Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Earlier this year, we said bad things about Neil Walker. It's time to take them back.

The Cashmanic Regime signed 32-year-old Neil Walker on March 12, three weeks into the scrum of spring. He came up 18 times, hitting .222. His arrival sent a resounding "MEH" across the Yankiverse, which - translated into Cashmanese - said: "Forget Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres, we're back to tin cans from the recycling bin."

It didn't help that Walker hit .165 in April, fanning nearly 25 percent of the time. Once again, the Empire was keeping an under-performing veteran over kids. Tyler Wade was exiled to Scranton, disillusioned and depressed, to begin a season-long funk.  

Walker looked like the prototypical dead weight, the kind that has haunted us in this millennium. From Raul Mondesi to Vernon Wells, from Stephen Drew to Pronk, they steal sunlight from youngsters, and they always receive a long, soul-crushing leash. At a time when the Yankees were promoting "the Baby Bombers," Walker signaled that nothing had really changed: We were still a team of checkbook-fueled mediocrity. 

Walker came alive in May, hitting .294, when he seemed part of every win, as the Yankees soared into first. He died in June - .063 - and the team stagnated. Hot in July - .345 - and this month, he has suddenly started hitting for power. In August, he has 6 HRs, including last night's walk-off, a glorious Yankee comeback. 

Batting LH, he is hitting .239 but with 8 HRs. (RH: .172 with 1 HR.) There is talk of Luke Voit taking Greg Bird's job at first. The real threat to Bird is Walker, taking games when a right-hander pitches. And, frankly, it can't happen soon enough. Bird has been the recipient of a long, soul-crushing leash. It's time to look elsewhere for LH power.

Cashman was right. We were wrong. Walker has helped this team. And if we are facing a RH pitcher in the Wild Card game, he should be playing 1B.

While I have you....

1. Scranton lost last night. It doesn't look good for Triple A games in an extended post-season. However...

2. Trenton is in the Eastern League playoffs. That could give Aaron Judge a game or two after the season ends next Monday.

3. Time is rapidly running out on Clint Frazier, who would seemingly require a minor league rehab stint before moving up to the Yankees. My guess is he's done. If he were readying for a rehab, we'd have heard something. What a sad, miserable year for Red Thunder. 

4. The Seattle Mariners are fading, and when we play them in early September, they might be so far behind that even a sweep can't help them. 

5. Craig Kimbrel of Boston blew another save last night (though the Redsocks won.) He has been awful since the all-star break. Right now, they do not have a closer.

6. I find myself thinking a lot about Andrew McCutchen in RF for the Yankees in the post-season, if we can fit him in under the salary cap. If Judge doesn't return - we have to prepare ourselves for that possibility - he might bring a hot bat. If Judge does return, he could platoon with Gardy in left. Of course, the devil is in the details: How much would SF demand in return? But none of the waiver trade alternatives bring me hope. (And I'd rather see Refsnyder out there than the Grandyman. Sad, eh?)  

18 comments:

TheWinWarblist said...

So endeth the JuJu.

KD said...

we need to put John M on suicide watch.

John M said...

Hey! Hey! I'm still here.

Jeez Louise, I even watched the game last night and laughed when Neil "The Hat" Walker ended the game.

The only thing is, I wish John Carlo would hit number 300 already. Because he really sucks while he's trying.

Anonymous said...

ROLLED MY FOOT/ANKLE THIS PAST JULY 4TH. (ALCOHOL INVOLVED).

I HAVE A CHIP FRACTURE IN MY FOOT, AND I AM STILL IN A BOOT.

IT IS ABOUT 7 FULL WEEKS AND I AM STILL NOT HEALED (ABOUT 75-80%). FOR SOME REASON, SOMEHOW MY TOES FEEL FUCKED UP, AND FOOT IS STILL SLIGHTLY STIFF.

GRANTED, IT IS MY FOOT, AND NOT MY WRIST, BUT AARON JUDGE HAS THE SAME TYPE THING, (CHIP FRACTURE).

GRANTED, HE IS 26 AND I AM 57, SO HE SHOULD HEAL FASTER.

.....BUT HIS LIVING IS SWINGING THE BAT WHICH IS SO MUCH MORE VIOLENT COMPARED TO MY EVERYDAY WALKING.

JUDGEY HURT HIS WRIST JULY 27TH.

8 WEEKS (WITH REHAB GAMES INCLUDED) TAKES US TO THE END OF SEPTEMBER/EARLY OCT.

SORRY, BUT I DON'T THINK HE CAN MAKE IT BACK THIS SEASON.

WHY RISK THE REST OF HIS CAREER ON A CHECK SWING IN REHAB GAMES?

SHUT HIM DOWN AND LETS HAVE HIM AS CLOSE TO 100% AS POSSIBLE IN 2019.

IT TRULY WAS A BAD BREAK, NO PUN INTENDED.

MAKE THE DEAL FOR ANDREW MCCUTCHEN.

Anonymous said...

John M

Yes. He did get that single though. Hopefully he's changing his approach because the last thing we need is him pressing during the playoffs.

Duque - You brought up Red Thunder, a guy done in by playing too hard. Done in by doing the right thing. Hustling as opposed to loafing. (Cough. Sanchez. Cough.)

This was his year. We're starting Shane Robinson. He could have established himself as the LF for the next ten years. Instead, nothing. And, by the time he's ready,(with lingering doubts about his ability to stay healthy) Cashman will be eyeing big name free agents and, once signed, he goes. Maybe he's never right again. Done in by playing full out.

It so sucks. At the same time it's also why I follow the game.

The thing that I love about sports in general and baseball in specific are the story lines. Non-contrived drama. Every other form of story based entertainment has someone behind it predetermining the outcome. Sports is pure. Yesterday we hate and deride Walker. Today he's a hero. You can't make this shit up. Thank G-d!


Doug K.


Anonymous said...

ALL CAPS,

I think you're right. I don't think he's coming back either. It's all so fragile. Then again, maybe he comes back for one at bat and pulls a Kirk Gibson in the one game play in. As I said above, it's why I watch.

Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Nope. I ain't buyin' it, Duque.

I believe it's still unknowable that Walker's awful, season-long .222 could not have been matched by half-a-dozen other people we had or could have obtained.

As I recall, many of his at-bats came when Brandon Drury was beating the tar out of the ball down in Triple-A. Hell, even Tyler Wade might have come around to .222 given a whole season.

HoraceClarke66 said...

ALL-CAPS, sorry to hear about the foot, but a good point regarding Judge. No, we should not rush him.

And yes, Doug K., Frazier is a real tragedy. Hell, even McKinney missing his chance was sad.

But we can't know if Red Thunder will ever boom again. It is why we are now obligated to go for Harper in the free-agent market.

As for McCutcheon, I say no if the cost is anything of value. This team is not going anywhere. Anybody check out the fielding last night? Awful starting with Bird's failure to grasp an easy throw on the first batter of the game. This is not a team that has its collective head in the game long enough to win anything.

HoraceClarke66 said...

It WAS nice to see Boston almost melt down last night. Damned shame the young Marlins threw that game away with so many unforced errors.

If Boston's bullpen is breaking down at long last...this could be Houston's year. Or Cleveland's.

TheWinWarblist said...

Somebody's year, for sure.

TheWinWarblist said...

Fuck Houston in the ass.

KD said...

Pussies in Houston can't even stand to be outside in their own environment, so they built a dome. I don't understand. I've heard they have a beautiful cooling breeze coming off the Gulf of Mexico during the summers. The climate I hear is so favorable, Houston is often referred to as "The Ashville of the Deep South". Yet there, under a dome, the lowly Houstonians fearfully gather. I'd say they are hiding. Hiding from life itself.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I think Houston will soon be referred to as "The Okeefenokee of Texas."

Rufus T. Firefly said...

KD,

I have spent an August or two in Houston. It is brutal if you are not directly on the water.

Anonymous said...

Walker has been OK OVERALL, but no better than OK. Streaky and unreliable, and mediocre on defense and slow on the basepaths. Unathletic. The epitome of the washed-up, downward-spiraling "veteran presence" that Cashman seems to find so reassuring. Over the long haul of the season--and for its future development--the team would have been better off promoting Tyler Wade and letting him develop at the major league level while retaining Tyler Austin. Cashman always needs these washed-up mediocrities as INSURANCE against his insecurities about developing young players--which is why the Yankees will never develop another dynasty under his regime.

John M said...

McKinney is kicking ass for the Jay's.

Price, losing in the 6th, got pulled from the game after being hit by a batted ball.

Andrew Miller DLed. Very bad for Cleveland.

Walker has had a few clutch moments. Doesn't make up for how terrible he was, especially since he and Drury were signed only because Cashman didn't think Miggy and Torres we're ready. The rookies of the year. The guys who have kept this team in the running.

Cashman sucks. As I've said before, he just makes moves to show he's shaking the tree. If we had brought up Sheffield, kept McKinney, kept Austin (who has a very sharp Dad)...but, that's how it goes with our General Genius. Can't sit still and let things develop, has to make it worse.

Anonymous said...

JOHN M. IS RIGHT ON ABOUT "GENERAL GENIUS".

I ALMOST LIKE THAT AS MUCH AS COOPERSTOWN CASHMAN.

HoraceClarke66 said...

You are completely right, John M.

And as usual with General Genius, it was all left to the last minute on the trade deadline.

There was plenty of time to get a good bead on all these guys, McKinny, Austin, Drury, Sheffield, Adams, even Frazier, well before the trade deadline, thanks to the injuries and Toe having to go home.

But no, Coops always prefer to hide them in the minors, thinking that no other GM will possibly suss out:

—Who the clunkers are

—How desperate he is

But hey, surprise, surprise, we're now slogging desperately toward September.