Monday, July 10, 2017

A sobering thought for a sobering week

Okay, reporting from dry dock... the hands less shaky, the nightmare deliriums - (Clippard, Pineda, Bird) - have flown back to Omaha. Still, after three months and a billion lost brain cells, I still can't figure out the 2017 Yankees. Are they a team of great destiny, or the most over-hyped entity since Yahoo Serious. The truth is coming - soon - and I'll accept whatever unfolds - that is, if a few certain albatrosses happen to disappear.

One is already gone... I think. But I'm not sure. Chris Carter was gone, then he came back, now he's gone again, but I cannot help but think he's Michael Meyers, wearing the spray-painted Shatner mask, getting ready to pull the knitting needle out of his neck and do the most perfect sit up in movie history. You cannot kill the boogieman, and Carter could come back. Listen: I bear the man no personal animosity. I'm sure there's a fan base out there that can swallow and digest 220 strikeouts, in return for the occasional 440 foot ding. It's not me. And I am hereby warning the juju gods, the Fates, or whatever supernatural entities are running this show: If you bring back Carter for a third act, be prepared for a tear in the basic fabric of reality, and we will come for you like an army of fart jokes. No matter what Ji-Man Choi does - I really don't care - just don't bring Carter back. 

Highest on my current personal vendetta list is Michael Pineda, whose greatest Yankee achievement has been to be a slight improvement over Jesus Montero. But I'm not sure Pineda has been less frustrating. In the next three weeks, Pineda needs to go somewhere, anywhere, even though the most humiliating part of his Yankee legacy is surely yet to come. He'll go to an NL team - hello, Pittsburgh! - and dominate the feeble 8-man lineups. He'll do this as surely as the fact that Cashman will get table scraps in the trade. But I don't care. I'll take kibbled bits. I'd rather see Chance Adams or a Domingo - Acevido, or German - (say, is "Domingo" the Latin word for "Tyler?") I don't care. We've seen Pineda's Twilight Zone episode: It's the one where I'm looking out the airplane window, and Pineda is on the wing, ripping off the cowling, pulling apart the engine. Somebody - Cashman, anybody - must act before this plane goes down. I believe it's going to happen. Three more weeks of Pineda, folks. Believe it: Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock...

Next on my shitlist is Jacoby Ellsbury, the classic example of a bad idea spawning long term consequences. Again, I bear Ellsbury no personal animosity. I feel for anybody recovering from concussions. Moreover, he's not a clubhouse cancer or anything. Still, when I see him, I see Jay-Z whispering in the ear of Joggy Cano, how he can squeeze an extra 75 cents in nickel bottle deposits if he lopes off to Seattle and throws overboard the chance to be a Jeteresque, lifetime Yankee. I see him whispering this so Jay-Z can burnish his meager status as a future sports agent - (remember how he was going to redefine the profession?) - and so now Cano is a lost soul in a town known for $2 phone aps and $10 coffees, and what did we do? Well, we ran out and gave the voodoo pin-cushion, Ellsbury, a seven-year deal. What were we thinking? I guess we needed somebody, anybody, to quell the image of the wealthiest franchise in American sports being out-bidded by a hipster start-up. So now we have Ellsbury. At .270 with 4 home runs and diminishing defense, he is giving us what countless Triple A outfielders could do, if promoted. Hell, Mason Williams has done what Ellsbury does. If Dustin Fowler gave us Ellsbury's production, we would be soooooo disappointed. Yet we have Ellsbury throughout the entire Trump administration. Is there a chance Jacoby colluded with Vladimir Putin? If so, I'll take it. Please, please, please... can we somehow trade this guy?

I cannot install Brett Gardner on my shitlist. He's too much a true blue Yankee. But I find myself wishing we had traded him last February for whatever we could get. It really doesn't matter. The Yankee future is Clint Frazier and Aaron Hicks, and the sooner, the better. Why wait for the day when Gardner is a spare part, when we get Dopie Dildox from the Australian League? It's likely that Frazier must endure the same type of August hell that Aaron Judge encountered last year. So be it. When Hicks returns from the DL, he must play CF, with Frazier in left. If we lose, at least we have a future. 

Finally, I am running out of gas for Dellin Betances. As a lifelong Yankee - and one of the few fruits of our farm over the last five years - of course, he deserves a third, forth and maybe fifth chance to solve his issues. Also, I am sure that, at some point in August, Dellin again will be throwing lights-out, and the mere sight of him warming up will put opposing batters on ice. But he is showing Pineda-like hiccups, with regular irregularity. And his problems seem to be associated with closing games. They seem more mental than physical, and that's a bad sign. I don't think I will ever again feel comfortable with Betances pitching in the ninth inning of a one-run game. He's given me Scott Proctor P.T.S.D., and it would be nice if the Yankees could get a Glyber Torres or a Frazier for Betances at the deadline. Forget about it. Look at the Wild Card standings: Everybody, even Detroit, is still in it. The pickings will be slim, and the prices will be staggering. We cannot expect to trade our way into the Divisional race. We have too many holes. But a few less sightings of a few less albatrosses? I'd take it.

Other than that, I should still be drinking. 


John M said...

Betances might be coming around, enough to sell him for some good prospects, maybe more. Chapman should be handed a ticket out, also, but I doubt it.

Jacoby is going to be with us for a while. The question is, what to do with him? They won't let him go, which means he will clog up another outfield slot that a kid could take over. Given how other Yankees have fallen to earth after the hot start, I'm not convinced about Hicks. Can he come back and pick up where he left off?

Be honest, what was your first answer to that? Mine too.

I miss Andrew Miller. For one thing, he's not named Tyler. For another, he was the sane one out of the Terrible Trio, so naturally we didn't keep him. Water under the bridge. Which brings up Clippard. Oh, my, as George Takei might say. Hate to see this happening to a Yankee product, even if he was traded before long.

Carter seems to be really gone this time. Maybe. How do you go from the National League HR king to being released by your next team? Well, we saw how. I guess the Brewers could afford the .200 average and 200 strikeouts in exchange for the 41 dingers. But it's still kind of weird.

As is this season. But I suppose it was destined to be that way. Some aging veterans and a bunch of kids, throw in a few head cases, and voila. Instant lunacy.

May you live in interesting times, indeed.

Tom said...

As usual, el duque is too nice to my personal bete noire: Chase Headley. But I suppose there's no sense beating that dead horse any more. Just got to figure out how to grin and bear his Jim Mason-like skills for another season or two.

There is, however, a Yankee crisis brewing that is seldom discussed here. I am referring to the radio broadcasts. They are beyond awful.The incessant promos for actuarial offices and rehab hospitals are terrible, of course, preventing John & Suzyn from any sort of sustained conversation. But John Sterling seems to have no interest in the game or the people who play it. His only stab at analysis is how many games the Yankees are behind in the loss column and how critical the upcoming Boston series is. His descriptions of the action are bland and imprecise, and often, as the title of this blog points out, he is just plain wrong. I don't really have a problem with his mistakes so much as his lack of anything interesting to say -- short of his wacky HR calls. At least Suzyn attempts to interject game-related details, although John frequently sounds a little peeved if she comes too close to his call of the next pitch.

Don't get me wrong. I find the Vin Scully school of baseball broadcasting a bit too florid and over-the-top poetic. But Sterling seems to have given up. I learned baseball by listening to Phil Rizzuto, Frank Messer and Bill White. Especially White and the Scooter. They got inside the plays, the strategy and the rules. And they had fun doing it. Although I fear the Yankees decision-making skills, I'm looking forward to getting some new blood in the booth.

Anonymous said...

I'm with both of you, above: biggest mistake, trading Miller (although I guess it did give us Frazier, which we may regret soon, when Cash-Puss trades him for a used-up reliever or starter) - - and, it got us Justus What's-Its, who's on the shelf for a good while...

You're right to repeat that old blessing/curse, John - - although some might call them unsettling and fearsome.

Headcase Chasely should probably have been included, Duque - - I agree with Tom: Headcase is one of my nightmares, though every once in a while he slips out of his soporific state and probably buys himself another month or two at 3B.

Incidentally, Duque, only thing I know of that "Domingo" means in Spanish, is Sunday. LB (No J)