Monday, October 31, 2016

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?)

3 comments:

John M said...

Why Adam Warren was ever taken out of the starting rotation is yet another classic managerial move by our genius (genii?) in charge. At the time, he was arguably our best starter. But if I recall, his contract wasn't big enough.

Anonymous said...

AMAZING TO THINK IF WE JUST MADE THAT ONE MOVE OF BRINGING UP SANCHEZ A FULL MONTH OR MORE SOONER, WE COULD HAVE ACTUALLY MADE THE PLAYOFFS, AND AT LEAST KEPT MILLER.......WOW, HOW WE NEED CLINT FRAZIER AND JUSTUS SHEFFIELD TO BE THE REAL DEALS, AND FAIRLY SOON.

Alphonso said...

The fatal flaw in your thinking is that Girardi could never use our players that creatively. If you are a closer, you only pitch the 9th.

If you are the set-up guy....blah, blah. Using a closer to solidify a win in a close game ( say, in the 5th or 6th inning ) does not compute with him.

So poor management has to be factored into your what if scenarios.