Tuesday, July 18, 2017

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?


KD said...

You keep forgetting about Tanaka. He ought to have trade value. Yanks should see what they can get for the Professor before the elbow blows. We need to be realistic about our chances this year. Don't want to sacrifice the future for a one-and-out fake wild card appearance.

the only real difference from last year to this year is that our boys are more fun to watch. I'll take it, even with the RISP fail and occasional head-scratchers (Didi bunting with two outs...)

Tom said...

It's so much better to be a Yankee fan now than 12 months ago. Last year, B.S. -- before Sanchez -- they were beyond boring and frustrating. Since the last trade deadline, they've taken an extra base on what looked like a single to right and look like a really exciting young club -- that needs some pitchers and some other tweaks to the lineup.

I go up and down with the latest win or loss as much as the next guy, but look at our outfield: Seems like Gardner and/or Ellsbury are getting squeezed out by Frazier and Hicks (flash in the pan or the real thing?). The infield needs some "work" at the corners, but we're really strong at catcher. They strike out way too much -- I didn't realize Judge was on pace for 200. But the problem now is on the mound.

If Hal is going to invest, it needs to be pitchers. Such an unpredictable lot, those pitchers. You could buy the best one on the market, and his arm falls off. You could nurse the young ones along, and their arms fall off. The only one who doesn't get hurt is Clippard, who was quite serviceable -- until he wasn't. Right now, other than Holliday, who has been good but not great, we don't have veteran assets to trade. Does anyone want a free-swinging 2nd baseman who made the all-star game? For a good pitcher, it would be fine with me if Castro moved along and made room for Mateo or some other.

But we all have to realize that at some point Hal and Cash will start packaging these prospects. Mistakes will be made. Hopefully, we don't wind up with Rick Rhoden again.

Tom said...

*KD is right: Tanaka is a valuable trade chip. CC. too? I personally don't think the team will be so prudent two years in a row. But it seems unrealistic -- nay, delusional -- to think they could get good and hot enough to make a deep playoff run this year. I think we're still looking for our first three-game winning streak since May.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

Select quotes:

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

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've fallen, and we cannot get up.

These are signs that all point to one inescapable conclusion: REPLACE THE MANAGER. NOW. PLEASE.

Girardi is just not getting it done in the clubhouse. He benches those who are on hot streaks and leaves those who are struggling in too long (Exhibit 1: Tyler Clippard). The result is that everyone on the team shuffles toward a tepid middle ground, a.k.a., .500.

We need someone who will walk into the clubhouse, clap his hands, and tell everyone to snap out of it. To play some hunches, to stay with a hot hand, and to cut his losses where performance warrants. Right now, that's not happening.

We've got the steady-as-he-goes president of IBM at the helm. We need Richard Branson.

el duque said...

Branson would be good, but the perfect man for the job happens to be Trump.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

It would actually be amusing to see a Tweet from the dugout in the 8th inning that said, "Clippard blows it again! #Loser #WashedUp"

Amusing, but not effective...sigh

Alphonso said...

LBJ has correctly identified a critical area of change.

Girardi is well beyond his " sell by" date, and is managing this team like it is the late 1990's.

It won't accomplish much to make this move in season, but it could jump start next year.

We need a smart, feisty manager who thrills at the idea of revamping a team, with an outstanding core of young player already; Judge, Hicks, Sanchez, Frazier, Didi, Castro, Montgomery, Severino, and some of those pitchers whom we have only recently see ( Heller, Smith, etc), maybe Chad Green.

John M said...

My opinion of Binder Boy is unwavering. Lose him.

I still say, trade Chapman again if someone will take on even 75% of his contract. Bet we could get some nice kids in return. Again.

Why did Bonehead leave Smith in for the 8th? Inexplicable. What, was everyone else just too tired?

Another loss that goes directly to the manager's lousy decision making. I think we're up to about six already this year, and that's being kind. Where would we be if those six had been wins, instead?

You know where.

Anonymous said...

Six losses attributed to Blue-Binders is being extremely kind, John - - I would put it at at least TWICE that many. We simply cannot afford someone who rests anyone who gets hot - - and he's being doing that since 2008, btw) - - someone who looks at his bullpen pieces, and sees a number on their chest, instead of an NY - - someone who invariably has a hook that's so slow it's pointless by the time he gets out there...DUMP HIM!! Now.

and, fine, trade El Chapo NOW, if possible, before his head completely explodes - - or his shoulder.

Tanaka, too - - why not?? He has impressed us mightily, and then, about every other game, left us wondering how many meat-balls he could serve up in the first four or five innings. Enough! Let's hope we can get something for him, before his elbow snaps. LB (No J)

KD said...

I will go postal if Tanaka's elbow blows and he's still a Yankee because even I, dumb as a stump, can see this coming.

Thank him profusely, give him a pat on the back and a gold watch, and send him to a contender for a top prospect or two.

we need a repeat of last year's moves. DO IT!!

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


a. Can anyone explain the we-left-Caleb-Smith-in-too-long thing? Only makes sense if Girardi bet the Twins. Heavily... or maybe Ancient Aliens, who live (temporarily) in Duluth, seized control of JoeyBinders' brain.

b. Were I another team's GM, I wouldn't trade for Tanaka. His pitching is erratic (Eovaldi-style and Pineda-style). His elbow might well "blow" -- and he's making a bunch. Not every GM in the league is a dumb as Brian C. MT's contract runs to 2021, averaging better than $20 million/year. GREAT DEAL if he returns to his (much) earlier form. How great a deal if he does not???

c. Were I another team's GM, I would not trade for Chapman. Whoever takes him voluntarily is on the hook for $17 million a year -- for another 4 years. That's a lot of bux for a 6th-inning pitcher. Maybe he'll get better, return to "form" -- maybe not. Would you bet $68 million of someone else's money on that? Not every GM is a dumb as Brian C, and most teams don't have the bux.

DISAGREEMENT: I'd like to disagree with "if Hal is going to invest." If he's gonna do that, buying out the contracts of Ellsburger and Deadley (i.e., make them disappear NOW). This would cost $13 million for Headley next year and more than $100 million for Ells. That's a lot of dough!

It would cost another $68 million to buy out Chapman and another $80 million to buy out Tanaka. All together, a nice "bail-out" package of $260-million-plus. If you're going to fantasize, go with either of

A - all of these guys play a lot better, and soon; or

B - hal figures out how to get a huge tax break out of paying out all of this money to "make right" some stupid decisions.

How likely is A?

If B seems a good idea to Hal, doncha think his first step might be dumping Brian Cashman?

Sorry to be so long-winded. I have a long-time allergy to fantasy "deals" proposed by various fans of various hard-luck teams. Including mine!

Anonymous said...

Joe, FOB,

So true; not all GMs are as dumb as Cash-puss; but it only takes one out of what?? 29?? who's willing to take a chance and needs pitching; Tanaka still appears brilliant at times, and his velocity hasn't suffered - - if one would put him in a park which isn't a band-box, he might do extremely well (if he holds up physically); also, being in the NL might help him a bit, physically. If some wiser manager (Bochy?? Madden?? Tito??) got hold of him, he also MIGHT try to pitch him every seventh day - - it's pretty much established that he does much better under those conditions, I think.

Re: Chapo: a harder case to make, but he is still throwing 100++; he appears to be a head-case, and somebody other than Lt. Tragg (excuse me, Larry Rothschild) just might be able to straighten him out.

ANYthing we discuss, move-wise, is fantasy of a sort. I think the above are much more likely to happen than what you proposed. God, if only Food Stamps (aka, Prince Hamlet) would be willing to EAT the money from even one or two of those contracts you mentioned, I would even chip in a bit to facilitate it - - how about you?? Perhaps we could start a Help Prince Hal "eat" better movement, or something...

Problem is, unless we get rid of Cash-Puss & Joey Blue-Binders, it probably won't help - - they'll just stick us with the present-day versions of Capuano, Brendan Ryan, Stephen Drew (who does show signs of playing better elsewhere), Kei Igawa, Mr. Sore-Butt, Vernon Wells, Vazquez (TWICE!!), you name your nightmare here - - I have ZERO faith in either Cash-Puss nor Joey. Cash-Puss may have lucked out somewhat on the recent Cooper deal - - we shall see, if he can keep raking...but, let's face it, he very well MIGHT trade away two or three of our "interesting, young players", and get us back David Robertson - - or who the hell else is out there, who resembles Ty Clippy??)

So, OK, were YOU another team's GM, YOU wouldn't trade for 'b' above, nor 'c'; neither would I - - BUT there are others like Cash-Puss out there, who fancy themselves (like our Fearless & Feckless Prez) - - who, pray tell is the present version of Jack Zduriencik?? We need to talk to that guy...Bigly...we have such a deal that he'll get so tired of winning... LB (No J)

JJ in MA said...

Been saying since the start of the season to trade Tanaka. Anything you can get for him at this point is better than an opt-out and he leaves anyway, shaky UCL or no. Even at his most lights out he's never been the ace he was advertised as when he came over.

As for the rest, bench Headley, bench Ellsbury if you can't get rid of them. Holliday might have some trade value at this point, and I wouldn't put much faith in his bat in the second half. Dude is starting to look tired. Trade him while he's still got decent numbers, before he tanks his average and his power stroke looks A-Roddian in its speed.

Speaking of, Judge 0-3 again last night and continues to look dead on his feet. Needs a day or two off, maybe? Stick that in your the-home-run-derby-doesn't-affect-play-after-the-All-Star-break. Was it worth it? As great as that shot of the shock on Dellin Betances' face is that YES keeps showing, the answer is a definitive "nope."

And yeah, Girardi out. Years ago. I think we can all agree on that.

Nickname Damur said...

From Ken Rosenthal

Source: #Yankees close to getting Frazier, Robertson and Kahnle from #WhiteSox for prospects.