Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Posted by el duque at 7:20 AM
I woke up before dawn, eyes wide open, thinking, "Did Christmas happen? Did Santa come?" I wriggled from bed and scampered barefoot down the stairs, in awe of the miracle that might await me. There, I beheld an unforgettable yuletide vision: Perched under the tree, wrapped in bright bows and tinsel, was Jason Giambi - naked and cradling an empty quart bottle of Jim Beam. The milk and cookies we had left had been puked into the fireplace, but I didn't care. Santa had fulfilled my dreams - a DH/1B who could hit 30 HRs. "Mommy, Daddy," I cried. "We just won the AL East!"
These days, just a memory. Come Sunday, I'll wake up at noon, pop a handful of Zantacs, turn on the NFL Pre-Game and open the empty three boxes under my tree - knowing what's inside: Rumors.
Rumor Number One: The Yankees are "interested" in Jose Quintana. (By the way, so is everybody else in baseball, along with whatever Kardashian is still available.) Clearly, the White Sox are playing the same strategy that Hal adopted last July, after six years of swimming against the undertow: They want to horde prospects. The question is whether they - or us - will show the discipline to see that plan to its fruition.
Listen: I'd love to have Quintana. He'll turn 28 next month. He's a lefty. He's one of the AL's best pitchers. But he has thrown 800-plus innings over the last four years: Folks, that's Javier Vasquez Country. And Chicago will demand a couple kidneys and a liver. Lately, we've gotten drunk on Top 10 Prospect lists, which usually put the same names up top (Gleyber, Frazier, Mateo, etc.) But our real strength is in numbers, not just the jewelry. Aaron Judge could be a flop. But Mason Williams could be a surprise. Trade either, and we can end up on the wrong side of the mirror.
One other thing: Six years ago, we had Quintana. We pissed him away. His very image should act as a Skinner Box electric jolt to remind us of the need to hold onto prospects. Somewhere in our system, maybe in Scranton, maybe in Charleston, is the next Quintana. This time, let's keep him.
(I know, I know... I sound like a prospect-hugger, which a lot of so-called "expert" Yankee bloggers love to mock. Frankly, I think it's time the Yankees tried prospect-hugging, because the quick-fix deals sure haven't worked.)
Rumor Number Two: For a month now, we've heard Brett Gardner is being shopped. Lately, the scuttlebutt is that Cashman didn't like the offers, so he'll stand pat and give Gardy another go in left field. This is another bad idea.
Let me again state my unvarnished love for Gardner. He's my fave. But there is no place for him on this team. In our current lineup, he is a virtual clone of Jacoby Ellsbury - lefty, good glove, fierce competitor, .260, no power, dwindling speed, and an injury waiting to happen. Together, at the top of the order, they leave us incredibly susceptible to even mediocre lefty starters. Last year, their lack of production was a big reason why this team couldn't score three runs in a game.
Gardy has to go. There is no plan B. By the end of next season, our left-fielder will be the One of the Aboves - Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, Aaron Hicks, Jake Cave, Clint Frazier, maybe even Matt Holliday. By then, Gardy will surely be traded. The longer we wait, the less we'll get.
Rumor Number Three: By trading Gardy - or Headley - Cratchet will clear some of Scrooge's money so that we can afford a Christmas turkey. Imagine running downstairs in your pajamas to find, amid the ribbons and bows, Boone Logan. Jeez, were we that naughty?