Friday, May 12, 2017

Last night's tough loss reminds us of the need for a long term plan

I thought we would win - didn't everyone? - when Gary Sanchez' single rolled into left field last night. And then - poof - all the 2017 juju magnetism seemed to switch polarity. But in fact, the grid didn't shift in that moment. It's been building for a week...

I believe it began last weekend, when the Yankees captured the spotlight on two nationally televised games. Suddenly, network announcers went into Defcon-4 Babble Mode about the Yankee resurgence.  

On Fox Sports and ESPN, the sideline "experts" devoted considerable time into speculating that the Yankees will be "buyers" at the July 31 trade deadline. A few Gammonites have even proposed we trade Greg Bird for some veteran fleabag. They say this, I believe, because that is what the Yankees are traditionally supposed to do... trade young players for old slobs.

Now... if you think about it, what a sad state for the game of baseball: It's not even mid-May, and already the barristers of the booth are picking which teams should cut bait on the season. The all-star break is two months away, and they are scanning the rosters of Milwaukee and Tampa like vultures hovering over a dead raccoon. Whenever they smell a hot microphone, the MLB brass will boast about the health of the sport, (thanks to them), yet you have teams like San Diego, already hording Rule 5 minor leaguers with an eye for 2019. When the suits talk about the sport's popularity, while seats behind home plate sit empty, I wonder what planet these Bozos live on? 

Second... the sages of ESPN and Fox always celebrate a rising Yankee team for one reason: It gets ratings. People love or hate the Yankees, so more tune in. (We're on network TV again this weekend; get used to it.) But when ESPN pundits make suggestions, we must remind ourselves that they are not necessarily friends of the franchise. Generally, they want to help the Yankees in the same way the Russians seek to upgrade American democracy. 

So... we will be "buyers" at the deadline? Should we trade our long term future for a veteran first-baseman, which would then relegate Bird to Scranton - if not send him out the door? Hell, no! Dear God, save us from these microphone meat puppets. The Yankees' 2017 success has been based on pundit advice that was ignored. Anybody who wants to deal Clint Frazier or Gleyber Torres for a quickie weekend in August is betraying the most important ingredient in this year's team: Patience.

Consider the players that we could have peddled, but who are critical to the 2017 resurgence.

Aaron Hicks. Last year, to put it bluntly, he sucketh. Brian Cashman surely could have dumped him last winter for two Aaron Smalls and an Aaron Burr. He didn't. This year, Hicks is playing like an all-star, and what's crazy about that is that he is our fourth outfielder.

Michael Pineda. Dylan said, "There are folks among us who think that life is but a joke." I say, "There are folks among us who think that Pineda is but a ticking bomb." We could have dumped him over the winter. But what would we have gotten? Jesus Montero? We held him, and who knows? He might be an all-star. 

Gary Sanchez. He was a fixture in our farm system for years, decades, centuries - for so long that at one point, he developed a smart-mouth and did time in the penalty box. We could have dealt him for a handful of magic beans. We didn't. (And whenever some idiot talks about trading Jorge Mateo, who also seems like a thousand-year prospect, please remember Sanchez.) The best trade is sometimes the one you didn't make.

Chase Headley. Fingers crossed here, but he's been an uplifting, Disney story this spring. He runs out grounders, gets an occasional big hit, and he's beaten the over-shift with bunts. A little worry about those yips throwing to first. But what would we have gotten in a trade? Yangervis? Adonis? Eduardo? We all want a young, rising third-baseman. But the last great 3B from the Yankee system was Mike Lowell, nearly 20 years ago. And right now, the Triple A cupboard looks bare.

Aaron Judge. After his disastrous September - striking out nearly in half his at bats - there were voices calling for his ticket to Chicago in exchange for Jose Quintana. If we had made that trade, wouldn't we would look like fools?

These days, when toddlers with microphones call for the Yankees to "buy" at the deadline, I shudder. Truth be told, I'd rather we hold another garage sale this July, if it meant we could obtain another Gleyber or Clint. To build a dynasty, a team must constantly be getting younger, not collecting bad contracts for last-ditch shots at the wild card.  

The New England Patriots dominate the NFL because they always have an extra draft pick, and they cut ties with players before their sell dates. The Yankees need to do the same, even if it ruffles feathers and defies the conventional wisdom. 

Listen: If we're chasing a division championship in late August, maybe we can swing a deal for cheap spare parts. But trading prospects for a wild card race? The pundits want it, because they want higher ratings. I say, fuck'em. Patience, my friends... patience.


Alphonso said...

Everything you say in this " pondering," this set of things to remember, is true.

In your haste, however, you neglected the wild card. Not the game we seek, the management we detest.

Hal ( "I'm not cheap") Steinbrenner, the deal maker ( Brian Cashman ), and the "do it by the book" guy ( Joe Binders ), are running the team. When it comes to said entity, they don't know the meaning of the word, Patience. Nor do they understand the concept of building a team. Nor words like integrity, loyalty, honor.

This early season surprise ( April ), where we came up " clutch" at every needed opportunity, has ruined this triad of incompetent management for further Patience. There was already talk of a Yankees- Cubs World Series, for cripes sake. Now, when Judge strikes out, or hits that soft, one-hopper to shortstop in a big situation, they start thinking, " what veterans are available?"

We fans, on this blog, know what to do and how to do it.

The problem is; a disconnect exists between those dictator/owners, who run the direction of the team, and the people who play the game and support the team. The taxpayers, in effect. Anything can happen at any time to destroy the future.

So we can't relax. We can't enjoy. We just have to be stressed with worry, every moment, that some idiotic, hypocritical, contradictory decision is going to come down, and end our dreams.

I can be patient if others are.

But it won't have any effect if I am the lone wolf here.

John M said...

Patience is a virtue. And also the name of more than one Quaker girl with downcast eyes. But so it has to be, if we're to allow the 'development' of this team to continue.

However, Alphonso has a great point. We are led by morons. That is what's really hard to be patient about. Dangling participle and all.