Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Kicked in the jewels, waiting for the pain... the Cito Culver moment hath arrived?

Sometime today, the news will emerge from its hole and look around. If it sees its shadow, the Yankiverse can expect six months more of winter. 

Most likely, it will appear unto us in a tweet, rippling across the Yankiverse. Often, breaking news appears on our comments section. That's probably what will happen. Somebody will see it, and their shrieks will rouse the rest of us. 

Obviously, I'm referring to the medical diagnosis of Didi Gregorius' shoulder, which has been described as "bruised" and "strained" and "a hematoma of the subscapularis muscle." A hematoma is a solid swelling of clotted blood between tissues. This is not Didi tweaking a gonad. It's the shoulder, the most important part of any ballplayer, after his heart. Last spring, Greg Bird announced that he'd hurt his shoulder. He's still recovering.

Today, we stand at the crossroads of four alternative fates. The bleacher beast in us wants Gleyber Torres to magically save the day. But I dunno. In the movies, Cuba Gooding Jr. joins the team, teaches the town to love, and we win the state championship. In real life, Torres is in danger of becoming over-hyped.Three weeks in March - and the notoriously unrealistic hitters' parks of the Arizona Fall League - is not enough to stick a 20-year-old Single A player into the iconic footsteps of Jeter. A reminder: Last season, at Tampa, he hit .254. There are serious reasons why Torres is not ready, and this is one of those times when we must assume Yankee coaches know what they're doing. Of course, we root for him. But you can screw up a kid's head by pushing too hard. The sixties writer John Barth ("Lost in the Funhouse") once said, "If you think you're something you're not, it will keep you from becoming what you could be." Torres could be great. We gotta protect him from our fantasy erections. So... the scenarios.

1. Didi is out for days. WTF? Why are we even discussing this? Let's get back to dissing Pineda.

2. Didi is out for weeks. No problemo. We go with Ronald Torreyes or Ruben Tejada. I'd suggest Tyler Wade in a pinch, or the 29-year-old Scrantonian Pete Kozma (who's hit .320 this spring, 98 points over his lifetime average.) Weeks? Bah. Bring in Cito Culver! We can handle weeks.

3. Didi is out for months. Problemo. As Ralph Cramden would say, "Hummina-hummina-hummina..." We can move Starlin Castro to SS and splice somebody in at 2B, but who? The Yankees long ago gave up on Rob Refsnyder's footwork, and the only players listed as 2B this spring are Castro, Thairo Estrada and Abi Avelino, two embryos. If it's months, Cashman might have to trade for a veteran, betraying every hopeful aspect of this franchise's youth movement. Frankly, I would rather see Cito Culver or another scrap heaper. Where's Donovan Solano. The dude hit .319 last year at Scranton. We won the Governor's Cup with this guy!

4. Didi is out for the year. I can't even think about this. If this is it, we just lost our best player. In my fantasy world, I figured this was Didi's year - 25 HRs and .290, maybe even .300. He would start in the sixth hole and by June, he'd be batting third. This was the dawning of the age of Gregorius. Now... if this is it... well... is Alvaro Espinosa still playing? Jeez. I dunno. Just be gentle in the comments section. I have a stent, you know.

12 comments:

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

Gleyber is the answer. Your refusal to consider it is cowardly (so to speak). The scenarios play out clearly:

1. Gleyber "found something" in the AFL, and he has maintained that "something" into Florida (against better pitching, albeit spring-training-ish). YY-Nats game yesterday, and when he came up with bases loaded (his only at-bat of the game) -- I was serene and confident. Isn't that a RARE feeling for a Yankees' fan this decade?

If this is the case, his hitting might continue. Key word: MIGHT. The guy also reportedly can field, right?

SO: He plays out the season, hits maybe .245 with some power and some RBIs. PLUS: We don't have to watch Tejada, an ex-Met. PLUS: R Torreyes keeps his job as a utility man, might be his best use (if Girardi can't start him at 3B and send Headley to AA).

2. Gleyber is a mirage. We find that out before May 15. It's likely (esp. with CC starting every 5th day) that the NYYs will be OUT OF IT by May 15 anyway. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. He is sent down to AA with valuable experience under his belt.

3. Gleyber turns out to be mediocre at SS over the first month or so. Hey, we're paying Headley a king's ransom to be mediocre, and shoveling money into The Ellsbury Pit for less-than-mediocre play. Gleyber gains MLB experience, is mediocre for a season -- at the cost of less than One Chris Carter .... what a bargain!

Chances are, we don't get the first scenario. But what if that happens? There's a tremendous upside, and very little downside. 2017 is far from a sure-thing season, isn't it? Why not take a shot?

el duque said...

Here's a scenario: Gleyber hits .207, becomes dispirited, gets sent to Trenton and basically wastes an entire year. Next winter, we trade him for a toaster oven, and he turns into the A-Rod of Milwaukee. I like the idea of him getting valuable experience under his belt. And come June 1, if he's hitting at Trenton, I'm all for him being pulled up and shoved into the spotlight. But now... this IS something to lose.

What do the rest of you think?

DutchFan said...

I know that with rosters and dollars and processes and rules and all that, it is extremely difficult to do the best thing possible: let those players play that are the best now. Some will buckle under stress,others wil thrive.
Some will have fantastic years, others will be send God knows where.

Again I know it is impossible with clauses and contracts and what have you, but I can't keep from thinking how wonderful it would be to have those play that are the best at that particular time. You can only reach the coveted Wild Card Away Game Berth if you win all year long.

Mustang said...

In the 80s, when Duque used to make beer--Steinbrenner Must Die was one of his better labels--we were always tempted to drink some before it was ready, and that was always a mistake. The Yankees could be brewing a dynasty. Let's not open bottles because we can't wait.

Leinstery said...

I want Cito Culver get the nod. Seeing him in the lineup would make me laugh long enough to forget about Didi's injury.

John M said...

I think Gleyber could do it, but would rather see him get another minor league year under his belt.

On a more expected note, Pineda gave up 3 runs in 1.2 innings. He'll never be more ready for the season.

Anonymous said...

Could this be another Wally Pipp moment? -m

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

I guess the "decision" is between the evil of Gleyber possibly hitting .207 and being "ruined" -- vs. playing Tejada or Torreyes (or both?) at SS. Play Gleyber, and you are betting (really heavily) on the odds-against-it possibility that the guy IS the real thing.

Duque is probably right. It's probably a dumb bet.

BUT: Even with that in mind: I am tired of my team choosing the supposedly"safe" option. Isn't this what this blog has been AGAINST all spring -- making deals for leftovers, signing the stars of 2011, underplaying the kids?

I can't believe my team signed Chris Carter, for example.

ALSO: I am old enough to have been at a game in the Bronx in early 1995, when Jeter fielded a ball cleanly (at shortstop) -- and heaved it into the stands behind first base. That didn't turn out so goddamn badly!

Yeah, yeah -- I know. Jeter is a comet, a one-time event. We don't know what kind of planetoid Gleyber Torres might be. Could he be a dinosaur-destroying asteroid?

I would like my team, the NYYs, to lean in favor of playing undeveloped younger players. At least in 2017. Sure, there's downside.

But if you want DOWNSIDE, you've already got it built-in -- with (at least) Chase, Ells, and Sabathia. Add Gardner to that list, if you will. The memory of McCann and Texeira refusing to hit the other way all last year -- and the anger that went with that -- remains with me.

For 2017, the idea that I might see a lot of Chris Carter and his strike-outs in 2017 is unwelcome -- esp. added to Chase, Ells, and CC (and now Pineda?). And Gardner. Whoa.

What would change some of that?

Maybe we'd see Gleyber and Billy McKinney strike out, fling the ball around the lot, and make base-running mistakes. Also, younger pitchers (Holder, Kaprelian, Montgomery) will botch a few games -- so what?

I already know that CC and Pineda are going to blow numerous games before the 5th inning. I've already seen the base-running exploits of Gardy and Ells (in 2016).

Do I have to watch a Casey Affleck movie 11 times before I decide I don't need to ever view it again? [answer: no]

Running with the kids might give me (and you), at times, a case of agita, but it sure as F would be more fun!

Duque, I can't believe you feel otherwise!!!!?????

Anonymous said...

I GOTTA GO WITH JOE FORMERLY FROM BROOKLYN.
THIS IS RIDICULOUS.....
THIARO ESTRADA?
CITO CULVER?
PETE KOZMA?
STARLIN CASTRO?
RUBEN FUCKING TEJADA?
TYLER WADE?
RIDICULOUS!
THE ANSWER IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF US.
IT'S NOT LIKE A 20 YEAR OLD NEVER PLAYED IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES BEFORE!
LET GLEYBER PLAY SHORT ALMOST EVERYDAY, TELL HIM IT'S HIS JOB FOR NOW.
WHEN DIDI COMES BACK, HE WILL GO DOWN TO DOUBLE AA NO MATTER WHAT.
WE CAN NOT LOSE UNDER THIS SCENARIO!!!!
IF GLEYBER HITS .170, HE PLAYS, IF HE MAKES 5 ERRORS IN 4 GAMES, HE PLAYS.
IF HE DOES EVEN HALFWAY DECENT, AND DIDI COMES BACK, HE WILL SAY TO HIMSELF, I AM CONFIDENT I CAN PLAY IN THE BIG LEAGUES, AND I WILL BE PREPARED FOR MY RECALL.
DO IT, THE FUTURE, IS NOW.

el duque said...

Hey, I'm with you on bringing up anybody who has played at Double A and/or Scranton. That goes for Frazier, Sheffield, Fowler, Webb, Almonte, Austin, and a dozen others. But I think Gleyber Torres needs Double A.

If he starts the year at Trenton and hits, yeah! - of course! - bring him up! That could be early June, much like when Joggy Cano arrived, a long time ago.

Keep in mind that once we bring him up, the arbitration clause kicks in with his contract. It sucks, but a lot of teams hold prospects out for the first month just so they can keep the player for a longer time at a cheaper price. (There's no reason for the Yankees to be cheap, considering their money. But still, is it wise to not even consider?)

I'm thinking of 2018 and 2019. That means giving Torres all the development time he needs to be great. If we rush him, we can hurt him.

But you are right on one point - right all the way: He certainly would make April more interesting.

joe de pastry said...

That's Kramden, with a K!!!

Fun fact: Who had a higher on-base percentage and twice as many home runs as Didi last year?

Chris Carter

Der Kaiser said...

Reading through all of these hypotheticals, a different nightmare scenario occurred to me:

The Yankees let Gleyber replace Didi, and he fulfils or exceeds all expectations. He hits well, fields well, comes up big in key moments.
Then Didi comes back off the DL, and Gleyber is inevitably sent to Trenton, from whence he never reemerges.

We've seen it happen before, we all know what this organisation is capable of.

Maybe Gleyber has to be sent to the minor leagues now in order to save him from being sent to the minor leagues later?