Sunday, August 19, 2018

It's now or never for Mr. Gregory Paul Bird

Yesterday, in a stunning late-inning moment, YES Centerstage ringmaster Michael Kay reverted to his sports radio bomb-throwing ways, and all but blamed Greg Bird for the recent torturous game-four meltdown in Boston. 

It came about after Bird failed to snag a bad throw to first. Kay said Bird has let his batting slump affect his fielding, and he honed in on that Sunday night debacle, when Miguel Andujar bounced a throw that Bird couldn't handle, allowing Boston to tie - and later win - the game. 

Kay said Mark Teixiera, now a fellow sports analyst, assured him that he would have snared that throw 99 out of 100 times - it was a routine major league play. Bird muffed it, effectively ending the Yankees' hopes for the AL East. That's a lot to heap on a home team player.

Later yesterday, when Bird came to bat, the YES broadcast experts analyzed his swing in slow-mo and pronounced it lacking, unable to catch up to a major league fastball. Paul O'Neill said Bird has failed to make adjustments, a liability that starkly threatens his career.   

On the next pitch, Bird drove a HR deep into the right field bleachers. O'Neill laughed it off, saying it was the fastest adjustment he's ever seen. And the broadcasters droned into the usual "maybe-this-at-bat-will-break-him-out" banter, which plays for every slumping Yankee.

Listen: I'm not here to rip the YESsirs. We spank them regularly on this blog for crassly leading cheers; we cannot become indignant if they criticize a player. Still, it's rare to hear the type of fed-up impatience being directed at Bird. If we assume that YES reflects the views of the front office - (I think it's a fair conclusion) - the Greg Bird Era at first could be ending soon.

The recent deadline trade for Luke Voit, now in Scranton, came out of the blue. It turned out to be significant that Brian Cashman sought a RH first-baseman and not an outfielder (which turned out to be a bad move due to unforeseen injuries.) If and when the Yankees return to full strength in the outfield, Neil Walker could become the daily 1B. 

Come winter, Andujar could move to first - his bat justifies it - allowing the Yankees to mount a full-wallet chase of Manny Machado for 3B. Bird, age 26 next year, would be gone.

For the record, I still believe in Bird. But something's gotta give. Entering yesterday, over the last month, he's hitting .185. Over the last 14 days, he's at .132. Over the last seven: .125. Dear God, that's a disaster. 

But I don't like hearing players get singled out for such a towering Yankee collapse. There are a million Yankee demons on which to blame that disastrous loss at Fenway - with our all-star closer atop the list. Let's hope Bird's homer does start something. But when he staggers back to the dugout after a pop-up, he's gotta be hearing more than just boos. He can hear a train pulling out of the station. And let's hope he doesn't hear what they're saying on TV.

24 comments:

ranger_lp said...

I think we're seeing a Yankee future without Bird and Sanchez. The FO just needs to look at the metrics.

Anonymous said...

NOBODY LOVES THE IDEA OF GREG BIRD MORE THAN ME....

....BUT PRODUCTION ALWAYS HAS TO WIN OUT, AND THERE IS NEXT TO NOTHING GOING ON WITH HIM FOR TOO LONG NOW.

HE NEVER LOOKS COMFORTABLE AT THE PLATE, AND THAT SWING LOOKS LAZY, SLOW, AND BEHIND.

WE HAVE NO BACKUP, SO WE MUST RIDE HIM TO THE FINISH THIS SEASON.

IT TRULY IS NOW OR NEVER FOR BIRD.

TheWinWarblist said...

He absolutely raked in the minors. The Yankees should have brought him up years ago, before the injuries. Now? I do not know. Will his plant foot ever be strong enough again? Will his swing ever catch up to major league pitching? I want him to do well. Is there any point in waiting? And if so, how long must we wait?

So endeth this sad lonely JuJu.

Anonymous said...

The other day Hoss snapped and went full FA and showed the line up that was possible next year. He added Machado and Harper (Putting Harper at first.)

And you know what, we call Hal "Cheap Hal" and bemoan his obsession w/ the fake bottom line and deride his lack of spending but when we get free agents or trade for guys in salary dumps we get mad too. (Although I think that Duque's earlier point about getting Stanton wasn't so much about Stanton as -- if we were going to add a big salary under the current constraints it should have been a pitcher and I agree. That said, where would we be without Stanton? That guy is apparently a machine.

As BLP goes from limitless to limited due to injuries, and that is too bad, lets take Hoss one step further and really look at what is possible. Machado is a vastly better 3B than AnDUjar. I really hope we get him. Plus there's my obsession with the good M thing. (Munson, Mattingly, Matsui my three favorite Yankees all time.)

But I would do one thing differently with than Hoss and more in line with Duque on this. Instead of having AnDUjar in the OF (and learning a new position) and Harper at 1B (and learning a new position) I stick AnDUjar at 1st. (I know we lose his arm but so what? Also, since I've clearly lost it today. Let's do some HR projections just for fun.

1B AnDUjar 30-35+
2B Torres 20-25+
SS Didi 20-25+
3B Machado 30-40+
LF Harper 30-40+
CF Hicks 20-25
RF Judge 35-45+
C Sanchez 30-40+
DH Stanton 40-50+

Frazier 4th OF. 15-20+

Or if he can't come back 1 year of Gardner on a cheap contract.

That is insanely good. But just to show that I'm not totally gone. We still need pitching - lot's and lots of pitching. And did you know that there's only one Yankee at .300 (AnDUjar) how does Marcus Thames still have a job?

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

The above also comes with 4000 strikeouts. But still, the HR range was 255 to 325+ that's an awful lot.

Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I remember, ALL-CAPS: you felt he was the key, inserted between Judge and Stanton. And with Sanchez backing up that trio, and Andujar and Torres before or after that, this seemed like a can't miss lineup.

The bloggers on other sites, where pessimism is punished by long years in a re-education camp, feel sure that Bird's problems are just a function of his injured ankles, and that "it takes a year or so" to regain your form after such an injury.

Of course, he'll probably injure them again next year.

John M said...

And that's a lot of strikeouts, too. Just from an entertainment point of view, strikeouts are incredibly boring, especially when there is anyone in scoring position, when they become boring and annoying as hell.

I don't like the Home Run Derby approach to hitting. The most enjoyable moments of any game are when the team bats around, when singles and doubles and simply good hitting are on display.

We don't have enough of that anymore.

Anonymous said...

John

i agree with you. I prefer lots of base hits as well. More .300 hitters. I was just looking at the ridiculous HR potential.

Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

What I don't get about contemporary baseball is what John Gibbons did in the first inning today.

That is, leave his young starter in to give up 6 runs to the first 6 batters—all right, fine, they're rebuilding—then lets him get two outs, then pulls him to bring in a reliever with a 6.47 ERA, to pitch to a .243 batter with nobody on base.

And the point is...what? To make sure that everybody in the park gets as bored as possible? To slow the game to a crawl? What?

High strategy moves like that must turn a dozen people off the game everyday.

HoraceClarke66 said...

So Didi is hurt now. Well, I guess this will be a last chance for Tyler Wade to show us something.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


After reading the above posts, I began to imagine exactly what an IIH "re-education camp" would be like.

Watching Duque + Alph drink heavily, while being slowly roasted on a spit (above a fire)--?

Having one of the other bloggers lecture you (in a slow, drawn-out monotone) about sabermetrics? You'd have to be strapped into a chair.

Enduring commentary on world affairs by Paul O'Neil, while being forced to watch video of him beating the crap out of various water coolers and other inanimate objects?

Being forced to drink cup after cup of Chapman's flop sweat?

Losing a footrace to Gary Sanchez?




Anonymous said...

Tyler Wade has never been given much of a chance to show anything at the major league level.

TheWinWarblist said...

I could watch video of Paul O'Neil beating water coolers and throwing bats on the field for hours! I have actually searched Youtube for such things. It's fucking hilarious!

And hey, hey, lokkey, lookey! Bird planted that front claw in the 1st. And then - apparently - took the rest of the afternoon off.

I'm warming up the warbler.

TheWinWarblist said...

Doug K., that line up would only strike out three thousand times. Not four thousand.

Thirty five hundred tops.

TheWinWarblist said...

WHY WON'T BOSTON EVER LOSE!?!?!? WHY WON'T SUNNY THROW STRIKES!?!?!? AHH! AHHH!!!
AAaAhhaaaa-haha-haaa-hhhhhHHHHHHHHaaaaAAHHHHHHHHHHHaaaa-ah-ah-ah-aaaaaaaaAaAaHaHaHaaaAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhh !!!!!

TheWinWarblist said...

Anyone notice that the Yanks only struck out 4 times today??

Anonymous said...

Anyone notice that Boston DID lose today?? Not that it matters all that much, at this point. They would need to play .500 ball for about as long as we have, since the AS break.

David Price is getting snippy with reporters again, too - - not sure if that's a good sign, or a negative one.

I'm sorry, Warblist, I can't stand listening to Paul O'Neill opine on much of anything - - really lengthens the game for me.

The YESsirs (I like that, duque) say that Ma challenged Bird this weekend - - and they're apparently thrilled with the "spectacular" result. For my part, I reserve judgment. I DO think, btw, that Bird definitely should have made that scoop which duque referenced - - in the second-most-painful game I ever remember watching...but he's right: so many other things went wrong in that game that it is unfair to pin the loss solely on him. First base was my position, though, back in the day, and you need to be able to make scoops such as that one 99 percent of the time, plus (Teix was correct, re: that).

Being a bit more advanced in age than most of you, I would absolutely wish to add another 'M' to Doug K's list - - actually, two of them: MM, Himself. Certainly those four 'M's have to be among the very pinnacle of players of my time watching MLB.

I would also rather be tortured on this blog (save the sabremetrics lecture) - - than to have to routinely read most other Yankee blogs - - RAB, excepted. LB (No J)

HoraceClarke66 said...

Actually, Paulie and Cone had a rather intelligent conversation with Michael Kay today—I know, I know, don't everybody faint—about how the game is played, and how it should be played. They were all very tolerant about each other's views, but I felt that O'Neill made the best argument for wanting to go back to smart hitting and pitching. Very interesting.

HoraceClarke66 said...

As for me, THEORETICALLY, I would love to pass on someone such as Harper, who strikes me as not terribly good in the clutch and an egomaniac. I would rather go with a team that plays smart, and concentrates on situational hitting and pitching.

(And incidentally, anyone notice—now that Ma has no choice—how good the Yanks have become at forcing the action, scoring and setting up runs through hit-and-runs, steals, and the like?)

BUT...I feel that a combination of injuries to key guys (or potential key guys) such as Clint Frazier, and Cashman's various moves, have forced our hand.

It's like being a pacifist in 1933—then Hitler comes to power. (Not that Cashman is Hitler!)

Circumstances have changed and suddenly we are actually short of bodies.

Gardner is done—and never should have been considered more than a No. 4 outfielder in the first place. We have no idea if Frazier will be able to even play next year, or ever again. We don't know if the future will—or CAN—include Sanchez and Bird.

So where are we?

Truth is, Cashman has forced us to do what he does best: sign free agents to big, bloated contracts.

Or let me put in this way: I don't especially want to see Bryce Harper playing in the Yankees' outfield next year. But I really, really, really don't want to see Shane Robinson, or Neil Walker, or their equivalent playing there again.

Doug K., I think Harper's remaining athleticism would be wasted at first, as would Andujar's arm. But I would be all for teaching them to play it. Along with Stanton, and hell, maybe Judge.

Truth is, with the notable exceptions of Dave Kingman and Ron Blomberg, EVERYBODY can play first base.

So let's have them ready, since Cashman will insist on giving over half the roster to pitchers. Let's get all the worthwhile free agents we can, since Coops knows no other way.

13bit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

HOSS, I BELIEVE YOU GOT IT RIGHT. (I WOULD LIKE TO PASS ON HARPER TOO).....BUT....

GARDY IS DONE, WITH NO IDEA ABOUT FRAZIER.

I DON'T EVER WANT TO SEE ANOTHER SITUATION WITH SHANE ROBINSON, AND NEIL WALKER IN THE OUTFIELD.

BRING HARPER IN HERE. (TELL HIM TO BRING BOTH HIS OUTFIELDER'S GLOVE AND HIS FIRST BASEMAN'S GLOVE).

ranger_lp said...

Gibbons pulled the pitcher because he threw 200 pitches in the first inning. Actually it was 44. Calloway did the same thing with one of his pitchers in the first inning this year when he threw over 40 pitches. "New Rule."

KD said...

We like hustle, Clint. But would you please couple it with a small measure of self preservation?

HoraceClarke66 said...

He also spent the whole game bitching and moaning about the umps, and issuing challenges—none of which he won. Yes, we know, you're the manager and you really, really care.