Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Posted by el duque at 7:24 AM
But I'm here today to ponder two characters who, at least for now, have been written out of the Yankee narrative... Cito Culver and Jake Cave, neither of whom got the call yesterday. Wherever they are, their dreams must have taken a jolt.
Only brain-damaged Yankee hard-liners know the name Cito Culver, and for the most part, it conjures derision. Poor guy had the good/bad luck of being our first pick in 2010, a year that will live forever in Yankee draft infamy. Our "guru," Darren Oppenheimer played a losing strategy, picking Culver first so he could lavish more money on lower picks (like Mason Williams.) He selected Culver two choices ahead of Aaron Sanchez, four ahead of Noah Syndergaard - and we whiffed on one of the most fruitful drafts in history. (Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Drew Pomerance, Matt Harvey... don't make me go any further...)
But but BUT... Culver isn't done! This winter, for reasons that can only be attributed to a childhood dream, Cito re-signed with the Yankees as a minor league free agent. Yankee fans think of him as a Medicare candidate, but he is only 24 - younger than Tyler Austin, Rob Refsnyder and - yep - Mason Williams, same age as Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and Greg Bird. Last year, playing SS and 2B for Scranton, he hit .263. Okay, that won't get him to Cooperstown, but he supposedly has a rifle arm - (they once talked of having him pitch) - and if/when Didi or Starlin go down, well... who knows? Would the Yankees elevate the unseasoned Gleyber from Double A? (I doubt it.)
We drafted Cave the following year in the sixth round. His name popped out: Holy shit, a guy named Jake Cave! Of course, he immediately tweaked a blinky and missed an entire season. But from 2013 on, all he's done is hit - usually near .300, though without power. Last winter, we seemed to lose Cave to the Reds in the Rule 5 draft. They cut him at the end of spring training, and he returned to the mud mines of Moosic. Last year, Cave .268 with 8 HRs - a fine defensive OF - and everybody expected him to be lost in this winter's draft... but nobody called his name. He is 24 - younger than, fukkit, you already know.
So... I know what you're thinking: Why, why, why... am I pining over these guys? In terms of prospects, they are shells on the beach. Whether we have the best or worst farm system in baseball, there is always some hot commodity who put up numbers in Charleston. Prospects, meh. They come and go. Nobody cares... why in hell am I even thinking about these guys?
Well, here's the sad truth: I've been following Cito Culver and Jake Cave now for six long years, wondering if they'll ever amount to a late-inning pinch hit single. In many respects, it's the sickest, most ridiculous part of being a fan. You piss away countless hours, checking box scores - for what? So when the guy gets traded for a chicken salad sandwich, you feel bad. AND YET... it remains a secret joy, a daily lodestone worth touching. Now and then, one of the nobodies you picked in this embarrassing time-sink appears in a Yankee uniform! All your efforts, all your work, everything is redeemed... (and then you find out why the guy languished so long on the lane-closed bridge to Fort Lee.)
Well, fukkit, I don't care. LISTENUP, CASHMAN, YOU LITTLE CONTACT-LENS-WEARING TWERP...
BRING CITO CULVER AND JAKE CAVE TO TAMPA, GODDAMMIT!
THEY'RE GOING TO PLAY FOR THE 2017 YANKEES, AND IT IS AN OUTRAGE THAT THEY HAVE BEEN OVERLOOKED.
CULVER AND CAVE, NAMES TO SAVE!
CULVER AND CAVE, NAMES TO SAVE!
Mark these words. You heard it here.