IT IS HIGH, IT IS FAR, IT IS...

Monday, July 31, 2017

"It's like reverse Moneyball."


Over at Athletics Nation, a lot of the commenters sound like... well, they sound like us.

This blows

I almost puked


I was prepared to be really excited about this trade as a seller. I'm not, because the return sucks.


A’s trade Sonny Gray to the Yankees for two injured prospects and a guy who’s been dogging it for most of the past two seasons.


This is fucking horrible. Yankees made off like bandits


But look on the bright side -- the Yankees had to give up their two best seriously-injured prospects!


There is a very, very real chance we just traded Sonny for 3 players who will never contribute even a modicum at the major league level. We got absolutely had. Just admit it.


It's like reverse Moneyball.


Not a single elite talent, or even top-100 prospect, for a top-20 pitcher with 2+ years of cheap control. One player needs a wheelchair to play the OF, the other is a pitcher missing a ligament in his elbow.


I fucking despise this trade
 
Will Fowler's wheelchair also be included? 

Be afraid. Be very afraid.


Damn. They're trying to hex us. 

Shocker: Yankee owned media and dependent news outlets pronounce Yankees as winners of trade

Wow. Didn't see this coming: The Yankee courtier press absolutely loves the trade for Sonny Gray!



We can die now


Instant analysis: (Don't hold me to this later; I'll deny it.) 

We do have a stacked future outfield - (we kept Estevan Florial) - though it really sucks that Dustin Fowler will never have even gotten one at-bat as a Yankee.

We will regret trading Jorge Mateo. You can't teach speed. 

Kaprielian? Damn. I had just finally learned to spell his name with two i's. 

I didn't think you could trade injured players. Wasn't there a rule about that? Or at least a gentlemen's agreement? 

Sonny Gray had better be good. We gave up a lot. In the long run, Oakland will be very happy with this haul. 

So now what do we do with Jaime Garcia?

A message to Brian Cashman and the Tijuana Brass


So much for that call to Cooperstown

Back in the salad '70s, Pete Rose got caught with a 15-year-old, says ESPN.  

I was starting to feel sorry for the guy.

Ask Not For Whom The Bell Tolls.....

....it tolls for Yankee fans.

Today, we learn that Cashman deceived us.

He teased us with a fake strategy.

He acted as though the talent we finally amassed in our farm system ( largely through trades last summer ) mattered.  That we would re-build ( like every other successful franchise ) with youth.  We would take our lumps in 2017, but this would pay off big time for the future.

He got lucky on Judge, and maybe Frazier.  We began to believe.

But, as it happens, to Cashman everyone else is just meat for the grinder.  Dog food to attract mid-level talent that will get us nowhere.

Isn't Todd Frazier still hitting about .209?

Has anyone outside of Edina,  Minnesota, even heard of the pitcher we just acquired?    Who can name him without looking up the deal somewhere?

Cashman is now employing the exact same strategy he has always used.  The team hasn't been relevant for 10 years but, today, we roll the dice on getting enough mid-level talent to nudge this train into the one game playoff station.

Who cares?

Cashman lured us into believing he had learned something after 10 years of beating his head against the same wall.

He has learned exactly zero.  And we shall pay the price today.

Next season, Mason Williams will be our top trade prospect, and our " farm system" will be ranked at the far end of the top 30.

You can't trust a toad.

Nothing has changed.  Start the lies.

Waiting for the cruel shoes to drop

Two more Yankee prospects vanished yesterday. So long, Dietrich Enns and Zack Littell. That's five gone in the last two weeks. The youth movement is officially over. Today, we'll probably jettison three more - maybe four. Our list of top 30 prospects now includes Cody Carroll, a 24-year-old middle innings reliever in Trenton. (Let that sink in: twenty-four, middle innings reliever, Double A.) By tomorrow, Cody could be in our top 25! Could Cito Culver be next? 

Oh, fukkit! Who cares! Certainly not the Wall Street Weekender from Westchester (WWW.) And I respect that. The world needs its hedge fund managers to be clearheaded to the task at hand - screwing dumb fuck pensioners - rather than analyzing the starting rotation in Trenton. The world doesn't need another Yankee obsessive - or as the Mooch would call me, "a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac" - blogging about the danger of trading Jorge Mateo. Nope. If the WWW simply knows that there used to be a player named "A-Rod," and he still thinks Derek Jeter is the Yankee shortstop - hey, no problem: That's China Town, Jake! Nobody has to care about the dearth of talent in the Pulaski outfield. And for those divinely uncaring WWWs, tonight's YES Network takeaway will surely be that the Yankees have obtained an all-star pitcher - Sonny Koufax! - in exchange for absolutely nothing. It was a gift from the good people of Oakland, whose franchise was once again outsmarted by that all-wise, big city operation, run by the crafty Hal Steinbrenner, the beacon of front office superiority. 

The Yankee farm system, bursting with talent two weeks ago, will soon return to the norm: Scranton again full of 26-year-old utility candidates. (FYI: Cito Culver homered last night!) Trenton will once again be the home of Chris Christie rather than Jorge Mateo. The Yankees will either win everything this fall - (actually, there are teams in Houston, Cleveland, Los Angeles and Washington that might have a say in this) - justifying the trades, or we will have pitched overboard our youth movement for - well, a one game wild card appearance? We may never see Billy McKinney or Justis Sheffield or Chance Adams, at least not in Yankee uniforms. And what happens over the next three months will still depend entirely on injuries and slumps; Aaron Judge, Jordan Montgomery and Clint Frazier are still defining themselves, and somewhere out there, a tweaked gonad is waiting for us. It's the long game that really matters, and in the last few days, we quit playing it. The WWWs don't know, and they don't give a shit. Only fools that the Mooch would fire - idiots, like us - would ever bother to be concerned about 2019.

The way to build dynasties is to be like the New England Patriots, who are always stashing extra draft picks, always supplementing a core of stars with emerging young talent. This year, we began that way. We developed Aaron Judge, Jordan Montgomery, Luis Severino, Aaron Hicks and maybe Clint Frazier. (But Greg Bird, Tyler Austin and a bunch of young pitchers - Kaprielian, Heller, Gallegos, et al - went south.) Next year, we will see - hmmm - well, lemme get back to you on that. Next year, we may be watching ex-Yankees on the White Sox, Twins and A's, and we'll be thinking of how we had Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Jaime Garcia. Next year, we can watch other teams unveil talent, while Culver dazzles us with his newfound stroke. As for the Wall Street Weekenders from Westchester? Well, there will always be more prospects to trade for established stars, you know - more Todds and Jaimes. Todds and Jaimes. Todds and Jaimes. Todds and Jaimes... I guess that sums it up.

I happen to believe that by trying to win everything now, right now, we piss away the chance to build a dynasty down the road. Wasn't that's what the Yankees were supposed to do... back before we sold our souls to the weekenders from Westchester? Oh, forget it. Nobody listens to a paranoiac. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Blast from the past: Jesse Barfield rescues Suzyn Waldman


Hap tit to Leinstery. 

Somebody special was quoted in the New York Times today

Link

After 31 years of work, Suzyn Waldman, the longtime Yankees announcer, still regularly encounters people who doubt her knowledge and sometimes express that viciously.
“There is not an 18-year-old intern or an engineer that does not think he knows more than I do about the game,” she told me. “They don’t.”

In the spirit of.....

Cashman shat the bed, despite our hopes and prayers.
....oh the hell with it.

Whatever we tried in order to divert our attention from disaster, that fucking supertanker never once altered its course. The old ways of proven failure have endured, thanks to the conspiratorial white men who hate difference, and own the property.

Collision imminent, sound the alarms!  Put out the distress signals on all communication networks.  Save Our Ship !

The youth movement is officially and irretrievably battered, and our excitement and enthusiasm is headed to the sea bed.  Where there is no oxygen.

Cashman will use all the techniques of the fabulously articulate and clever new Communications Director at the WH, to tell us he " stole" the day.  That we gave up something, true, but not that much.  After all, a good trade is defined by each team's belief that they improved themselves.

Thanks Brian, you lying toad.  What we gave up was the program.  What we gave up was the reason to maintain interest in our developing players.  What we gave up was excitement and optimism.  What we traded, like cheap junk, was our future.  Because once the line is breeched, more is certain to follow.  The pursuit of Gray continues.  Beware.

 In the meantime, someone, please call Dr. Andrews, because I promise you we have just obtained highly damaged goods.  We have just pissed into the wind wearing out new khakis, and hoping to ask that cute girl out on a date.

You watch.  The enthusiasm this team showed in the last three days will be sewer meat today.  The team will be flat, bumbling and non competitive.  Why?   Because they, too, were fighting for the program.  They, too, were energized by the commitment to to give youth a chance.  Properly integrated with guys like Brett Gardner, CC, and Holliday, we had a revival.  The team knew that the old car just wasn't able to hit 140 in the top end gear anymore.  That we needed a new engine.  A new, competition clutch.  The car had to be rebuilt.  Instead, Cashman is changing the carburetor.

Starting today, this team and its fanbase will drift back into the flotsam of baseball, fall asleep to the endless strike outs, groan to the failures of moving runners over,  suffer the two run maximum games, while the team inevitably drifts south in the standings.  With the one game play-in objective fogging our interest every goddamned day.

Many Yankee fans will be shocked and wonder why the team went flat?  What happened?  But not the readers of this blog.

Cashman has just delivered a killer shot to our morale, and to that of this team.  No one on the team will speak of it until their memoirs are published.  But you will see it, today, on the field.  And you will read about this " end day" in the future.

Mark my words.  This will be a 48 hour period filled with upbeat and optimistic pleadings from management, but this moment, in truth,  should be draped in purple and black.


Brace yourselves, because that touted Yankee farm system is about to get raided, and we are returning to our old ways

Over this last week, raging against the Fates, I've felt like Reince Priebus - (now, Reince Previous) - in that no matter what I said, it wasn't going to matter. Prince Hal (Trump) was moving in another direction - Sonny Gray (or the Mooch) - and our vaunted Yankee "Baby Bombers" rebuilding plan, launched last spring with great fanfare, was about to be scrapped, like plans of the past. 

Today, from all accounts, the youth movement officially dies. Today, if the stories are accurate, the Yankees will return to old Steinbrennerian ways: Trading prospects for vets and ramping up pressure to win now now NOW. 

Let the record show that the youth program lasted one calendar year, before the front office pulled the plug and returned to the ways that have produced, thus far, the worst decade in Yankee history. During that one year period, the Yankees rose from fourth to first in the AL East. But today, we scrap the plan and return to trading prospects and assuring ourselves - along with the casual, not-all-that-involved fan base - that we gave up nothing, and that basically, the other teams are just stupid. From today on, we will avert our eyes to what those traded players do throughout their careers, while we try to remember or forget the name Sonny Gray, like so many others who arrived to save the day... Ken Phelps, Lance Berkman, Sidney Ponson - that's enough - I cannot go on.

Listen, there are good deals and bad ones, and the difference can hinge on a microscopic elbow in Pulaski. It will likely take years to discern what we've traded away. What we do know is this: When we trade youngsters for a veteran, that guy - and this team - must deliver now, right now!, and that adds pressure to the player and the entire franchise, and there is already plenty of it. If a hole develops over the next few weeks, you better believe Brian Cashman will fill it through a waiver deal. He has no choice. Once you go down that path, like Lady MacBeth in her killing ways, there is no turning back. One bloodletting begets another... and another... We actually started on this course two weeks ago, when we traded for Mr. .207, Todd Frazier.

Yesterday, Caleb Smith went three innings and took the hook. Certainly, Sonny Gray (or Jamie Garcia, of the Twins, a new rumor) could have done better. But presumably, Caleb Smith learned something yesterday. Maybe he'll become a better pitcher, as a result. We'll probably never know. Soon, the Yankees will turn to players whose ceilings are well defined. As for the young players we trade, well, the A's and/or Twins won't give away pitchers for nothing. 

It's been fun this season, watching the turmoil within the Redsock '17 Hall of Fame Superteam of Destiny (TM) - in part because of the "win-or-else" pressure the franchise placed upon itself. Soon, we will be that team. Let the record show that, when the plug was pulled, we were in first. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

"This orginization has gone down hill REAL fast."


On a day the Red Sox fell out of first and a sportswriter urged fans to boo David Price, the team put Price on the disabled list. Boston Herald commenters made their feelings known.
Well this should give him more rest so he can lose more games in the post season. Loser baby

My comment was removed, but I don't mind saying it again - I can't wait for this asshole to opt out after next season.

So when he told Eckersley to shut up because he did not play the game.. I guess he assumed playing the game consisted solely of being vastly overpaid to sit in the DL only to play and get shelled in the playoffs. Another great Red Sox signing.

If you don't believe in karma.... please see Price, David...DL

Sox sending the big A-Hole to the proctologist...Need a backhoe to pull that stick out of his colon...

Price's recent behaviors gets me wondering if he's succumbing to the pressures/uncertainties in his mental/emotional/physical abilities to live up to the terms of his contract, as well as in meeting the expectations of Sox fans. Most folks won't tell you how they really feel (afraid, vulnerable, out of control) when the pressure becomes too great; they tend to deflect away from the real issue by becoming defensive, accusatory, etc. I do not envy the guy...

This orginization has gone down hill REAL fast.

Put him under the knife.

Preferably by Dr. Nick Riviera 1-800-DOCTORB

P***y, get your ass booed like a man. Dissapeared like pitching in the postseason...

what B.S! Absolutely lame move to shelter this wuss from being booed out of the park tonight...Farrell is not much better by coddling and protecting this big baby, hope he gets the same treatment tonight that would have been given to Price! LAME!

What a coward, and the team is just enabling him, and they wonder why ratings are down.

Amazing how unlikable the 2017 Sox have become. I think Big Papi had a lot to do with keeping people like Price in line. Even Pedroia has become an entitled punk. Pats can't open fast enough. Let these entitled brats lose in the first round, if they even get there.
Get well soon, David!

In the spirit of......

.....diverting our attention from the lengthy arguments, pro and con, of dealing prospects and draft picks for Sonny Gray ,  I offer you this tidbit of sports news:

In Finland, boot tossing has become an annual event, attracting participants of all ages, genders and cross genders.

There is the season opening,
" granny boot toss," in which  participants must arrive with grand-children in tow and DNA printouts to prove heritage.   When granny's started to arrive at the age of forty, the rules committee set a new standard;  Granny Tossers had to be at least 65 years old to qualify for the rainbow boot, the coveted prize button.

Children throw boots down a lane, with spectators on both sides.  Boots must remain within the lane to qualify.  Some of the boots they throw are nearly as tall as they are.  In the spirit of the Finns, each child participant is awarded a rainbow boot tee shirt and a spoonful of Lingonberry sorbet for their efforts.

The final, and largest crowd-drawer, goes to the unlimited category; open to men and women.  Oft-times lumberjacks do this toss on ice skates to demonstrate their expertise.  Used firemen's boot are painted ( see above ) for this prime event.  So far, the record toss is 33.3 meters.

Finn application to the Olympic Committee have thus far been denied.

I hope this has satisfied the diversion objective for the week, and that you may never wish to read anything about sports again until August 1.

If Sonny Gray is such an economical talent, small market Oakland ought to keep him

A great Yankee week! Five in a row! Joy! Laughter! Ecstasy! I hereby propose that Clint Frazier be christened "The Jury," so future headline writers can shout, "JUDGE AND JURY CONVICT TAMPA!" Everything's coming up roses and lolly-pops. Do your realize that we could be sitting on the greatest HR duo since M and M? They could anchor the lineup for a decade. Screw Bryce Harper and his $500 million price tag! We simply need a homegrown CF, No. 88! and it could be Estevan Florial, or Dustin Fowler, or somebody, anybody - except Blake Rutherford, I guess. The point is, we must think beyond this week, this month. The stakes are the entire 2020s, not the 2017 wild card.

In that regard, it sucks that such a great Yankee week is eclipsed by anxiety, as our front office mulls trades that could kill that Viagra-laced future. It's as if we're not playing Tampa this weekend - but we're facing Oakland. No matter what happens today and tomorrow, the games could be hellishly overshadowed by the hostage-level price we might pay for Sonny Gray, who last year threw only 117 innings because of arm troubles. When economics are posed as a key reason why we should want a guy - the A's contract locks Gray through 2020 - one must wonder... then why is Oakland trying so desperately to trade him? They need an ace, like everybody else. Why are they lifting their skirt to anybody with a cell phone?

The answer, my friends, is blowing in the elbow. Oakland fears Gray's arm will fall off - Eovaldi-style - and they want to cash-out before it happens. They think this weekend is the best time to hold an auction, and that the Evil Empire - which hasn't won lice since 2009 - is so glass-cutting erect that it will pay anything, ANYTHING, for a quick, back alley fix. 

But is there such as thing as an "ace" with arm issues?

Frankly, we already have one. His name is Masahiro Tanaka. Last night, he pitched brilliantly. Not long ago, he gave up 8 runs against Houston. But everything Tanaka does right now comes with an uncertainty beyond the partial tear in his elbow. His contract holds an opt-out clause. This winter, he can declare himself a free agent. Thus, if Tanaka pitches well over the next three months, he can leave. If he sucks, he can stay, with the Yankees paying him $23 million per season through 2020. Not bad, eh? 

If we've learned anything in this millennium - aside from never drinking vodka with a guy named Vladimir - it's that if someone wants to leave the New York fucking Yankees, we should bid him a fine farewell. We have twice redrawn opt-out deals - A-Rod (still getting $21 million this year) and C.C. ($25 million this year) - and though CC is a stoic old soul, he isn't worth that money, and bloated contracts give Food Stamps Steinbrenner the chance to poor-mouth - the absolute lowest aspect of ever rooting for the Yankees.

We can also look to Boston, which is now starting down the sewer pipe of a seven-year deal for David Price. When it's done, Price will be the most aptly named pitcher in history. Boston will pay him $30 million this year, then the costs gradually escalate until 2022, at $32 million. Last night, Price went back on the 10-day DL with elbow "discomfort," with Boston's front office issuing Kellyanne-grade blather about how they're not worried one iota, yatta-yatta-yatta (the Mooch would be screaming obscenities) - but if Price were a Yankee, we'd be spiking our Tang with Draino this morning. Not only is Price on the verge of achieving "head case" status - he's fighting with the team announcer, of all people - but he could be soon paging Dr. Thomas John. I hate to wish injuries on anyone, but wouldn't that be delicious?

The Redsock '17 Hall of Fame Superteam of Destiny (TM) includes the contracts of Pablo Sandoval ($17 million, running through 2020), Rick Porcello ($21 million, through 2019), Cuban-made Rusney Castillo, the pride of Pawtucket ($36 million through 2020), and his 'Tucket teammate Allan Craig - ($11 million this year.) And we're the ones who "buy" pennants?

You know what? Just looking at those wise investments, it occurs to me that

Boston should dive into the Sonny Gray sweepstakes. They should be making calls, wooing Oakland with top prospects, lobbying to obtain this incredibly economical talent? How can they stand back and let the Yankees make this deal? Dave Dombrowski should dress up like a cowboy and ride into Oakland on a tiny pony, like "Little Sweet," the high-voiced dude in the Dr. Pepper commercials, and knock Billy Beane off his feet with an offer. Sonny Gray... 'It's the sweeeeet one...'

Okay, listen... I do realize we have perhaps an overabundance of prospects, and some will turn into Brigadoon Refsnyders, unless they are moved. And if Oakland wants a realistic package for Sonny Gray, it should behoove Cashman to consider it. But this is no time for the Yankees to become rabid shoppers. We're doing just fine, thank you. Next season, our rotation could have James Kaprielian, Chad Green, Justus Sheffield and Chance Adams - if we haven't traded them. If Sonny Gray is so great and economical, Oakland should keep him. Aces don't grow on trees. Let's keep our trade chips and move them next winter, when everybody is on a level field. 

I just hope these last few wins don't turn out to be something we look back on and wince, because they gave us a false sense of need. A few strategic victories should give us the courage to say no - not turn us into crackheads looking for more. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Who's in first? That's right. No, who's in first? You're right. Who's in first. That's what I'm asking, WHO'S IN FIRST? AND THAT'S WHAT I'M TELLING YOU! WHO'S IN FIRST!

We are. 

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."

Victory

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.

SO NOW WE BEGIN AGAIN:

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.