Friday, July 28, 2017

In the spirit of......

Swamp Shot Goes Over El Duque's Head

....diverting our attention from the likelihood of a lightening strike on the Yankees roster of young talent, I offer you this toady tidbit of the arcane.

Not many bloggers at IIFIIHIIC focus on Finland, I imagine.  Most of us are acquainted with
from 0-10 Finns at most.

The Finns are peculiar people, in some ways, possibly due to the geography they occupy.  At first glance, they appear stiff and serious, but you will find they possess a great sense of humor.  They would laugh for days, for example, over the talking-head, possible trade scenarios which are currently making me mentally ill.

As an outlet for their particular brand of fun, they organize and compete in some unusual events.  The focus today is on, " Swamp Soccer."  America has beer softball leagues, they have this. Not too much needs to be added to the photo above, though I can confirm that Messi never played the swamp game during his adolescence.

I wonder if the type of cleats you wear makes all the difference?  Hard to believe that El Duque was once blond, isn't it?

Tomorrow, I may focus on either speed lingonberry picking or mobile phone tossing.

On trade deadline weekend, maybe we should listen to this Yankee team

Last year, in this annual week of musical chairs, the final days before the trade deadline, Tampa swept our old and buttery butts - dealing us three losses so horrific that Prince Hal benched Brian McCann, sent A-Rod to the J-Lo retiree home and traded our three best players to actual pennant races. As a result, Gary Sanchez burst upon the national scene like the Irritable Bowell Syndrome lady, and Aaron Judge received two free months to suck, (which he did) - and to learn major league pitching, (which he also did.) The basic plan for 2017 was to give Clint Frazier and Glyber Torres a year to do the same, and then we'd make our run in 2018. Funny thing about musical chairs and long-term plans, eh?

But during last year's meltdown, I could not escape a sense that the team itself was weighing in, sort of, what should happen. We lost three straight to a team that was otherwise floundering. When that weekend ended, the Yankiverse was a raging forest fire of pitchforks and bile, and nobody - NOBODY - was clamoring to trade for a Todd Frazier or a Lucas Duda. Everybody knew the season was done. That weekend in Tampa showed us who we were. 

So here we are, halfway through 2017, farther along than we ever expected to be, still debating whether to fall back and save our horse for a brighter future, or to whip its ass and go for broke at the home stretch. In these final days before the Aug. 1 tsunami, could it be that the Yankee team is weighing in? (Or maybe the Rays are?)

Last night, Brett Gardner - our de facto captain - almost single-handedly turned a devastating loss into a 50-yard Lou "The Toe" Groza field goal, square into Tampa's young nuts. In Tampa, that loss had to feel like the worst massacre since Hernando de Soto arrived in 1539, and they needed a giant sponge to blotter up the entrails.  

Well, if we've learned anything as fans - (by the way, who says fans ever learn anything?) - it's that one loss - however horrible - cannot break a season. Our worst defeat in game one of the recent Boston series, the game El Chapo pissed away, seemed to end hope in 2017. But then, on the next day, the failing Matt Hollidayhomered in the ninth off their unhittable closer, and we beat the Redsock '17 Hall of Fame Superteam of Destiny (TM) in 16 innings, and ever since Boston has wobbled like the Hindenburg. 

One game does not end a season. 

But last night, damn, we got 'em good.  

We walked into their Dali Museum and pissed on the Abraham Lincoln pixel painting, smashed the Chihuly Collection with a ball bat, shut down their bridge and turned Tampa into Punta Gorda with traffic lights. We sent Evan Longoria back to Desperate Housewives. We play three more games against them this weekend, then face Detroit on Trade Deadline Eve. By midnight Monday, we will have a clean picture of 2017. But unless we lose all three - a complete meltdown - we should be viable going into the Monday night shakeout.   

And before I leave, a few words about Mr. Gardner... 

Of all MLB left-fielders, Gardy ranks 11th in batting average (.261) and sixth in homers (18), which is weird since he was never supposed to hit for power. His asset was speed, and he ranks 5th in stolen bases (13.) Statistically, you'd think he's a meh, except for runs scored. There, Gardy ranks 1st - with 66. 

I don't know what happens when Aaron Hicks returns - I mean, somebody in that outfield has gotta go, and we'll be pissed if it's Clint - but trading Gardy is no longer an option. Maybe it never was. Either way, the Yankee team has three more games to weigh in on 2017. Maybe we should listen.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

If he went into Cooperstown, he'd wear a Royals hat

But when they go into jail, they're always ex-Yankees, right?

Guy made $33 million and couldn't do child support? Worse, he only hit .252 for us. What a bum.

In the spirit of.......

....diverting ourselves from the onerous, demoralizing, fear-inducing and debilitating proselytizing about possible trades in the Yankee universe, I offer today, a toady insight.

The English women's cricket team ( I'm not sure they call it a team, it could be a " side" or
a " gaggle"), has just won the World's Cup for the first time.  They defeated the regular champs, Pakistan, or India, I can't remember which.

Some say those two countries don't get along very well.  Maybe we can discuss that tomorrow.

In any case, the English girls knocked down somebody's wicket.

And that is a big deal.

If you would like to hear more, I can do the research.

Meanwhile, " eat, drink, and be merry ( or Mary )" for tomorrow there could be news that will fucking kill us.

P.S. Why do they dress like hockey goalies to play that game?

Oakland is collapsing, and its entire fan-base is waiting to unwrap the package for Sonny Gray

Last night, the Oakland A's - the team of Brad Pitt and the late Sonny Barger - got to savor a wide-awake pineapple colonoscopy, courtesy of 2017's other poster franchise for mediocrity - the Blue Jays of Upper Buffalo. To those who believe that only Yank fans get to experience the Disneyland "It's a Small World After All" moments of psychological waterboarding, I offer this brief glimpse into Hell. 

In the bottom of the ninth, with Oakland's closer nursing a two-run lead, Toronto's Justin Smoak tied the game with a HR, and then Kendrys Morales won it with another. This happened on the East Coast, about 9:30 p.m. out west, so even the kale-fed California children could watch. (As we all know, the only good part of West Coast swings is that the carnage unfolds while we are sleeping.) The A's are now 13 games below .500, dead last in the pathetic AL West, and 9.5 games out of the final, Bud Selig, away-field, one-game, who-gives-a-shit? wild card slot. Today, the fearsome motorcycle gangs of Oakland can look forward to getting swept by a team seven games below .500 and, for the most part, equally unmemorable. Take that, Jax Teller! 

What, you ask, does this mean to the Yankees? 

Well, it means Sonny Barger Gray will soon be traded.

That's the take-home here. If you're Billy Beane - the former hero-genius of Moneyball, who still hasn't won diddly-squat, and whose horrible trade of Josh Donaldson is probably the reason why Jonah Hill lost all that weight - today, you are running black market stool samples of Yankee farm hands into the DNA centrifuge, looking to decode the future. (And, if you're reading this, Mr. Beane, how about Cito Culver! Nine HRs and .244 at Scranton - he's only 24! - a solid MLB utility lug nut!) 

Ah, but electioneering won't work. Today, A's bloggers are holding "Mock Bidding Wars," similar to the snake oil fantasy NFL drafts conducted every spring by the Mel Kipers of the world. Today, A's fans are six-year-olds staring at a Christmas tree, waiting for Beane - remember, he was once Brad Pitt, but he's becoming Pauly Shore - to ride in on the pony. In Yankee terms, they want Glyber Torres. Period. They've come to grips with the Yankees refusing to trade Clint Frazier, but they want a name-brand nobody, and Glyber tops the list. 

Which brings me to Estevan Florial. Suddenly, the world is hearing a lot about Estevan. Last winter, he was viewed as the lone interesting signing from the 2014 international class of 16-year-old cabana boys. (Dermis Garcia, the $3 million wonder boy, is starting to remind people of Jesus Montero.) He's only 19, playing at Charleston - nearly three years under the average age of players in the South Atlantic League. He's 6'1" and 185 pounds, described as physically imposing, and he was the lone Yankee position player selected for the recent Futures Game. He is probably the biggest secret reason why the Yankees traded Blake Rutherford. Over 87 games in the SALLY League, Estevan is hitting .299 with 11 HRs (seventh most in the Yankee farm system.) He strikes out way too much, but he's stolen 16 bases. If everything goes well, his ETA for the majors is probably September of 2020, a cup of coffee. By then, Aaron Judge would be a monument in right, and Clint Frazier - well, let's not jinx this.

But Florial could well play CF for the next great Yankee dynasty, probably the last one in my sentient history.

Full disclosure: I hate trading prospects. Hate it, hate it, hate it. That's my bias, but it comes from rooting for the Yankees for nearly 60 years. In most of these deals, you maybe get a few moments of joy - a win here and there - and then you get ten years of pineapple pain and beer can-crushing frustration. You end up watching a player who revels in the opportunity to pay back the Yankees, the team that traded him. Sonny Gray won't hold a grudge against Oakland; they have no choice. But whatever prospects we trade to get Sonny will never forgive or forget the Yankees. 

Today, Oakland is literally squirming, seething, spoiling for a trade that will save their horrible season. They have nothing else to live for than robbing the New York Yankees - the most hated team in baseball - of our future. This is Billy Beane's mission, his chance to justify the Hollywood parties, his last chance to salvage an increasingly shaky legacy. We, on the other hand, are doing fine. Boston is feeling the pressure of high expectations - they're fighting their announcers. We, on the other hand, are NOT in a crisis. We have young players ready to fill in and overachieve. We have a system that is working. And all I want here is to make one point:

Oakland is the team desperate for a deal - not us. Anything we do... our terms. Not theirs. Our terms! And if it doesn't look like a pony, then lets just ride it away and to hell with them. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

"He is the Toddfather! In Todd we trust!"

As Mustang points out, it's wonderful that The Master today invoked God for his new Todd Frazier home run call. He suggests, "Todd damn it all to hell! Todd is dead!"

This is the greatest thing that ever happened. We have discovered the Todd Particle. Some other possibilities...

"Get me out of this Toddforsaken town."

"Todd bless the U.S.A.!"

"Todd forbid something bad should happen..."

"He did it, so help me Todd."

"Todd is good!"

"He is a vain and jealous Todd!"

"What was the pitch? Todd only knows!"

"Todd loves each of us, for we are all Todd's children!"

"Todd rest ye merry gentlemen!"

"Todd save the Queen!"

"It's Toddzilla!"

"Take your stinking paws off me, you Toddamned dirty ape."


The Master riding high.

A two hour distraction from trade fears

Baseball is torture.

Cashman is the devil.

Girardi is unimaginative.

Hal is unimaginable.

Tonight, we can look away.

Get distracted.

Think about winning.

Kick a ball around.

Forget about deadlines.

Forget about killer trades.

Forget about huge, longstanding mistakes.

Just kick back.

Watch and dream you are someplace else.

I am granting authorization to watch Luis tonight, as he is the type of player Cashman is about to trade away.

But Luis is worth watching.

Just keep your TV on mute.

No trade talk.

Listen to no rumors or speculative talk.

Throw something at the talking heads.

As the trade deadline looms, and the future balances on a fulcrum, it's time to take stock of the next Core Four

We won last night, whipping the last-place, rented mule known as the Cincinnati Reds. (Where the hell is Vada Pinson and Joey Jay?) As usual, a win means forgiving Yankee miscues and celebrating our superior fan-base intellect. Thus, let's discuss the things that have gone right - the players around which we can build, not just for 2017, but for the long haul.

We begin with Didi Gregorius, best SS in the AL East. Clearly, Houston's Carlos Correa is the league gold standard - 20 HRs and .320 BA - but he's hurt right now, and let's see what Carlos' numbers look like when he clogs back in a few weeks. Didi missed his first month, yet his stats - 15 HR, .307 - are as good as it gets. Nobody - not Tyler Wade, not Glyber Torres, not Jorge Mateo - is going to replace Didi at SS. They all must find other positions - (Wade 2B, Torres 3B, Mateo CF?) We have Didi signed for two more years. He's only 27 - bedrock for a championship infield. Also, he seems like a genuinely great person. Future Yankee captain? I'd have no problem with that.

Aaron Judge in right. Nothing more to say. Clint Frazier in left - well, he's a good bet, but that's all. I'm queasy about the Yankee hype machine comparing him to Judge (though the result is that it's become impossible to trade Frazier without a fan insurrection.) We haven't had a homegrown Yankee slugger burst onto the horizon like this since Mickey Mantle - nearly 70 years ago - and now we're expecting two? That's crazy. But with Aaron Hicks and Dustin Fowler - (I still cry just writing the name) - we should have a solid OF. Estevan Florial, age 19, may or may not be the real deal, but if the scouting reports are true - and he's the one Oakland wants - wouldn't it wise to keep him? Also, I know this bucks conventional wisdom, but in the name of Christ Ben Gamel, we should give Jake Cave a shot. The guy is 24, he went 2-4 last night, lifting his average to .374. Are we really going to give another one away? Oh well, whatever we do, we should have a championship-caliber OF for years to come. I can picture line drives bouncing off the Green Monster, way too high for Jackie Bradley Jr.'s glove.

Of course, we have Gary Sanchez at catcher. He's not the Second Coming, as he looked last year. But he's tied for fourth among MLB catchers with 14 HRs, and he missed five weeks. I worry about the passed balls and a lingering sense that our pitchers may secretly prefer Austin Romine calling the shots. (Montgomery already seems to do better with Romine.) We spent half a season realizing that Sanchez - slow as a city bus - should not bat second. But he's our catcher for the next four to five years, a rock for the future. (And, by the way, for the first time in maybe 10 years, we have no stud catcher in our farm system. That ended when the Padres chose Luis Torrens in the Rule 5 draft.)

In the last two outings, Luis Severino has gone toe-to-toe with Chris Sale and Felix Hernandez, and the Yankees won both games. He is our Wild Card Single Game starter, and perhaps the biggest reason why chasing a 2017 wild card might not be so insane. (Though trading prospects at hostage-negotiation prices is insane; better do in the winter. I HATE TRADE DEADLINE WEEK.) Severino gives us a homegrown ace for the future, something we haven't had since Chien-Ming Wang. 

Okay, here's where it gets dicey. I'm not sure Starlin Castro plays 2B on the next great Yankee team. He's played well for us and certainly deserves loyalty. But Castro still doesn't walk enough - the first sign of a championship grinder. I get it that he wanted to return quickly, that he saw his team in need of a boost, but coming back too soon from a groin injury was a rookie mistake. He never ran full-out. Now, he's gone for - what - another three weeks? I dunno, but I don't see him as a core player. I find myself hoping that Wade rips a hole in the Yankee matrix and makes himself a part of the future. If so, Castro just Wally Pipped himself by coming back too soon. 

That vaunted bullpen of ours? Meh. They're names scribbled in chalk. Aroldis Chapman looks like the pitching version of the Ellsbury contract. I expect Dellin to return to form, but let's be honest: Considering his meltdowns, do any of us expect him to ever be a closer? Right now, we're touting our great bullpen. But it could turn on us in a heartbeat - and long term? Forget it.

The other positions, frankly, are scrapyard material. Todd Frazier looks absolutely terrible, dead on arrival. Worse than Chris Carter. Can he really be that bad? We'll spend the winter looking to move Headley and/or Ellsbury and/or Gardner. Everything from then on is free agent signings - and I think Hal is going to revert to cheapo tactics - and long term prospects: Kaprelian, Sheffield, Adams, et al. If we trade a pile for Sonny Gray, age 27, we'll have him for two years - our No. 2 starter, after Sevy. (Maybe No. 3, after Monty - who might be one of the core.) But there is also the chance that Gray will simply suck - and pull this team down around its tent poles. 

I still believe we are one - maybe two - core players from a future dynastic team. We have the prospects. We have the money. But we trade a bunch of young players, and Sonny Gray turns out to be a flop, we could find ourselves in a surge that never wins anything meaningful. Could anything be more disappointing?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Are the Yankees talking themselves into a monster trade?

Long, long ago and not far from here... my young wife and I went house-hunting. We had a strict, cast-iron limit on how much to spend. Under no circumstances, we would stick below $120,000. This was non-negotiable. We wouldn't go higher. No way. No fucking way. Carved in stone. Nothing, NOTHING, could edge us above that number, and I'd punch you in the mouth for even suggesting it. 

So... we eventually spent $141,000. Kaboom. What can I say? Mission creep. Once you hit the Viagra fog of negotiation, reality changes. Once that erection starts to sprout, all self-enforced limits fly out the window. 

I wonder if that's happening with the Yankees.

Case in point, Giancarlo Stanton. Not long ago, the notion of trading for Stanton would be a punch line. As we've been told a thousand times, the Yankees are committed to shrinking payroll below the horrible, mind-numbing luxury tax cap. We've been hearing about this since 2011 - waiting to escape the crushing burden of A-Rod's contract. We let Robbie Cano jog off to Seattle. We passed on multiple free agents. The Marlins are lashed to Stanton for $285 million - $32 million a season at times - through 2028, and that's only five years before the asteroid. No way we'd take on such a killer contract, right? That's doomsday, folks. It would kill us, right? We all know this, right? 

And yet, according to the little birdies, the Empire recently checked in with Miami, pondering a deal. Insane, right? Crazy. Of course, pondering a deal is not making a deal. It's just coffee talk, right? One can chalk a phone call off to due diligence, right? But, but, but... remember our $141,000 house? 

Absurdity happens in tiny, M&M-sized increments. We invade Iraq in 2004, and guess what: We're still there. Trump is a joke, and guess what: He's President. Not long ago, Blake Rutherford was the jewel of the Yankee lower farms, an untouchable. Now, he's gone, and we got a .205 hitter, a fading closer and a middle innings bullpen lug nut. I can't help but believe that if Chicago straight-up proposed that deal a month ago, we'd have laughed. Guess what: It's now reality. Everything just oozed in on the fog.

So, now we wait for the verdict on Sonny Koufax Gray. You can feel the uptick in the NY tabloids, unable to conceal their proudly bursting erections. They want a deal, need a deal, HAVE TO HAVE A DEAL. If it means giving up Jorge Mateo, who on the editorial staff of the NY Post gives a shit? Nine out of 10 Yankee fans have never heard of Mateo - and lately, all they've heard has been about the greatness of Sonny Koufax Gray.  Here's "Seven mid-tier prospects who could get traded." Not enough? Here's the case for the Yankees being the 2015 Toronto Blue Jays (getting Price and Tulowitzki) at the deadline. (And, by the way, Toronto is still paying for those deals.) 

You can feel it happening. Today, we absolutely would never trade Clint Frazier - ever, no matter what. But if he goes 0-for-10, well - that's different. Reality changes when you breathe that wonderful fog. I'm not saying the Yankees will deal Frazier - clearly a fan fave right now - but the devil in any trades will be in the details. And neither the Yankee-owned media nor the buy-out obsessed print outlets will sweat those details. They can already taste it, and who cares about long-term strategies? The asteroid will take care of long-term strategies, right? Quick, Miss Bixley, get Miami on the line! I got a rocket in my pants! Hello, Marlins? Whaddaya want... 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Seriously... what do we do with Ellsbury?

Breaking news: AARON HICKS IS ALIVE! That Fox & Friends' report that he'd gone missing on the calved Antarctica ice shelf proved inaccurate. Turns out, he swam to shore, cut open a yak, slept in its warm entrails, and became a god to a community of earnest penguins. He'll soon begin a rehab assignment to Tampa, Trenton and/or - gulp - Scranton. Before the Aug. 1 trade deadline, he could be back with the Yankees, as the team's sixth outfielder. 

Yes, six flycatchers - (counting Matt Holliday, which - okay, that's a stretch, but where else does he play? First-base? Ha.) To many cooks thicken the broth, because one always gets pushed in. Somebody's gotta go!

Of course, the person you all want gone is Aaron Judge. If we, say, packaged Judge with a few prospects, we might be able to obtain the great pitcher and humanitarian, Sonny Gray! I get shivers, just thinking about it. Sonny Gray in pinstripes! Wow! I mean, his ERA is a microscopic 3.66. That's no misprint: Three point six six. Last year, the Great Gray went 5-11 with an ERA of only 5.69! That's Koufax territory. If the Yankees had a hall of famer like Sonny, we could win the Wild Card. But let's be real: Because the Yankees are selling Judge jerseys, they probably won't deal him - not even for Gray the Gravy. So he's out.  

Hicks? Well, we can't trade the guy while he's hurt, right? If Hicks is smart, he'll report "tenderness" until after August 1. Also, Hicks was playing like an all-star before the injury, and we probably owe it to ourselves to see if he continues - or the first half was an illusion. 

Brett Gardner? He might be our best bet in a deal. But it would tear the Yankee soul to let him go. Gardy is the closest we have to a captain, and frankly, I don't want to see him go. 

Clint Frazier? This strikes terror in every Yankee fan who remembers the 1980s. If we trade him, it could be Ben Gamel-times-10. Lately, there has been a loud campaign among Yank fans, arguing that Frazier is a refreshing change. He's already a popular Yankee. If we trade him, even the team-owned media could not tamp down the seething, volcanic resentment that would be roused. If we trade Clint Frazier, I will devote my life to seeking emotional vengeance upon Hal Steinbrenner. There is no battalion of bodyguards, security beef or police presence that will keep me from ripping down the door to Steinbrenner's bedroom, and the things I will do to his soul is the stuff of 1960s comic books and bad HBO. Surely, Steinbrenner knows this. Surely, he will not trade Frazier.

Which brings us to Ellsbury, and I can already see your heads nodding. Unfortunately, the answer is not as easy as it sounds. We all want Ellsbury traded, the Yankees eating a ton of money, for a decent prospect. That won't happen. For such a trade to occur, we need a trading partner that Ellsbury would approve. Ironically, that disastrous trade that sent Gamel to Seattle last year undermined our chance to send Ellsbury to his West Coast homeland, because the Mariners don't need another fast, LH outfielder. They already got the better of the two. Why take Ellsbury?

If we waive him, we get zip. Were Ellsbury a headcase, I'd consider it. But you can talk a lot of trash about the Yankees, yet one problem they have avoided is poor clubhouse chemistry. Ellsbury has been a good teammate. To waive him - simply cut him and get nothing - that would hurt. And I ask one question: Do we want to see Boston using him as a pinch runner in the ninth inning of a key September game? Nope. We don't. 

There has to be some place in the universe, a last ditch location for Yankee retreads. And there is just such a planet. It's called "Pittsburgh." 

The Pirates are now a game below .500, 7.5 games out in the Wild Card. They're also eternally grousing about Andrew McCutchen, who is 30 and in his contract walk year. (The Pirates have a $14.7 million option for 2018; otherwise, he becomes a free agent.) The guy is hitting .292 with 17 HRs. Frankly, I don't want McCutchen in CF next year - I'd prefer to see a prospect, such as Dustin Fowler. (By the way, Jake Cave continues to rip in Scranton. Last night, he went 3-4, raising his average to .371. Good grief, the guy is knocking on .400.) Or Hicks. Or Gardy. But could there be a trade with Pittsburgh? Can we deal Holliday, who has had a "meh" season?
As a rule, I avoid suggesting trade scenarios. There is no bigger waste of humankind's communication skills than bloggers projecting baseball trades. But this is a move Cashman must finesse. We're always hearing about Cashman's genius. (Frankly, I think he writes Yankee news releases.) But now it's time to deliver: Either Ellsbury or Holliday needs to go. 

Barring injuries, we will soon have waaaaaay too many outfielders. This will either be Cashman's greatest moment, or we are about to do something disastrous. How lucky do you feel?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Take that, Seattle

First Yank series victory since early June.
And Aroldis Chapman almost blew another one.
Poor Joggie.

He loves only gold...

Only gold...

Why Does Cashman Have A Job?

Seriously, Yankee fans and Yankee haters, are we really all snowed by the Miller & Chapman trades of last summer?

We are already in the process of giving back all of the advantage we supposedly gained.  Different names, perhaps,but drawn from the identical minor league talent pool.

Blake Rutherford was, without the same fanfare, perhaps our best young position player.  Ian Clarkin a number one pick.  And that third guy with the short name and stature, a potential all star once he is given the freedom to play and have a full fur face.

But I am still lamenting the Ben Gamel trade.  As Duque has embellished, this kid had it all and was major league ready.  But we had a senior, veteran, dragged out, overpaid contract for a former good player (Ellsbury) who must play, or Cashman will look like an idiot for giving him $135 million and a lifetime to earn it.  Gamel should be in our outfield and Ellsbury should be back in Boston with his grandchildren.


1.  I think we all know now that the Yankees were on the wrong side of the Jesus Montero trade, even though Jesus is a minor league ice cream sandwich vendor.

2.  Who even knows that the Yankees received anything for the Ben Gamel trade?  Duque mentioned a couple of 19 year olds but, seriously, these are not people. They are what Duque uses as, " space fillers,"  when there is nothing to say.

Just to be clear:  we gave up a young, major league ready, talent with speed, power, defense, a great arm and who hits for average, has a high on base percentage, and steals base,s for two kids waiting in their parents car for their pick-up order at Arby's.  Two kids who have not even starred in a local stick ball league.  This is Jay Buhner 2.

Jay Buhner 3 will be when Hicks thinks he is ready, and the " good Frazier" is sent to Scranton, for demoralization.  He will sink into despair, fail at his game, and get traded to Seattle for the right to pay for nothing, again.

Cashman is a plague who doesn't ever catch the damn disease.  Someone please do something.

One more serious giveaway of talent, in a frothy, drooling, foam at the mouth move toward the one game play-in, and I am out as a Yankee fan.  The young talent we have, well managed and developed, can lead to exciting baseball, always wir5h watching.  But if this talent is mis-managed, abused, and given away to get some phony reason to claim a successful season by making the play-in, and I am gone as a fan.  My life is too short to remain optimistic watching Ellsbury and Headley, and all of that ilk.

On a long night in Seattle, the chickens come home to roost

Well, it finally happened. Last night, Seattle's emerging star outfielder, Ben Gamel, poked a sharp, flaming stick in the eye of Brian "Shoe-in-for-Cooperstown" Cashman, while the Yankiverse got to ponder four more years of Jacoby Ellsbury. Gamel homered and scored the winning run in another CIA torture tactic defeat - this one being especially gruesome, because it took extra innings for the full pineapple to be successfully inserted. 

Last August 31, Cash traded Gamel - the International League Player of the Year - to the Mariners for Juan De Paula and Jio Orozco. Yep, THE Juan De Paula and Jio Orozco. Juan is currently 2-3 with a 5.25 ERA for Staten Island in the NYP League. Jio is 3-4 with a 4.95 ERA at Charleston. The most hopeful thing you can say about either is that they are still 19. Basically, we gave Gamel away for two dirt league dice rolls, because Gamel had no place in that All Star Yankee outfield, where - as stated above - we get to ponder four more years of you-know-who (and I'm not referring to Trump.) 

Last night, Girardi all but confirmed that Ellsbury is the fourth Yankee outfielder, not exactly the most alarming statement ever uttered, considering that Jacoby is not hitting for average or power, and has a Venus de Milo arm. Nor does this factor in the return of Aaron Hicks, sometime this decade, which should make Ellsbury the fifth outfielder - except nobody truly believes this. Everybody expects the Yankees to send Clint Frazier back to Scranton (if they don't trade him for Sonny Gray or Yu Darvish on their absurd wild card goose chase) because he'll need to "play every day." In the same way we are chained to Head Caseley at first base and Todd ".204" Frazier - (who air-mailed one last night from third) - we have Ellsbury in center, appearing like a pop-up web ad that cannot be minimized or x-ed out. 

But wait... we haven't discussed next year's Ben Gamel. Currently at Scranton, poor Jake Cave is tearing up the International League and surely awaiting his own Independence Day, around August 31. Cave, 24, is hitting .361 with 9 home runs. If he keeps it up, the Yankees could sport back-to-back IL Players of the Year, with both being traded for rookie league chum. 

But wait, there's more! Also raking in Scranton is Billy McKinney, 22. In 69 ABs, he's hitting .319 with 4 home runs. A former highly touted first-rounder, McKinney came over in the trade for Arodis Chapman last July, and he seems to have found himself. Oh well, a few years in Scranton ought to straighten him out. Or maybe we can convert him into 19-year-olds. You can never have enough 19-year-olds. In fact, the only trouble with 19-year-olds is that they eventually become 23, and then you have to trade them for more 19-year-olds.

Or, the Yankees can do to Cave and McKinney what they did to Rob Refsnyder and Mason Williams - which is to bury them in Scranton so deeply and demoralizingly - (I know some of you don't share my faith in Refsnyder, but I say he should have gotten a chance at 2B, his only real opportunity) - until they play out their minor league careers. And the funniest part? This is not necessarily the sign of an organization overflowing its banks with talent - it's just a front office that values veteran contracts over youth. And of course, the Yankee-owned media praises every move as pure genius. And when Cashman someday gets inducted into Cooperstown, as the sportswriters suggest, maybe he'll wear a Seattle cap?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

This is it, the baseball week that I most hate and fear

Be afraid. Be, like, very afraid. Crap the bed. Barf onto the windshield. Hide in the closet, make no sounds, and for Glyber Torres' sake, don't open the door, if somebody knocks. It's not Jeter. It's not Mo. It's the Yankadook - Lance Berkman, Alfonso Soriano, Billy Butler, it's - gulp - RUN, YOU BASTARD, RUN! - IT'S SONNY GRAY. It's the death knell to the once vaunted Yankee rebuilding strategy - (2016 to 2017, R.I.P.) - which lasted nearly one calendar year, before the Steinbrenners, - baseball's version of the House of Dolan - demanded a return to their annual 20 percent profit mediocrity. 

This is Yankee Hell Week, when terror fills the airwaves. You can feel it: The Yankees won last night, adding a 100 mg Viagra booster cap to their wild, Wild Card fantasies. With each victory, they will move closer to trading a trove of young prospects, players scouted by opposing teams for months. They will deal this package for the latest in a line of Brian Cashman's sexual fantasy dream stallions - another version of Jeff Weaver, Javier Vazquez, Nathan Eovaldi, et al - the "power arm" that, in Cashman's erection-crazy eyes, is always on the verge of Cy Young status - until he's not. Think of it this way: We just said goodbye to Michael Pineda for the final time. Now, we're about to trade for a new one.

The Yankees must always have a Pineda. It's in the rules.

Okay, I know what you're thinking: Why don't I trust the "baseball minds" on Cashman's staff. They certainly know more than I do, sitting here in my darkened closet, cringing beneath the dirty laundry, refusing to answer the phone. I have no grand insights into the future of Sonny Gray, beyond the price we will pay to get him. But when I think of the "baseball minds" running the Yankees, I must also ponder the goals of this organization: All you need do is watch a game from YES's center field camera and see the empty seats behind home plate, and you know this is not a well run franchise.

But I digress: Last year, the "baseball minds" had to make a decision on a kid named Ben Gamel, the 2016 International League Player of the Year. They didn't waste time. They traded Gamel to Seattle for a $15 bag of French Roast - because, of course, they were committed to Jacoby Ellsbury. Our "baseball minds" saw two players - Gamel and Ellsbury - and decided to go with the latter. Who signed off on that decision? I won't say the name, but I guarantee this: It's the same guy who will orchestrate a deal for Sonny Pineda. 

This March, as spring training wound down, the Yankees publicly floated the possibility that Aaron Judge would have to return to Scranton. That way, he would "play every day," rather than ride the bench. (We're hearing that now about Clint Frazier.) Judge was in a tough competition with Aaron Hicks, who also was having a great spring. When I look back on this, I wonder what the "baseball minds" were thinking: Apparently, they did not see a first-half MVP in right field. They saw a guy who would benefit from a bus trip back to the place where he hit well last year. They saw a guy who be so depressed and demoralized like so many other young guys before him - Frankie Cervelli, Mason Williams, Rob Refsnyder, et al - that it might have taken him two months to dig out of his season-opening slump. That's the Yankee way: Send the prospect packing, and always err on the side of the Todd Frazier or the Head Casely, and if the kid burns out in his second tour of Scranton, they can say, "See? We told you he couldn't hit. Our baseball minds were on it."

The Yankees spent the last 12 months touting their new commitment to youth. But that was just p.r. Now, we're entering Hell Week, the days before the trading deadline, and you can scan the rosters of Scranton and Trenton, and imagine the worst-case scenarios that will bring us another Nathan Eovaldi - that is, a pitcher who might be entering his prime, or who might be nearing his career pitch count, because he's already logged a lifetime of innings for another team.  

I realize the Yankees do not have enough positions on the field for the number of prospects they now have. But if we solve that "problem" by making Oakland an AL powerhouse for the next 10 years - while we dick around with another guy with New York issues, or a weariness in his elbow that has been too slight for him to mention - well - I can't take it. And for the next few days, I'm almost rooting for the Yankees to lose. Can you believe that? We might be better off if the Yankees simply blow a few. Is that horror or what? Now, excuse me, I've got to borrow deeper into the underwear.

Friday, July 21, 2017

"That beautiful Yankee bullpen" has two holes in it

For years, I've wanted John Sterling to break out a signature strikeout holler for each Yankee pitcher. We never got hear "It's a K-K from C.C!" or "Andy is dandy!" It wasn't fair. And last night, with The Master still bouncing like Ricochet Rabbit over the Todd Frazier acquisition - the Yanks got three stars, three! and gave up nothing, nothing! - he continually waxed over the "beautiful Yankee bullpen," a collection of wondrous arms like exotic wrenches in a hipster tool box. John should start yodeling over strikeouts. It's a rap... from Chap! Dellin is dealin'!

Except for one thing. Last night, when we finally brought in Betances and Chapman to seal the deal, it's a good thing we had a four-run lead. Nobody is swinging at Dellin's breaking balls in the dirt, and base-runners are stealing the silverware hanging around his neck. Meanwhile, El Chapo keeps walking lead-off batters, and those 102-mph meatballs are going out of the park at 115-mph. Last night, with a three-run lead, Joe started warming up David Robertson... just in case. And of course John whooped about yet another proven closer to call upon from that magnificent Yankee pen.

Yep. We have the greatest Yankee bullpen ever assembled, but with one minor hitch: The (cough) closers can't (cough) close. No problem. Move along people, there's nothing to see here. That gaping wound in the fabric of our security system, a little duct tape should fix it. And now that we are an Officially  
Declared 2017 AL Wild Card Contestant (TM), we can sit back and wait for Brian Cashman's next trade - did anyone think a GM won't go for broke in the contract year? - knowing that no lead is safe. We have "Thrillin' Dellin" for the eighth, and "Chappaquiddick Island" for the ninth, and that's that. We're not going to sell El Chapo in an Aug. 1 garage sale. Nobody wants the garage. It's got bullet holes in it. So the tabs now want us to trade the house for Sonny Gray? Are Yankee fans actually supposed to buy into the notion that these players are coming to New York for free? Dear God, save us.

Well, I dunno. We won last night, and it's always nice to see Joggy Cano hitting 30 points below our own second-baseman, even if Starlin Castro is jogging these days due to the hamstring. But I'm wondering what impact the next week will have on Cashman's trading plans. If, say, the Yankees go on a tear, would it embolden him to trade the 2020 crown jewels for Sonny? And if we fall apart, would it keep Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar as future Yankees? I'm not even sure what to root for, but John is doing it for both of us. Ice berg, dead ahead.

The Nationals are looking for a closer. Just saying.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

If the Yankees are supposed to be different, then why are they doing what every other team does?

I view readers of this blog as Yankee zen masters, mountaintop gurus with doctorates in Yankeeology - philosopher-fans whose vast knowledge of the game - as well as of life itself - cannot be questioned by less evolved fan-bases. 

On that note, I certainly don't have to tell you that two nights ago, the franchise dealt one of best prospects, Blake Rutherford, for two veteran relievers and a 3B two years past his sell date, who is hitting .207. Nor must I tell you that for the last two nights, the Yankee-owned media has been celebrating the three additions like gifts from heaven, no strings attached, sent to help the Yankees. Yesterday, Suzyn Waldman actually argued that it doesn't matter if Rutherford someday becomes a great White Sox star, it's still a smart trade. (Yeah, just as dealing Jay Buhner surely looked smart for a week.) To the surprise of no one, the Yankee-owned media has cheered this deal with all its might, and the increasingly desperate Gammonites of print - while sifting through buyout offers - cannot expect to have phone calls returned if they get smart-mouthy toward the front office. Thus, almost everywhere you look, it seems as though the Yankiverse is rejoicing the deal. It's almost as if the Russians are running this league.

But the more I look at it, the more I see one of the worst moves in recent Yankee history. Once again, it shows an ownership unable to stick with a long term strategy, and unwilling to actually put the Yankees in a class apart from other franchises. By going for broke this year - by trading prospects for veterans - we are betraying the traditional Yankee ethos of trying to build dynasties, rather than one-shot Wild Card seasons.

Okay, let's drop the theoretical bullshit. Let's play this simple. Let's say this trade pays immediate dividends: Todd Frazier regains his long-lost stroke and goes on a tear, (as Alfonso Soriano did a few years ago.) Let's say David Robertson - a disappointment in Chicago for the last two seasons; his ERA was well over 3.00 - continues with his resurgence. That will leave the Yankees one starting pitcher from post-season contention. We might have to trade - well - it would be a much steeper price for Oakland's Sonny Gray. (Thinking Clint Frazier, Jorge Mateo, Justis Sheffield, et al.) But let's say it works: Kaboom - the Yankees win the 2017 Wild Card game, then run the table, winning the World Series. Owner Hal Dolanbrenner will bestow life-time commitments upon Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi - whose contracts end this winter - and hell, we might even sign Todd Frazier to a three-year deal. We will ride the Canyon of Heroes, toasting our first world championship since 2009.

Remember that one? We won the Big Burrito on the juicy power of A-Rod, along with a payroll splurge - CC, Tex and AJ - that dogs us to this day. We're still paying it off. It's the one Yankee world championship we tend to overlook because - well - it launched eight years of pain. We sacrificed our future for one big year. Ever since, we've been paying the piper.

Today, that's how teams succeed. Look at the Cubs. Last year, they couldn't load up on enough stars and chess pieces. This year, they carry the stench of an bloated also-ran. Look at the Royals, the Giants, the Cards, the Mets, the Nats, even Boston - they traded the fruits of their farm systems for one-year shots at championships - damning the long-term consequences. So why shouldn't the Yankees do the same? That's how every other team does it, right?

Well, maybe so. But speaking now to you true Yankee fan-philosophers, I'd like to pose the notion that our team should be different. We don't want to compete for a Wild Card every year. Under the current MLB system, any team can compete for a Wild Card: Just be around .500, and you're a Wild Card contender. But Yankee fans want great teams - dynasties with a Reggie-Thurman-Gator-Catfish axis, or a Jeter-Bernie-Mo-Jorge core - teams that win multiple rings. We don't want to one world championship per decade, followed by nine years of Sidney Ponson and Lyle Overbay, because of salary caps or spent farm systems. The Yankees are supposed to build dynasties, not merely clubs hoping for a Wild Card and a hot October. 

Today, I doubt the Yankees are done dealing prospects. I think we've only begun. Last August, Dolanbrenner announced a new concept - "the Baby Bombers" - but I'm not sure if it was a strategy or marketing slogan. For a year, they have vowed to build with youth and aim for a great team in - say - 2019 or 2020. The had quit the prospect-trading addiction, gone cold turkey on old turkeys. But this week, they reached into the refrigerator and pulled out a beer. And it tasted really nice, especially coupled with all that adoring encouragement from the Yankee-owned media. Now that we're all-in on the 2017 Wild Card, we'll need a starting pitcher. Sonny Gray? It won't be cheap. And even if we somehow get lucky and win this year, it's going to cost us in the future. Once you start drinking again, the shot glasses fill up mighty easily.

I've been hoping for one last great Yankee dynasty in my lifetime. I sort of thought 2020 might be the year - with rookie Blake Rutherford in CF, beside Clint Frazier and Aaron Judge. Now, I'm wondering if Cliff Frazier will even be there at all. The Yankees are going for broke on - gulp - the 2017 Wild Card. Even if we somehow win, we will lose sight of what we once were - a team unlike all others.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

How about the boost from those proven Chisox veterans!

Todd Frazier didn't even bother to shave. Was Ms. Manners, Jennifer Dolan Steinbrenner, even watching from her pink brocade toilet seat? How does this happen, an unshaven man shows up and plays for the Yankees? Where is Jennifer? She should throw a Daddy dearest shit-fit. Me? I don't care. But Todd is now down to .205. Kahnle is wearing Chris Carter's old number 46, but it's Todd who has taken over the job of striking out twice a game. Could somebody please splain to me why we got this guy? So Head Casely can play first? Save us.

Meanwhile, over in Shelbyville...

While we're sitting here, pondering the meaning of a sell-off of prospects in pursuit of unclear objectives, over in Red Sox Nation, they're actually afraid of the Todd Frazier-David Robertson-Tommy Kahnle trade.

I suppose the grass is always greener over the septic tank, as the underrated Erma Bombeck once wrote...

Why Cashman makes these questionable deals

So much for rebuilding

I'm sorry. Apparently, I missed something. These things happen. You think you know a subject, but the technology continues to evolve, and one day, you find yourself stranded on the road, unable to even find the spare tire. I thought I knew baseball. Well, I'm wrong. There's been a huge sea change, a revolution in knowledge... and somehow, I missed it.

Somewhere out there, I don't know how this happened, I've been maintaining the outdated delusion that a first-baseman who is hitting .207 should be a candidate for the scrap yard - not the cherished target of a big Yankee trade. I'm still recovering from a four-month hallucination, in which the Yankees finally ditched a first-baseman named Chris Carter because he was hitting .215. Somewhere - again, I don't know how I lapse into these mental pulled hamstrings - I thought Mark Teixeira retired because he couldn't lift his average above .210. Obviously, I'm wrong. Two-oh-seven is the new Yankee Standard of Excellence (TM).

I say this because the Yankees last night traded three solid prospects for Todd Frazier, who is batting - yep - .207. Of course, he's not a consistent .207-hitter. Last year he hit .225, with an on-base percentage of - get excited, people - .302. Three oh two. Apparently, we've been missing Carter's two strikeouts per game, so we ran out and added Frazier, who has 71 on the year.

Okay, I know what you're thinking: Duque, you're just a dumb, Baseball America-blathering prospect-hugger. The Yankees needed to move young players they didn't plan to protect in next December's draft, and Frazier has 16 home runs, plus we got David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle - (whom we failed to protect in the 2013 Rule 5 draft.) And we ditched Tyler Clippard. Plus, we keep Boston from getting those guys. Hooray! Way to go, Cooperstown Cash and owner Hal Dolan!  

Yeah. Hooray. That's the real reason, isn't it? We're looking up and seeing Boston. So we're going to be even more of a home run/strikeout team than we've been... and that's going to beat Boston?

Listen: We're not going to beat Boston. They have something called a pitching rotation, while we have a regular shuttle running to and from Scranton. We have a five-person thingy that includes Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa and the cast of Glee. Has anybody noticed that right now, we're behind Tampa Bay - which simply waited for its prospects to mature - for the one-game wild card, and we're barely ahead of Minnesota - and yet we're trade deadline buyers? We're selling off our future - gulp - the one-game, away field, last opening wild card?

I feel sick. Somehow, I bought into the notion that the Yankees had a long-term strategy, and that we were committed to a great team in - say - in 2019. Maybe I am just a stupid Baseball America blathering prospect-hugger. But we just gave away one of our premier prospects - Blake Rutherford - for a .207 hitting first-baseman and two bullpen arms on a downward slope. Have we really improved? Monday night, Garrett Cooper delivered three hits. Will we ever see three hits in a game from Todd Frazier? Three strikeouts, sure. Three hits? That's out of the realm of .207.  

I feel sick. It's not the details of this deal. It's the concept. We're going with veterans. Forget 3B Miguel Andujar, who is tearing up Scranton. We're going to see Frazier and Head Chasely at the corners, numbers be damned. Tito Polo - another prospect we traded - could be next year's Ben Gamel, whom we'll meet this week in Seattle. Ian Clarkin - the pitcher we dealt - is still a fine prospect. Surely, the White Sox scouted our system for weeks. Let's hope Rutherford doesn't become the star the Yankees were projecting last year, when he was drafted. Then, the Gammonites were gushing all over themselves, calling Rutherford the steal of the draft. Now, they're gushing all over themselves, telling us how the Yankees have improved their lineup and bullpen for the big stretch Wild Card run. But I still remember the queasiness when we traded a single A kid named Fred McGriff to Toronto, and the writers announced that we had just solved our bullpen problems by obtaining - gulp - Dale Murray. 

Sorry, folks. I know you come here for that cheery feeling of hope and optimism... but I just don't think a team with a long term plan should ever trade a prospect like Blake Rutherford.  

We're back to hoarding short-term veterans on the downward trajectory. Here's a prediction: Frazier will hit a few home runs, so the Yankees will re-sign him next year to a long term deal. And then he will suck. We will be back in the Ellsbury-Headley continuum of playing contracts rather than players.

Sorry, folks. I must have missed something. Somehow, I got it into my head that the last five years were not incredibly successful, and that that the Yankees planned to change their ways. My bad. Hey, look! ALL RISE! It's Todd Frazier, former MLB Home Run Derby champion, coming to bat. And - wow - look at that batting average! Two-oh-seven! Wait. Where's Vernon Wells? Where's Pronk? Has anybody seen Dale Murray? 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Quick Question for the Research Dept.

The one " big name prospect" we never hear about has the last name of, Sheffield.

We know about Glyber, and Mateo, Frazier, Andjuhar, Wade, Kaprelian and Bird.  But wasn't Sheffield amongst those we acquired last summer?  Wasn't he one of the gemstones?

It won't surprise me to learn he has been injured all season.  In fact, that is likely the better rationale for his total absence from all radar screens. I mean if he simply sucks, that will be a disappointment.

Anyone have insights?  Anyone seen him play?  Is he rooming with Dante Bichette, or Cito Culver?  Possibly in a rock band?  Left the game for personal reasons?  Up the river?

Is this another scam from Brian Cashman?

Falling - no, make that "plummeting" - into the trade deadline

Sherman, set the Wayback to slightly less than one Yankee revolution around the sun... the time, Friday, July 29, 2016...

Here we are! The team is heading to Tampa - generally, our rag doll for fun and torture - for an exciting weekend. We are three games above .500, six behind Boston and clinging to relevance in the AL East. Our beloved owner Hal Steinbrenner is said to be pondering several trades to boost the team for our pennant drive. We might get a veteran bat or starting pitcher. The White Sox are dangling David Robertson... hm-mm.

On Friday night, our bats go to sleep, and we lose 5-1 to Jake Odorizzi. On Saturday, that great future Hall of Famer Drew Smyly beats us 6-3. Then, on Sunday, well, it is Blake Snell, a name that drives terror into the hearts of any lineup. We lose 6-3. We leave Tampa demoralized and drowning, having scored just seven runs over three nights - a .500 team. By Monday, Aug. 1, we are retiring A-Rod, saying goodbye to Tex, benching Brian McCann and trading Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran for players most Yankee fans have never heard of, beyond the obscure rankings of Baseball America. 

Had we won those three in Tampa, we would have gained two games on Boston, edging back into the race and maybe pushing Hal to become a deadline buyer. Who knows how the future course of Yankee history would have changed? That collapse in Tampa set into motion trades that sent to Chicago the man who would close the Cubs' first World Series in several lifetimes, and this year, it might be Cleveland who wins a ring behind Miller, the best reliever in baseball. For us, it means Clint Frazier and Glyber Torres, Justis Sheffield and a lot of crossed fingers...

Those three otherwise forgettable games... the most important series in the last Yankee revolution around the sun.

Listen: These horrible, rotten, miserable and dismal last six weeks have unleashed many demonic flashbacks to the events of last July. But if we're wishing for a repeat of the 2016 Yankee yard sale, sorry, folks, the cards just aren't there. We don't have what other teams want. We're stumbling, game after game, and every sign of hope seems equally balanced by one of despair.  

Last night, we get three hits by Garrett Cooper - along with word that Greg Bird will undergo ankle surgery and miss another full season. 

Last night, we get a nice outing by Bryan Mitchell - along with word that Michael Pineda is going under the knife, gone forever from the Yankees.

And last night, what should have been a grand debut for Caleb Smith - he pitched two scoreless innings, retired six in a row - ended in calamity, because we left him in too long. 

We are limping to the Aug. 1 trade deadline, with little of value to deal and nobody from our farm system to rescue us at first base, the bullpen and starting rotation. The biggest rumor lately is that we will trade prospects for David Robertson, almost a perfect reversal of course from a year ago, which would leave us floundering, no plan in sight.

We hoped the Yankees would emerge from the All-Star break with renewed vigor, ready to cast aside the tremors of June and early July. We fought Boston to a draw and escaped Fenway with our pride intact. Then came last night. Jeez. Another painful loss. This morning, it just doesn't look as anything has changed. We've fallen, and we cannot get up.

This year, Tampa will be visiting New York for the weekend series that closes July, and which sets up the August trade blitz. We play the Rays three games, and then - on July 31 - the lowly Tigers come to town. Most likely, we will be a few games above .500, a bunch behind Boston and clinging to relevance in the AL East. Damn. Has anything really changed?

Monday, July 17, 2017

A nothing burger

There's a terrifying scene in Blair Witch Project, where the campers encounter a familiar downed tree over a creek - same one they saw yesterday - to realize they've been wandering in circles, going nowhere, so they cry hysterically, hoping to win an Oscar nomination. Last night, that was me. A lost weekend of wandering - 16 hours, 43 innings, 20 pitchers, a million swings-and-misses... and here we are, back at the downed tree, three and a half behind Boston and Tampa on our heels. 

For every ray of hope, there came a pineapple pillow. Betances looks good; Chapman looks bad. Torreyes makes a great play; Torreyes boots one. Judge strikes out; Judge hits an incredibly clutch HR in any other ballpark, with any other CF. Headley gets a hit; Headley fans with the game on the line. And here we are, a million brain cells later, chewing on tree bark and howling at the moon, back where we started, at the All-Star break. 

If El Chapo did his job Friday night, we'd have taken a pivotal series in Boston, jabbed a shiv of truth into the Redsockian belly, and today, we'd be flying to Minnesota without need of a plane. If Judge's ball lands three feet to the right, Bradley cannot touch it. And so what, you wonder, we still lose 3-2. But but but... in the eighth on Saturday, if Judge doesn't take their weirdo closer, Craig Kimbrel, to a nine-pitch at bat, Kimbrel might not have labored so hard and, who knows, maybe not surrendered the game-tying homer to Holliday? It's pointless to think "What if?" There is only "What is..." and today, that is up for debate. I'm all for screaming into the wilderness, looking for an Oscar nomination.

From now, the fate of the 2017 season - and the next five years - falls upon the instincts and algorithms of Brian Cashman, and that's a movie we've all seen many times. Last night, as if tired of this current Yankee lineup, the YES machine flashed graphics of potential trade targets, such as Oakland's Sonny Gray and Yonder Alonzo. I was cringing at the prospect packages we'd give up. This isn't about punting on Rob Refsnyder. Hell, we punted on Brigadoon three years ago. (By the way, Ref homered last night for Scranton - perhaps the most meaningless tidbit of information on this site since Alphonso posted estimated beautistics of the Irritable Bowel Movement lady on TV.) This is about punting on Clint Frazier or Tyler Wade, or both, because some nameless "scout" in the Yankees' organizational meat loaf just wrote a scathing memo, identifying some flaw from their stool samples. I have no idea what's coming, but it's well worth breaking down hysterically and screaming into the wilderness. 

Yesterday at Scranton, 22-year-old 3B Miguel Andujar went 2-4 with a RBI. He's hitting .299 at Triple A. When the Yankees brought him up last month, he went 3-4 with four RBIs - and was sent back down the very next day. Okay, I get it - the kid needs to play and not sit the bench. Still... it will soon be time to ditch Headley once and for, and play the future. Why are we bothering to accept mediocrity?

Last night, Jacoby Ellsbury went 1-4, bringing his average to .262. Let's not get Shakespearean on the woes of Ellsbury - we've said everything a thousand times already. But as soon as Aaron Hicks returns, it's gotta be Ellsbury who goes - not Clint Frazier or any of the kids in Scranton or Trenton. I'm still insanely bitter about giving up Ben Gamel last fall, the 2016 International League player of the year, for table scraps - and then attribute it to the great job we've done building the farm system. Apparently, the unnamed "scouts" in the Yankee front office didn't see what Seattle did - surely because they were blinded by the glow of Ellsbury's Blair Witch contract. 

Last night, Garrett Jones - I MEAN GARRETT COOPER! - finally got his first major league base hit, a double to left. He needs 100 at bats (and he needs to field his position, because he looked shaky last night.) Could he and Choi platoon? I dunno. But how much more production will we realistically get from a high priced veteran? And what do we give up? Seems to me, if we traded for Jones - I MEAN COOPER! - we ought to give him a shot. Whether we will... that's another story.

I shudder to think of what's to come. But here we are, back at the downed tree. Excuse me, while my vocal coach and I practice primal screams. Chapmannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn...

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The widdle babies pwayed under pwotest

I forgot. The Redsock '17 Hall of Fame Superteam of Destiny (TM) played last night under protest.

Well, you know what I say?

"Tough titty" said the kitty with the milk so warm.

Boston gets the pineapple

For most of six hours yesterday/last night, I wanted no part of what the juju gods were doing. I could easily see their plan: They would give us the lead, so El Chapo could come in and blow it. I knew it. I was furious at myself for watching. It was so obvious. Oldest trick in the book. Still, I couldn't let go.

Time after time, we failed to move a runner. Torreyes couldn't bunt. Headley wouldn't bunt. Judge chased pitches. Frazier and Cooper looked ridiculously over-matched. We were going to lose. I knew it. You knew it. John and Suzyn knew it. Everybody sitting smugly in the Fenway stands, they were just waiting for the kill shot. The fates were toying with us, waiting for that perfect drop-kick to our groin. Friday night's hideous debacle wasn't enough. They would drag this one out for seven hours, then poke us with the dagger. 

Our pitchers kept putting lead-off runners on base. Chasen Shreve left with two on, no out. El Chapo walked his first man. Did anybody in the world think Chapman would NOT fail? Jonathan Holder. Ben Heller. It was only a matter of time. We would lose. Of course, we would lose. It was just so damn obvious...

Listen: I don't see the 2017 Yankees as a "team of destiny." One game cannot heal a month-long collapse. If we're lucky, this team may someday be viewed as a forerunner to a championship lineup - the year that Judge, Sanchez, Frazier and the rest arrived. But damn... today, I doff my cap to the Yankees - to Ellsbury, to Headley, to all those who so regularly draw our flaming ire. 

Last night, they didn't just beat Boston. They beat the Fates. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017


The Trade back-up catchers

The deal for Cooper is a bust.

If you watched the game, his inability to hit at this level is as clear as incompetent and embarrassing leadership in the Oval Office.

Greg Bird is a bad, recurring dream for any functioning schizophrenic.  A nice young man who, in reality, is a medical aberration.  Greg is done and gone.  Get used to it.

The worst part is that his curse regenerates.  New Yankees brought in to play the position are going to be plagued by the shadow of Greg Bird's physical failures.

The best looking player over there this season has been Austin Romine, and he has a proven ability to contribute with the bat in the major leagues.  So what we need is a back-up catcher of repute.  I am sure some Molina brother could be co-erced to put on the pin stripes, and walk away from his barbecue.  Hell, we might as well trade Torres or Kaprelian, because they are unlikely to be healthy again anyway.

Or, you can throw in Tyler Wade.  If we aren't going to play him, why have him?  Or Frazier....the Manager sits him down for one of the Jacoby/Gardner twins after he gets red hot, anyway.  If we are committed to play, " those individuals to whom we are paying the most money," we need not keep the young guys on the team.

And for the capper;  I warned this audience that El Chappo would never again be what he once
was ( are any of us?).  When he sat down for a month due to an unnamed malady, the signal went out that " something has changed."  We saw that last night.  A closer who cannot close.  An aluminum siding salesman who cannot cut it, and should not have access to quality leads.  This guy stabbed his teammates in the back.  Who wants to labor and fight, when he is looming?

The Yankee ship is captained by a pinstriped version of the unbalanced, " Queeg."  And that is showing.

That is not a confidence builder when the holds are flooding.