Wednesday, July 19, 2017

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Somewhere out there, I don't know how this happened, I've been maintaining the outdated delusion that a first-baseman who is hitting .207 should be a candidate for the scrap yard - not the cherished target of a big Yankee trade.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? 


KD said...

I am shocked and saddened but I really shouldn't be. this move is par for the course. Last year was just a fluke, an aberration. I wonder if this is the reason we stocked up with mad young talent last year. so we could trade it away for a shot at the fake wild card. we can be sure pencil was put to paper and this was discerned to be the path to maximal profits.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

It's definitely a weird trade, right in there (brain-infarction-wise) with leaving Caleb Joseph in the game after 2 good innings. It fits, that way.

I think we, the fans, can be OK with this trade -- as long as it is the FINAL piece of Cashman's maneuvering for July.

It is, of course, a shame the ChiSox wouldn't take Headley as a part of this deal. I don't think Cash pushed hard enuf on this. I enjoyed reading this AM that Headley says he'll be happy to move to first base, to make room for TFrazier.

I wonder if he'd be just as happy to move to Scranton? After all, he collects $13 million next year even if we send him to Mars.

BAD NEWS: It is only the 19th. There are 12 days to go before the bell rings. There might actually be MORE of this brilliance to come! Thus far, 2019 is still a possibility.

If there's more of this, as we used to say in Brooklyn -- forgetaboutit.

JM said...

Nobody mentioned Dave Robertson. With Robertson, who's only 32 or something, we could theoretically move Chapman again. Our bullpen go-tos can be Green, Warren, Betances, Robertson. He's still good.

For as bad a month or so Ty--not the guy--has had, I still hate to see him go. He sounds heartbroken to leave. Inside him beats the heart of a Yankee, always has, and after two half-years, he's gone again. Feel really bad for him.

Why the fuck did we give up two good prospects, though? Really? Frazier is a nothingburger. And so much for giving Coop a decent chance. I was warming up to the kid. And what about Bok Choi? Will we no longer see his grinning visage at all?

This organization is totally fucked up. We've let three potential All Stars go now, including Gamel, and for what? As much as I love me some D-Rob, it's just plain stupid.

Did you ever get the feeling that Cashman doesn't give a shit, and that he just makes deals to make some deals? Like Paul Newman in "Cool Hand Luke"--"I'm shakin' the tree, boss! I'm shakin' the tree!"

The Ghost of Yankees Past said...

This trade seems to center on getting two excellent relievers and a throw in soon to be free agent third base man for a top prospect in Rutherford and a possible big league pitcher in Clarkin. If these were the misssing pieces to being a serious World Series contender you would say great, let's make the trade. Except now with good luck we get to the post season and lose in the LSC . Yes the bullpen is a strength again. But the fact is the staring pitching is still inconsistent and not at a level to win the American League Championship no less the World Series.

So the only way for this trade to make sense is for the Yankees to add a starting pitcher that can close the gap and give them a pitching staff that can help them beat Houston ,Boston etc. The problem is there are not any aces out there and the price for the pitchers that are available ( can you say Sonny Gray) will be more top prospects. That may hurt more than giving up Rutherford, unless Brian Cashman can pull a rabbit out of his hat. It feels like the Yankees are chasing "fools gold". Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Cash-Puss: STOP!! STOP RIGHT HERE!! You've done enough damage already. We are going to be sorry in future years about this trade, you can bet on that...

The price for any decent starter is going to be way too high, and involve some of our best prospects, I have no doubt. DON'T DO IT, CASH-PUSS!!

Not only that, the rumor-mill has it that we might be interested in Duda & Reed - - THAT really, really, distresses me - - here's my primal scream: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

I'm sorely disappointed, as well, that it appears that they have no intention of giving Cooper a decent chance - - that is "sick" and "sad", and I sincerely hope it's "fake news". The man is starting to rake, and he's playing a decent first-base. DON'T FIX WHAT'S NOT BROKEN!! Fire Cash-Puss, and FIRE Joey Blue-Binders, and we might be fine (until Rutherford, Polo & Clarkin become super-stars, of course. LB (No J)

Parson Tom said...

wow! I went to bed sort of liking this trade. In my head, Rutherford was years away in low A, Clarkin in high A not much closer. So we got rid of Clippard, who had just been through one of the most epic meltdowns in history, and we got two sharp guys for the bullpen. Gd knows we needed help in the bullpen.

Plus, if the team has any sense, we plug Frazier into 3B to see if he can muster something more than weak groundballs to 2nd. And Headley sits. Or goes away -- to Scranton or somewhere were they need a switch-hitting slap hitter who can commit a lot of errors with his glove and his arm.

Now, if the braintrust intends to plug Frazier and Headley into the lineup and send Gary Cooper back to the lonesome prairie, I'm a little less excited. But at least we've got Robertson and Kahnle for the bullpen, right? That's a good thing, especially if it means less reliance on the Twitchy Twins -- Bettances and Chapman. (Have you ever watched two guys look more uncomfortable than our supposedly Lights Out Bullpen last night?)

I'm no big fan of the Braintrust, but this didn't look all that bad until I read what you guys had to say. Now, I've got my doubts.

13bit said...

And Brigadoon is now DFA, along with Choi

ranger_lp said...

A few takeaways from the deal:

1. We will be perusing Harper when he becomes FA....I think this is obvious.
2. Our bullpen is much stronger now. We should be able to rotate these 5 relievers and rest 2 of them at a time.
3. Todd Frazier will be our first baseman now. Cooper or Choi will be sent down.
4. Does Sterling use the same HR call for Todd and Clint?

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain but try to look at it this way Choi (a.k.a The Big Bokker) was always toast. So he's gone. They just got Cooper so he will play... some. Frazier (The Elder) also serves as insurance for Holiday in case his Osgood Schlatter or the Sit Com disease (Epstien from Welcome Back Kotter + Roseanne Barr) or whatever that illness was, returns. Also like a Bufferin he provides Headly relief.

Speaking of relief yeah... we just got a bunch including the metaphisical --- a visceral joy from never seeing Clippard pitch as a Yankee again, and yes I feel bad for him as well but combine that with never seeing Pineda as a Yankee again) and that's a lot of relief right there.

Plus by bringing back D Rob and the other guy we continue to bring the band back together. All we need is Steve Hamilton and we are SET.

Now to the sad part... B. Ruth (when you write it like that the trade does seem kind of stupid.) But hey you gotta give to get and the Yankees have a lot of outfielders. The other guys... Tito Polo? Sure he has great lineage what with being the love child of Tito Puente and a golf shirt but seriously how many of us who follow the team closely enough to be reading this blog even knew who he was?

Look, like any trade we won't know till we do. We're still debating the Pineda trade (a clear lose/lose) At least we can stop imploding in the late innings as the bullpen provides the greatest save of all... saving my liver.

Doug K.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

4. Does Sterling use the same HR call for Todd and Clint?

Todd-zilla terrorizes the Bronx!

HoraceClarke66 said...

I was pretty dismayed, too.

I do hold out the forlorn hope that this is only the first step in something more constructive. That acquiring Frazier means Cashman intends to somehow ship away Headley, at least, and deal Chapman and/or Betances, the Kamikaze Kids, for more prospects. Which might make sense.

But that hope is not only forlorn, it seems likely to metastasize soon into desperate, foolish, abandoned, and clingy.

Nickname Damur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Jeez, I wish, Horace...If only Cash-Puss & Blue-Binders were trade-able... LB (No J)

Parson Tom said...

Doug K. -- post of the day. Metaphysics and Steve Hamilton. Can't do any better than that.