measures success. So, Chapman was always gone. But we had Miller for two more years, and he was the best of the trio, So this morning, writing this from under the couch, some big questions still loom.

If we hadn't traded Miller, could we have won the Wild Card?

And could we now trade him for more than what we got last July? 


Listen... what's done is done. I can't answer those questions. But I do know this: The Yankees were challenging until Hanley Ramirez hit that walk-off bomb, and if Miller were still a Yankee, he would have been out there instead of Dellin Betances, who was crumbling from overuse. The difference between Miller and - say - Blake Parker is the difference between life and death, heaven and hell, forever and never, and the record will forever show that there were games when we actually had Parker out there, chasing the final outs.

So... what's done is done. If the Yankees were now shopping Miller, would Cleveland still be in the hunt? Could we still score Frazier and Sheffield from them? And here's another question: Considering their play in August - (Frazier slumped, sorta) - would we still covet them so desperately?

Look... what's done is done. Me, I dunno. Nor do I know what Brian Cashman plans for 2017. But the Yankees are worried about last season's marked decline in attendance, and the fact that Comcast held the line in its dispute with YES. In their fourth year of nothingness, the Yankees have to be feeling kicks to the groin. That means something is coming - good or bad - this winter. A bomb is about to go off in the Yankee roster.

Right now, to send last year's team back out there would be a marketing disaster that not even breast pump stations and a kiddie playground can overcome. We still don't know Gary Sanchez's baseline production - the season ended before his average stopped dropping. We still don't know if Aaron Judge is a future star or a giant strikeout machine. We still don't know if Luis Severino is a starter or a finisher, or anything in between. And those are the hopeful question marks.

Either Hal buys a free agent or two, or we must rebuild through trades. Nobody wants to give up good young players for over-the-hill veterans with bloated contracts. If we were now shopping Andrew Miller, would we get more than we did... or less? I dunno. What's done is done. But I'm telling you, it's dark under that couch.

(Final note: I just did something I almost never do: I read through this a second time. Before pressing "Publish," I feel compelled to add that I favored the trade of Miller last July. It's easy to look back and wonder. But I supported it all the way. What's done is done.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The New Yankee Stadium: Tastes Filling, Less Great.


Even when they were busy losing, the 1980s-era Yankees were still larger than life. Here's a Lite Beer ad that illustrates the point:




Can you imagine Prince Hal and Joe Binderardi doing a commercial like this today?

I can't either.


If they didgiven these guys' personalities, it would be a snooze-fest.  In fact, I think it would go like this:
Hal: Joe, we've listened to our fans and ticketholders and their top requests are for more family-friendly and socially-oriented spaces at Yankee Stadium. Which do you think is the best new social gathering space we're adding? Would you say it's the Sunrun Kids Clubhouse kiddie playground or the Breast Pumping Station? 
Joe: All the studies show we're likely to raise more kiddies who need the playground if we make sure that the Breast Pumping Stations are well used. And it should always be in that order. There is not one possible situation where I would use these facilities in another order. Let me show you what it says in my binder....
Hal: Do you think there's any way we can monetize the Breast Pumping Stations without appearing as shameless money grubbers who try to, you know, squeeze revenue out of everything in our stadium?
Joe: One time I saw Pete Rose watching a woman at a Breast Pumping Station. He was taking bets on whether 'Lefty' or 'Righty' was going to fill more bottles faster. Maybe we can make book like he did?
Hal: These types of contests could be an important source of fan engagement and, heh-heh, we would appreciate the enhanced revenue flow, but I'm concerned what Commissioner Manfred might think if we took any kind of bets.
Joe: Maybe you should ask him about it as soon as he finishes his revenue-sharing meetings with FanDuel.com and DraftKings.com.
Hal: Getting back to my question, I'm a little surprised you didn't choose our Sunrun Kids Clubhouse. As you know, Joe, we want our youngest fans to feel as if Yankee Stadium is an extension of their local park or backyard. We want to nurture their love for experiencing games in person, while providing parents the resources they need to keep their children entertained prior to and during the game.
Joe: During the game? Isn't that what the game is for?
Hal: Well, no, that's what the "MasterCard Batter's Eye Deck", located on the 200 level in center field and "Bullpen Landings" on the 100 level in left and right field are for.
Joe: Hmmm.  Some of the guys are asking where the Breast Pumping Stations would be located and if cell phone cameras will be allowed.
Hal: We were originally going to put them behind the soccer goals we keep in the basement when they're not playing soccer games here in the stadium.  But then, one of our junior interns suggested that the Breast Pumping Stations are themselves a type of gourmet food court, so we went with it.  It was genius, I tell ya.
Oh, and I know you can be set in your ways, Joe, so you'll be happy to hear that fans will only be allowed to use the Breast Pump Stations for the gender they were assigned at birth.
Joe: That reminds me, Hal. Page 133(A)(i) of my binder indicates that, if we start a successful promotion with Match.com, in later years we'll actually get more customers for the Breast Pumping Stations, but only if we do the promotion in that specific order and no other.  We need to a shoot for a B.P.S. Usage Ratio of 100 or better.  
Fans: (voiceover): Where the hell do we go for a beer and a hot dog in this place?


LBJ Bonus Commentary: It's only a matter of time before naming rights are sold and these things are rechristened as the Calgon Breast Pumping Stations.


With cell phone chargers and breast pump stations, the Yankees plan to offer an exciting new experience!!!

Great news for non-fans! Your prayers have been heard. The Tankees are spending bigly to improve the "ol' ballpark." The team will add seven (7) new "social gathering spaces," including bars, food stands, restaurants, a kiddie playground, cell phone chargers, breast pump stations and an in-game liposuction clinic! (Actually, no tummy tucks - but why not?) Yes, friends, you read it right: The Yankees are getting breast enhancements, the mothers' milk of pure pinstriped pride and passion!

(Side Note: On the matter of breasts, let's remember that the Yankees are always playing catch-up with their silicon-basted rivals, the bosomy, bra-bursting Bosocks. As you can see, when the traditional Redsock icon at the right is turned on its side, it becomes a giant pair of red boobs filled with three pair of white boobs. Dear God, it's practically a blow-up sex toy.)

The stadium enhancements offer new opportunities for fans to drink, spend money, count steps on their Fitbit bracelets and fidget on their phones, in case the game is dull. A huge open sports lounge means the party will be going the distance - you can carouse and mingle and - who knows? - maybe hookup for a quick pop. A trip to Yankee Stadium will be like visiting your favorite mall: You can do Starbucks, eat a steak, disco dance and pump your breasts as dry as the oilfields outside Houston. And it's just the start. Someday, we can envision a monorail whisking us to the Yankee World of Tomorrow, where animated automations of Jeet and Mo describe great moments in team history. Our brand is getting a service-friendly makeover, just in case the franchise is down for a while. We're boosting our W.A.E. - Wins Above Enhancement.

Insert sigh here.

I've never been to the new stadium. Seven years, and I'm still angry. It's my fault. I just thought it was a bad idea, ripping down a perfectly good ballpark, especially one that folks commonly described as a cathedral. Back when Rudy Giuliani was greasing the skids for the new park, I still didn't think we would do it. I figured somebody would stand up and say, "Are you nuts? You can't tear down the original Yankee Stadium! It's a piece of American culture. It's our Westminster Abbey. It's our Colosseum. It's the House That Ruth Built! You can fix it, you can improve it, but you CAN'T replace it." But nobody came forward, and tear it down we did.

And then - even to this day - when Yankee old-timers return, the YES announcers will say they are back at the old stadium - which is something right out of Orwell's vision about changing the past, because none of them ever played here. Nope, the Yankees tore it down, built a new one and still pretend nothing changed... and - aww, hell - I guess I'm a lousy fan, not willing to shell out to support poor Hal, whose billion dollar gift from the taxpayers will soon offer a new party lounge.

I wonder if there will be money left over for a closer? Breast pumps aren't cheap.

Monday, October 24, 2016

It's time we talked about Chase

In the comments sections, one of you guys recently nailed the essence of Chase Jordan Headley: It's how he shakes his head, grimacing, as he trots back to the dugout after a popup. He's not faking it. He really wanted to deliver a hit. It didn't work. So sad. So... sad... sad... sad...

In May, he'll turn 33. We have him for two more seasons at $13 million per. He's not getting better. After a near MVP year in San Diego, way back in 2011, Chase has settled into a comfortable orbit somewhere out there between Saturn and your anus: Over the last four seasons, he's never hit more than 14 HRs or .259. Among MLB third basemen, he ranks 19th in BA, 15th in OBP and 22nd in HRs - tied with Adonis Garcia, (whom we jettisoned as an OF,) and behind Yangervis Solarte - (15 HR, 71 RBI, whom we originally traded for Headley), and Eduardo Nunez, (whom we traded to Minnesota for the great single A pitcher Miguel Sulbaran.) That's not to mention the most intriguing 3B of the bunch - Ronald Torreyes - whose plucky at bats all season only gave more cause for Chase to shake his head and grimace. So... sad.

Can you imagine Trump browbeating Hal Steinbrenner in a debate over who should own the Yankees. "YOU GAVE UP GARCIA! YOU GAVE UP SOLARTE! YOU GAVE UP NUNEZ! YOU'RE PAYING THIS GUY THIRTEEN MILLION! THIRTEEN MILLION! HOW STUPID CAN YOU BE? THIRD BASE IS A DISASTER! NOBODY HITS! NOBODY SCORES! YOU CAN'T RUN DOWN TO THIRD WITHOUT GETTING SHOT!"

(Where have you gone George Steinbrenner, our nation turns it's lonely eyes to you.)

Of course, we got Headley - in part - for his smooth glove. Among third basemen, he ranks 6th in fielding percentage with only 10 errors. (Garcia made 17 - which means he's not really an alternative, and Solarte and Nunez both played multiple positions.) On a great Yankee team, he'd be Scott Brosius, and all would be forgiven. On a team that struggles to score three runs - well - it's not okay.

The Yankee 3B malaise has gone on since Greg Nettles arrived from Cleveland, and at this point, I wonder if I'll see a remedy in my lifetime. I mean, it's been a horror show; we even tried Kevin Youkilis.

Still, two more years of Headley? Dear God. Shoot me now. I've seen enough. They can move Starlin Castro - he certainly has the arm - but what about 2B? They've clearly decided Rob Refsnyder is no infielder, which sort of kills his career. We have a 3B dude in Double A: 21-year-old Miguel Andujar, whose $750,000 bonus topped our 2011-12 international signings. In nearly 290 at bats at Trenton, Andujar hit .266 with 2 HRs. Not exactly Manny Machado - but hey, he's young for the league. Andujar supposedly has a gun: They claim he can throw a 95-mph fastball, so if he doesn't start hitting... oh, fukkit... but that's what they say.

What to do about Headley? Jeez, I dunno. I like the guy, but would love to see him gone. I just can't take any more sad faces. And the legacy of rented Yankees - guys like Headley, McCann, and Ellsbury - could be Hal's future reluctance to sign even middling free agents - he's already sworn off the big name auctions. Now, he has reason to avoid everybody. And I almost don't blame him.

So here's the best deal I can imagine: We play Headley another year - another nerdy season - and hope Andujar shows a sign of life, moves up to Scranton. If he doesn't, well - we'll think of something. Maybe we can move Castro and wait for Gleyber Torres and/or Jorge Mateo to play 2B. It's a grim thought - another year of Headley. But realistically, what else can we expect? So sad.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Now Pitching for The Whites


New York's Gabriel Sherman reports
On Monday, Breitbart plans to announce former Red Sox pitcher and Trump supporter Curt Schilling will begin hosting a daily online radio show featuring political commentary and calls from listeners. The broadcast will eventually include a video livestream. 
If you haven't actually read Breitbart.com, do it sometime. You'll learn about all of the terrible things people of color are doing to white people, women are doing to men, gays to straights. It's a PC safe space for blubbering racist dipshits, and--because of its Anti-Semetic Reverse-Golem, Trump--Republicans across the country are dancing to its tune.

Cubs v Indians: An Empirical Evaluation of Which World Series Team Yankee Fans Should Support, Based on Fact Analysis and Empirical Evaluation.

Everybody has his or her personal preference, and that's okay. This is America. We live in a free country. No jackbooted fan thugs will kick in your door, simply for supporting the wrong team. That said, have you no shame? Do you want to live your life without even a shred of Yankeeistic forethought and decency?

I thought not. That's why I've devised an easy scientific analysis to discern which team each and every one of us MUST support, in this New World (series) Order. I suggest you print it out and tape it to a corner of your TV screen.

An Empirical Evaluation of Which World Series Team Yankee Fans Should Support, Based on Fact Analysis and Empirical Evaluation.

Reasons to root for each team, based on a qualitative 10-point scale.
(Note: * Denotes points awarded because of pain for Boston fans to see.) 


Cleveland Indians
Sympathy for having to live in Cleveland... 3.0 points.
Sympathy for long world series drought... 2.5.
Swept Redsocks*... 8.7.
Beat Toronto... 3.0.
ex-Yank Zach McAllister (dealt for Austin Kearns in 2010, ugh)... 2.0.
ex-Yank Andrew Miller... 8.5.
ex-Redsock Mike Napoli*... 3.2.
ex-Redsock Coco Crisp*,,, 2.7.
ex-Redsock mgr Terry Francona*... 4.1.
Carlos Santana, namesake of great guitarist... 0.5.
Rock Hall of Fame (assuming if keeps out Journey)... 0.3.
LeBron James, true Yankee fan... 0.50 points.
Chief Wahoo... MINUS 7.5

TOTAL YANKCENTRIC SCORE: 31.8 Yankee Sterling Hexometers

Chicago Cubs
Sympathy for having to live in Chicago... 2.8 points.
Sympathy for long world series drought... 4.0.
Beat Los Angeles... 3.9.
Beat Washington... 1.3.
ex-Yank Aroldis Chapman... 7.4.
ex-Redsock John Lackey*... 4.8
ex-Redsock John Lester*... 5.9.
Javier Baez (why Cubs dealt us Starlin Castro)... 2.2
rock band Chicago - (Does Anybody Know What Time It Is?)... 0.49
Bill Murray supporting... 0.4.
Theo Epstein... MINUS 5.8

TOTAL YANKEECENTRIC SCORE: 35.4 Yankee Sterling Hexometers

Suggested preference: Chicago in 7.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

It's time we talked about Brian McCann.

Over the last two years, Brian McCann has been, by far, the scariest Yankee. He's big, burly - built like one of those evil movie bad guys who somehow still gets beaten up by Tom Cruise. Can you imagine how terrifying McCann would be in clown makeup? Jeez, if Stephen King ever does a remake of "IT," this guy can play Pennywise. Jeeeeez, I'm getting creeped out, just thinking about it.

It's those eyes. McCann is ferocious. When the Yankees signed him three winters ago, they compared him to Thurman Munson, which is one hell of a thing to say about any incoming Yankee. But we all knew why: That moment with Atlanta, when he refused to let Carlos Gomez touch home plate after dissing a Brave pitcher - still one of the greatest baseball YouTubes ever. This was the guy we compared to Thurm. Goddamm!

Moral of the story: Whatever we do, we must first and foremost treat Brian McCann with dignity, respect, courtesy, gratitude - all those things gone in Presidential politics -  otherwise, he'll disappear into a sewer grate and haunt us for generations.

And while we're here, let's dispel the notion that McCann's career was tanked by defensive over-shifts. (That's Mark Teixeira.) McCann gave opposite fields a try. Every now and then, he'd check his swing and slap a grounder into the left field corner and find himself laughing his ass off at second base. Trouble is, he didn't do it often enough to break the over-shift.

To the right are his stats for the last five years - games, at bats, HRs, RBIs and average. Note the consistency. In fact, he practically had the same season this year than in his final two in Atlanta. He always hits about 20 HRs. He always drives in about 60 runs. He always hits what he always hits.

But these are not the numbers you want from your 1B or DH. These are not the stats you want from a guy hitting 3rd, 4th or 5th. On a really good team, these are the stats of your seventh man. And here's the rub: Next year, at age 33 and relegated to backing up Gary Sanchez, McCann's stats will surely decline.

Contractually, we have him for two years, both at $17 million, plus an option for a third. Seventeen million is a hell of a lot to spend on a backup catcher, and 58 RBIs is just not enough from your DH.

Meanwhile, Austin Romine, who will be 28 this year, also hit .242 - with 4 HRs, 26 RBIs in 165 at bats. If Romine played the entire season, the only difference would be fewer home runs, and who knows - maybe the power will come. (There is one other difference - Romine bats RH, same as Sanchez, so we lose the platoon part.)

There's no other way. It's time to trade McCann.

If we don't, we will be shopping him next winter, age 34, when his numbers are even less appealing. I have no idea what we can get for him. But it has to be more than for dealing Romine or going with three catchers, and also parking in Scranton forever the extremely intriguing prospect Kyle Higashioka - who blossomed at age 25 this year. They say Higashioka changed his swing and hit 21 HRs - and .276 - at Scranton and Trenton. He has long been touted as the best defensive catcher in the Yankee farm system. We can't let him rot in Triple A.

It's simple: We either trade the young guys or the old guy.

I have no idea what we can get for McCann. Once, we traded Francisco Cervelli for Justin Wilson, who was then converted into Luis Cessa and Chad Green - a deal hailed by the YES men throughout the second half of 2016. McCann is better than Cervelli was at the time of the trade. (Cervelli, now 30, is a very popular Pirate; he hit .265 last year with 1 HR, but suffered injuries - the bugaboo he always faced with the Yankees.) 

We certainly cannot give McCann away. But if we keep him, next year, right around now, we will be facing the same dilemma: What do you do with a $17 million backup catcher? That's a thought almost as horrific as a clown staring up from a sewer grate.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Curt the Blurt: "I don’t understand how people of Jewish faith can back the Democratic Party,”

The pride of the Redsocks, Curt Schilling, went on CNN to talk politics. It didn't go well.

If Trump owned the Yankees...

We would reject the rigged 2016 AL East outcome.

During games, we would seat opposing players' ex-wives behind the dugout. (Their current wives would sit in the Owner's Box, being groped.)

We'd buy all players from China.

Instead of a facial hair code, we'd have a hairstyle code. (And a skin code: Orange.)

"If you're walking down to first, you get shot!"

Under-performing Yankees would be lambasted in 3 a.m. Tweets.

After we beat Boston, they go to jail.

We'd bar sportswriters.





Twenty eighteen... the year that matters

I hate to say it, but - unless Hal turns into Cher on buying free agents - 2017 looks like a tax write-off. Without a 2009-esque splurge - that is, we sign the likes of Encarnacion, Rich Hill and El Chapo - the Evils next year should again trend near .500 and probably jusssssssst miss yet another Wild Card.

See for yourself. Without a large-scale Hal Mary money infusion, we must improve by trading Gardner and McCann - and/or the youth we spotlighted in July. Right now, here's the lineup.

c Gary Sanchez
lb Greg Bird, Tyler Austin or TBA.
2b Starlin Castro
ss Didi Gregorius
3b Chase Headley or TBA.
cf Ellsbury
lf Hicks, Mason Williams or TBA.
rf Aaron Judge or TBA
dh TBA or TBA-2

sp  Tanaka, CC, Pineda, Cessa, Green, Mitchell, Severino, TBA
rp  Betances, Warren, Clippard, TBA, TBA, TBA.

Without a blast of new free agents - would just one matter? - we're depending on Sanchez, Bird, Judge, Severino, Cessa and Green to come up big next year. It's naive to think they'll all make it. The thing about prospects: They break your heart. We must also avoid major injuries, and when does that ever happen? Finally, Brian Cashman must make lop-sided deals - near bank robberies of other teams - and the cherry on top must be that Boston somehow tanks. What are the odds?

So... the prevailing strategy of every off-season move must be to think about 2018. By then, the verdict will be in on Sanchez, Bird, Williams, Judge, Austin, Severino, Cessa and Green - not to mention Aaron Hicks and - the absolute last chance - Pineda. By then, Clint Frazier, Jorge Mateo, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Justus Sheffield, James Kaprielian and Dominic Acevedo should be ready. A talent wave should be cresting. By 2019 - unless we blow it - the Yankees could be the Cubs of the AL.

So what do we do about Boston? One thing would be to keep them from getting Edwin Encarnacion - which would seemingly guarantee them the 2017 AL East. But if they beat us in a price war, they probably have to sign him for five to seven years. That's Ellsburian in scope. In 2019, he will be 36, along with Pedroia. David Price will be 34, and Hanley Ramirez will be 35. Of course, Betts, Bradley, Benintendi and Bogaerts will be in their primes. That year, the Yanks and Redsocks could be the powerhouses of the AL... maybe all of baseball. Think of it: A new rivalry, with the upstart Yankees seeking to dethrone the veteran Socks? The Bronx would come alive again... because - really - it's been dead and dying now for four years.

Listen: There is a future for the Yankees. Trouble is, it's two years away. We must be patient. And most of all, we mustn't blow it by trading away the hopes of 2018 for a quick and likely meaningless fix.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Welcome to our world, Toronto

Greetings, Torontonians and unhorsed Canadians! Congrats on a great season! You almost did it. One hit here or there! I really thought you had a chance! Oh well, there's always next year! Pitchers and catchers, barely four months away! Do you have the roof rake ready? Oh, one other thing... can we borrow Edwin Encarncion's phone number?

And so does Toronto's time at the top come to an end. This winter - this cold, cold winter - they must either shell out massive bucks for Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion - or they'll go back into hibernation in the depths of the AL East. They had two shots at the post-season, and both fell short. One hit here or there... so close, and yet... so far away.

Lo, the cruel vagaries of professional sports! Once, the Yankees were the one team in America that you could always count on. Folks either loved them or hated them. They bought pennants, and it was wonderful. I personally never felt guilt about rooting for the Yankees, because I figured everything else in the the world was rigged against me - (Trump, Trump, Trump) - but at least on the baseball diamond, I was a billionaire. There's something to be said for joyous escapism. The Yankees were my Cuervo Gold.

No more. Today, they feel more like a pack of cigarettes, when you're trying to quit. There seem to be three ways to build a successful pro team.

1. Be terrible for three to five years. Eventually, you'll draft a star, or in the case of Washington, maybe two. By losing, and losing, and losing, you never forfeit top draft picks, and come July, you can regularly trade bloated veterans for a prospect or two. Of course, you can screw up the draft picks and blow the trades, and it might take five to seven years - but if you stick to losing, losing, losing... eventually, you'll win.

This year, the Yankees finally adapted to this reality.

2. Get the taxpayers to build you a breathtaking new stadium. The infusion of public money is God's gift to the billionaires who own pro sports franchises. Usually, it guilts the owner into digging deep for a few free agents.

The Yankees did this in 2009, when the new stadium - buttressed with tax breaks - opened, and we signed CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Mark Teixeira.

By the way, the U.S. Constitution originally argued for something called "separation of church and state." Well, that ship has sailed. How about a separation of sports and state? How about a Constitutional amendment that forbids taxpayer money to go to any privately owned sports franchise? Ahh, dream on.

3. Cheat, in some nefarious and covert way. Only God and a few trainers know if the great Yankees-Redsocks rivalry of the early 2000s was a product of drug-fortified steroidal rages. The Cardinals hacked opposing teams' computers. Boston was recently caught bundling huge bonuses to sign 16-year-old Latinos. Today, when a pro team constantly wins - see New England Patriots - odds are they're getting away with something. Wait... is there a Boston component to all this?

So happy winter, Canada! See you back in the playoffs - oh, I'd say - around 2022. And find that roof rake. You'll soon need it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Campaign slogans for Curt Schilling



Can't run a business, can't broadcast games... why not elect him!

Homophobic Fever: Catch it!

Here's the pitch: Low and in the dirt.

Vote for Curt, or he'll eat your town.

Tolerance: Kiss it goodbye!

A business record as bloody as his sock.

The national treasure... (outside of Rhode Island.)

Because he's run out of other careers.

"Rump! Rump! Rump!"

Who needs health insurance, anyway?

He ended one curse. Let's start a new one!

He'll paint the truth like he painted that sock. 

Save the whale!

(Note: I get it that some of you like his politics: Fine. I respect your opinion. But seriously... vote Redsock?) 

To truly claim a "curse," the Cubs need one more otherworldly post-season collapse

I used to view the difference between the Yanks and Cubs as that of Jeffrey Maier and Steve Bartman: One fan giveth, and one fan taketh away. It's now been 20 years since Maier - then 12 - caught Jeter's HR against Baltimore, electrifying New York City and creating an aura around the Yankees. It's been 13 years since Bartman snagged the foul pop, leaving the sad Cubbies just five outs from the World Series, as close as they've ever been since.

Damn... it used to be so easy: Yanks blessed, Cubs jinxed... That's how I saw it. And the lords of baseball sure recognized a good thing: They sold the Curse of the Bambino and the Curse of the Billy Goat - golden marketing opportunities for a modern age.

Well, these days, we don't look so blessed, and the Cubs sure don't look cursed. In fact, like the Redsocks, Chicago is poised to contend, if not dominate, for years to come. They lost last night, but they have enough talent to rebound, and if they fail this year, their fan base will simply become more wilder than ever (much like the Toronto crowds, who are throwing beer cans.) A few near- misses, as painful as they would be, will give the Cubs a huge gift: The marketable curse.

It's been 12 years since Babe Ruth's "curse" did the impossible - making the Redsocks into an sympathetic underdog to a generation of privileged frat boys. Boston fans overlooked the franchise's country-club history of racism, PEDs, and overspending, and reveled in their new status as a long-suffering Chosen Few. Some still do, though it's a joke. Boston is the dominant franchise, its front office running circles around the Yankees. When Redsock fans cling to scraps of victim-hood, they literally must sing, Where have you gone, Dom Dimaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

But let's get back to the Cubbies. As soon as they win the Big Gulp, they won't be "the Cubbies" anymore. They'll be the potential dynasty. Look at their lineup, and you either see multiple championships or a raft of disappointments. They have the money to juice their roster, and an owner rich enough to not care about spending it, and all this Yankee fan blather about signing Aroldis Chapman this winter belies the fact that Chicago might have something else in mind.

Still, to build a marketable "curse," the Cubs need one more historic collapse. It's not enough to lose to LA this week. They must blow a five-run lead in game seven. They need a Bartman, a Javier Vazquez, a Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams. They need the World Series to roll through the wickets of their own Buckner. Then they'll have a legitimate "Curse of the Billy Goat," or "Curse of Bartman," or "Curse of the ESPN Marketing Department," whatever  Stay tuned. If they can just lose again, and maybe get a crack at Boston next year, well, the Billy Goat will be working on greatness.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

With NFL ratings tumbling, this could be MLB's big chance... if a certain Evil Empire wasn't so declawed

Sunday, the venerable Sporting News interviewed Yankee strip clubs coach special instructor Alex Rodriguez about the state of American hookers the game. And get this: For the first time, A-Rod would say there is an opening.

"I will say for the first time there’s an opening," A-Rod told me by phone before Game 2 of the National League Championship Series between the Cubs and Dodgers Sunday. "It’s up to us to take advantage of it."

The "opening" isn't a reference to Kim Kardashian's latest bra mishap. A-Rod was referring to the 10 percent drop in NFL ratings, compared with 2015. Keep in mind: A 3 percent drop would give Robo-Commissioner Roger Goodell night sweats. Ten percent means pro football has had a worse October than Billy Bush. The NFL's historically invulnerable ratings had survived Ray Rice, Aaron Hernandez, concussion suicides multiple crimes against female humanity and a pile of "gates" - Deflategate, Bountygate, Spygate, whatevergate. If the NFL was a person, he'd be in prison. Yet until now, the Neilsens never showed it. Suddenly, ratings are down 10 percent. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of corporate lawyers.

(Note: Some folks want to blame all this on Colin Kaepernick's sideline protests - and, yeah, some folks are pissed off, pro or con - but a 10 percent drop? Nope. Personally, I blame the 10- minute delays while booth dorks psychoanalyze every turnover and score. A dull, one-yard touchdown run - with mandatory review, extra point, commercial block, kickoff into the end zone, and then another round of commercials - can kill 15 minutes. The GEICO punch lines get stale after the third showing.)

But we were talking about A-Rod, whom the Yankees will pay $21 million next year to slap butts and avoid Page Six. Alex says football's woes are baseball's big chance: An exciting World Series could restore the pastime to - well - the Pastime. And he has a point. This is gravy time. Unfortunately, though, to fully reclaim the interest of America - (Note: I'm referring to me) - a particular marquee team needs to be in the mix. Baseball needs a team that everybody loves or hates, and, frankly, that team is still not Boston.

MLB needs a strong Yankees franchise, yet it does everything possible to turn us into the KC Royals of New York. Through luxury taxes, it instituted a de facto salary cap. Though signing bonus caps, it destroyed the competitive advantage of big markets. Next up is an international draft, which was our last opportunity to outspend the Brewers and Padres. The Yankee "Baby Bombers" will get a lot of attention this winter, but we're a Tommy John and a Kevin Maas from mediocrity through 2020 - a multi-year barf reminiscent of the 1980s - which was hardly the sport's golden age of popularity.

Of course, no one atop MLB will do anything about the Yankee malaise, aside from celebrating it. When George Steinbrenner died, so did the urgency to win. Hal pays lip-service to "contending" every season, but that's basically a factor of the additional Wild Card slot, which means anybody over .500 stays in the race through mid-September. Without an Evil Empire, the cheapskate owners get to keep their free agents and their tax breaks, too. Only problem: Come October, we watch the big series between - gulp - Cleveland and Toronto.

Of course, baseball will do well this month in the big markets of Cleveland and Toronto. Damn, I'd hate to be the Cleveland Browns or the Argonauts; good luck generating newsprint. But will fans watch in Texas? Do they hate the Indians, because of the racial implications of their name? Do they root against the Blue Jays because Bautista flips his bat. My guess: They'll tune into the last innings of the seventh game - that is, unless they're binging on Luke Cage.

The NFL's tanked ratings may or may not continue, but you better believe that, come January, the league will have one big advantage. The Cowboys and Patriots will make the playoffs, and everybody loves or hates them. The reason, of course, is Jerry Jones and Bill Belichik - an owner and coach who stops at nothing - even cheats - to win every year. The Yankees were once baseball's version of this. So yes, baseball could have had an opening: this fall. Unfortunately, it closed.

Monday, October 17, 2016

It's pitching, pitching, pitching, and we need help, help, help

Over the last two seasons, whenever Max Scherzer pitched, I pictured him as a Yankee. I can't help it. Think about it: Last year, in the Wild Card debacle, The Scherz could have blanked Houston, and it could have been us rolling through October. This year, behind Max (he went 20-7), it could be us facing Cleveland. And we'd have Andrew Miller! Hell, when fantasizing, why hold back? Jeez Louise, one big free agent pitcher could have spared us the pitiful malaise of the last three years!

And 15 years ago, when old George ran the show, we would have signed Max, just as we did Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi, et all. Those were the days, boys - but they're not coming back under Food Stamps Hal and MLB's new socialist financial structure. Other teams sign the stars. while we procure Headleys and Castros. We even let Robbie Cano walk, rather than pay too much. (And yes, the deal Seattle gave him was absurd.)

But getting back to Max... we need one, desperately. And if we must trade for one, well, good luck with that. Proposed packages for Chris Sale are flat out ridiculous. We'd give up almost everyone last summer's youth movement - and then again, who doesn't think Sale would then wreck his shoulder? We either develop an ace - Luis Severino, are you there? - or do what Boston did with David Price - close our eyes and dig deep. (Stephen Strasburg, are you there?)

So... a note on Strasburg. He is property of the Nats until after 2019, when an opt-out clause kicks in. He'd be 30. It's more likely that Washington trades him beforehand because - get this - he's slated to be paid - gulp - $38 million - in 2019, due to deferred money. My guess: the Nats will shop him like a bag of hot diamonds. That's when the Yankees could come in - for better or worse - and frankly, I dunno.

I say all this to note that help is NOT on the way. Last year, the Yankees ranked 15th (out of 30 teams) with a 4.16 ERA. For all the carping by Redsock fans, their staff ranked 9th with a 4.00 ERA. Our ace - Masahiro Tanaka - ranked 12th among starters. Next winter, at age 28, he can opt-out of his current deal. We'll have to shell out just to keep him.

Next year, Sabathia will be 36, facing his final Yankee season. Pineda will be 28 and, unless he magically changes, he'll be leaving. After those three, we go to Severino (who will be 23), Luis Cessa (who will be 25) and Chad Green and Bryan Mitchell (both to be 26.) In other words, it's a crap shoot. Losing Nathan Eovaldi was the biggest injury of 2016. We pitched him until he fell.

As fans, it's fun to picture Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier, Greg Bird and Gary Sanchez pounding the opposition for years to come. But it won't matter unless we find a quality starter. Right now, the pickings look bleak.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Retrieval Empire seems to have lost its golden touch on the scrap heap

This year, at age 36, Rich Hill finally figured out major league hitters. He won 12, lost 5, and pitched to an ERA of 2.12 with LA and Oakland. Who knew this would happen? The guy has bounced around for eight years, even pitched for the Yankees in 2014. Suddenly, he figures everything out? Go figure.

Then there is Toronto's J.A. Happ, who pitched last night. He's 33 and been an J.A. Happ throughout his career. Suddenly, he's Cy Happ - 20-4 on the year. Twenty and four. Where would Toronto be without him? Probably where we are -at home.

In some alt-right fantasy universe, the Yankees signed these guys for two Genny Creams and a bottle opener, and we won the division. In fact, for several years in the 2000s, Brian Cashman prided himself on scrap heap pickups - especially aging pitchers. Cash's dumpster diving peaked in 2011, when he signed Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, two apparent basket cases that generated yawns from the fan base. They became bulwarks of the rotation. Unfortunately, Cash we let Bartolo walk and kept Freddy, who was ready for the Elmer's Glue factory.

The fact is, if the Yankees had kept Colon, we might have made the post-season for the last four years, instead of being bridesmaids with skin conditions. Bartolo has been one of MLBs best starters, and Met fans love him - in part, because our highly (self) esteemed front office and coaching staff royally botched it.

We've now gone five years without a scrap heap treasure. (If you want to argue that Blake Parker was a "find," be my guest. Also, feel free to mention Chris Capuano. And Chris Bootcheck!) Much of this is - of course - pure, unadulterated luck. Oakland won the Rich Hill lottery. So maybe 2017 will be the year our luck changes, right? Maybe we get next year's Hill and Happ.

Well, I dunno. For a while now, we've been waiting for the legendary pitching guru Larry Rothschild to spin some knucklehead into gold. He was going to do it with Michael Pineda. He was going to do it with Nathan Eovaldi. He was going to do it with Luis Severino. And Esmil Rogers. And Ivan Nova. And let us not forget the ultimate disappointment: Joba Chamberlain.

Listen: If Joe Girardi is going to remain the Yankees manager, he gets to pick his pitching coach. I get that. He can select Dopey Dildox, if he wants, and as far as we're concerned, that's China Town, Jake. Still, the next time I hear some boot-licking Yankee YES-bot about how the guru Larry Rothchild is going to reclaim somebody, I'm going to strangle a neighborhood puppy. We are Happ-less... and long overdue.

(Note: Because the Redsocks were swept, I am not complaining. As you know, I promised the juju gods that I would not complain, in exchange for a quick Redsock exit. I am NOT complaining. I am merely marveling at how our luck is surely about to change. That horseshit under the Christmas tree surely means there is a pony waiting out back.)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Yanks Lose Out on Pineda Trade

I started drinking mimosa's early at some dockside joint to ready myself for Cubs/Dodgers, game one of the NL championship series.

The problem is that the offer of breakfast included unlimited mimosas.  As in, all you can drink until the bell rings for lunch.

The Cubs game comes on early out here and, by then, I had switched to a local lager.

To make a long story short, I rallied when the Cubs lost the 3-1 lead in the 8th ( our trade bait Chapman finally gave up a hit ), and Cubs fans faces froze with, " the look."  Granted, I too was reeling.

MUCH TO MY AMAZEMENT, the Cubs bring up Montero to pinch hit in the bottom half of the 8th, with two down and the bases loaded. On an 0-2 count, he cranks one into the right field seats for a grand slam, and blows the game open.

Now, there can be no doubt.

With the inconsistent, losing season Pineda recorded, we definitely got the short end of the Montero trade.  A grand slam in a key playoff game in front of the home crowd?

Wow.

Ten reasons why the Yankees must sign R.A. Dickey

1. He's only 41. That's no typo. Forty-one. Jeez Louise, for a knuckle-baller, that's gum-chewing, undropped-gonads pre-adolescence. Tim Wakefield pitched to age 44. Phil Niekro made it to 48. (I think brother Joe still pitches for the Newark Bears.) He's got two more years, maybe 10.

2. He's already succeeded in NYC, had his best year as a Met. He knows the media, the sushi restaurants, the hookers, the corners where you can buy Rolexes for $5! damn - even the secret bars that offer Utica Club on tap! (Fuck the microbreweries! U-C!) He's probably still subletting his house in Westchester. Bring him home!

3. He won't cost us our first-round draft pick next June. This is critical. We've finally started drafting consensus, high-ceiling (and expensive) studs, instead of whimsical, dart board (and inexpensive) projects, (Hello, Cito Culver.) Toronto won't give him a $17 million qualifying offer. (He made just $12 million this year.) We'd buy him without going back into youth hibernation.

4. He devours innings the way Paul O'Neill does press box buffet entries. (Coney is always in awe.) When all our 2017 rookies are sitting in Dr. Andrews waiting room, he'll still be out there. This guy will save not only our rotation but our bullpen.

5. We won't have to face the goddamm somebeeech no more. This could be the only reason, and it would still work. Jeez, I hate hate HATE facing knuckle-ballers. Back when we had big hitters, the mere appearance of a knuckler always vaulted them into prolonged slumps. The best thing you can do is bench your hitters, so they don't have their timing unhinged for a month.

6. We'll keep him from signing with Boston. The Redsocks know the value of the knuckler. They already have Steven Wright, who was challenging for the Cy Young before he got hurt. We can't let them have two knuckle-buddies. It would be like giving them a six-man rotation.

7. Addenda to 6: The Redsocks and Jays would now have to face the knuckleball. They've basically been spared this. Thus, their big, free-swinging lineups will get to see what they've missed. Suck on it.

8. The guy is smart. He writes obscure novels. Do you know how much discipline it takes to write an obscure novel? Try it sometime. As he grows older, he'll use his high-brow sensibilities to craft new ways to outsmart hitters. Think of each at bat as a plot twist, each pitch a literary device. Considering their new guidelines, if he pitches well, maybe the Nobel Committee will someday give him the Literary Prize. Or at least a Peabody.

9. He'll bring the amazing secrets of his knuckler to our franchise. We will crack open the sacred vault of knuckle knowledge. How does it work? What happens when you throw it. How the fuck does a guy throw 70 miles per hour and strike out professional hitters? Frankly, we need a guy who can teach the knuckle ball. He could be a great coach. Let's get him into the organization and start developing our own knucklers.

10. Without a beard, damn - he'll look like he's only 35! I bet he has his best year since the Mets. GET HIM, HAL, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Yankees must continue the sell-off

This winter's Four Horesmen Questions of the Apocalypse are simple ones:

1. Are we a country or a kingdom?

2. Do we trust algorithms over instinct?

3. Are we spiritual beings or organic machines?

4. Will the Yankees backtrack on their 2016 youth movement?

Let's study - hm-mm - number four! Will the Eve-Emp this winter abandon the long game, which began July 31 with the sell-off of its three best players. As the 2017 free agent signing period takes shape, fears start anew that we will merely go back to the bottle and sign the next generation of Ellsburys, Headleys and McCanns (oh my...)

Two days ago, MLB's Jim Callis gushed about the newly regenerated Yankee farm system, saying it might be the deepest in all of baseball. (Key word: Might.) Yesterday, we placed six kids on MLB's Top 100 prospect list. (They are Frazier 15th, Torres 17th, Mateo 18th, Judge 22nd, Rutherford 50th, and Sheffield 78th.) That's great news, but let's put it into context: Boston placed five, including the top two - (Yoooooooooooooan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi). We may have more depth, but their system is exploding and, frankly, they have a superior success rate - compared to our track record of Jesus Montero hype and Zolio Almonte whatever. When Gary Sanchez makes the All-Star team, and when Aaron Judge has 30 HRs to his name, we can move from expectations to reality. But we're not there yet.

So let's ponder the top free agents on the market this winter. According to Moonlighting Mike Axisa in a different gig - CBS Sports - here's the list of those players most likely to receive qualifying offers from their teams:

Jose BautistaBlue Jays
Yoenis CespedesMets (assuming he exercises opt-out clause)
Ian DesmondRangers
Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays
Dexter FowlerCubs (assuming he declines his half of his $9 million mutual option)
Jeremy HellicksonPhillies
Kenley JansenDodgers
Mark TrumboOrioles
Justin Turner, Dodgers


Axisa expects each to get the QO, which means the Yankees would forfeit their first round pick next June. Screw dat. Those players should be off the board. Forget them.

But there are others out there, who won't cost us picks. Two closers leap out, both former Yankees, and all they cost is a shitload of money. Of course, I'm referring to Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon. Either would solve a huge issue - our bullpen on fumes - without crippling our future farm. We have big money coming off the books this winter - Tex and Beltran, for starters - and there is no reason - beyond Food Stamps Hal Steinbrenner - why we can't go to the bank on Chapman or Melancon, or both.

You want more names? RA Dickey probably won't get a qualifying offer from Toronto. He'll pitch to age 70. Let's sign him, before Boston does. (Because they will, and he'll kill us for 10 years.) Wouldn't it be nice to see Brett Cecil shutting down the Blue Jays, instead of us? Travis Wood of the Cubs? Koji Uehara? Maybe a flier on Jared Weaver, CJ Wilson, or even Bartolo Colon? None will likely cost us a pick. This is the gene pool from which we can work.

And let's keep the sell-off going - permanently. The new reality should involve a constant trading of veterans for prospects, even though the kids won't always pan out. Let it start with Headley and McCann - invoke the Ivan Nova rule, which says we'll take Cashman's word for it and celebrate the no-names we get - and also either Gardner or Ellsbury, who have become basically the same player with different contracts. Hell, if anybody wants CC Sabathia (and if he wants to go), make him available.

The youth movement of 2016 must not end. It should be just starting. And from now on until the day we die, it should be the new reality of the Yankees: Never give up a draft pick, and never stop hoarding prospects.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

I could live with Indians v. Cubs, but Jays v. Dodgers might be in our best interests

An Indians fan once asked, what is my second team? I asked WTF? He explained how Clevelandonians have been so relentlessly beaten over the centuries that the fans often picked a second team, one that might actually win something. I said he should choose the Yankees. (This was 1999; I'd never make that suggestion now.) He became testy, turned a bit potty-mouthed and said the Yankees are his 29th team, and so the conversation turned to UFOs and shape-shifting lizard aliens. (After all, this was a Cleveland fan.)

Being the nice guy that I am - and also wishing to thank the Clevelandites for gutting the Redsock Nation before Columbus Day, I find myself nearly designating Chief Wahoo's tribe as my second team. Likewise, I'm sort of rooting for the Cubs because a victory would end this stupid "Curse" crapola, once and for all. If the Cubs win, Chicago will go crazy, scores will be killed, buildings will fall into the lake, and the very next day, everybody will wake up with their cars needing the same brake job as before, and they'll slowly realize that all pro sports championships are elitist-based fraudulent lies, and that they will soon be forced to watch meaningless seasons of a repugnant, soul-less, mercenary-empowered game that nobody - certainly not me, DEFINITELY NOT ME - gives one flying, hamstrung hoot about. Fuck dat.

But... here's a thought:

If Toronto wins the big golden turd, it will up the price tag on Edwin Encarnacion, the free agent slugger most likely to become an evil Redsock this winter. It will tie up more of John Henry's money. Right now, Boston fans will tell you over and over, again and again, and then over and again - how incredibly smart they are - how they have $28 million coming off the books due to Papi's retirement, and that Encaracion will fit their lineup like a condom, and how with Moncada, a full year of Benentendi and Encaracion, they will be even better in 2017. And damn, they might be right. (I don't foresee the Yankees chasing Encarnacion, unless they scrap their entire youth movement. We're much more likely to chase a closer.)

So here's the deal: If Toronto wins, their billionaire owner will feel more pressure to keep Encarnacion, and his price will rise. Boston might have to give him a seven year deal, which will eventually haunt them. If Toronto wins, Boston will pay more... or walk away.

Likewise, a Washington world championship would probably up the price on our Bryce Harper, who grew up wanting to play for the Yankees. Cashman seems to be streamlining our payroll structure to coincide with Harper's 2020 free agency. Frankly, I hope we don't tie up our entire franchise onto one player - it has a whiff of Rickie Henderson II - but if Harper is tired of losing in Washington, he might want to join the Yankees, who should be on the rise around 2019. Wouldn't it be nice to have Harper in an outfield with Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier (assuming they both turn out as we hope?)

Best scenario: Jays v. Dodgers. Or am I missing something?