Thursday, August 16, 2018

These days, the Yankiverse is a sad, dark place

Hello, Darkness, my old friend; I've come to speak with you again...

What will future Yankeestorians say of this decade - the twenty-teens - that 10-year stretch in which the once-legendary franchise won... nothing? 

How will they remember the worst Yankee decade in history - a period when the team-owned media constantly assured us that all was fine, that its rising stars would end up in Monument Park, and its front office was destined for Cooperstown.

Can you imagine Old-Timers Day 2025? Look, daddy, there's Greg Bird! Remember him? And Gary Sanchez! Wow, he's sure put on weight! And there's Luis Severino! Remember that incredible half-season he had?

This is the world of state-owned media - sports-style. In it, we constantly hear that the Yankees will soon snap from their doldrums and vault into the post-season. That's not Lyle Overbay at first. It's Bird, ready to break-out any second. And that's not Chris Bootcheck on the mound. It's Luis Cessa, the promising young arm! And that's not Austin Romine behind the plate. It's - wait - actually, it is!

For the last two years, we've been swamped by hopeful reports about a farm system bursting with talent. We've watched a stream of Kevin Maases who explode onto the scene and then slide into a tedious, painful mediocrity, like a frog boiling in water. It happens so slowly that you don't even notice it.

I guess we're supposed to take solace from the Wild Card race. Last night, Seattle beat Oakland, keeping our lead over the A's at 4 games in the loss column. Trouble is, the Mariners have now closed to 7, and they pose are much darker threat than simply losing home field advantage. They represent the Knockout Round, the disturbing image of the mighty 2018 Yankees going home Oct. 5 without even a one-game post-season, carving their legacy as one of the most disappointing teams in Yankee history. 

Today, two countering theories dominate our world.

1. The team is simply in a rough patch. Soon, Aaron Judge will return, igniting the lineup, and maybe Gary Sanchez, too. Severino will figure out his problems, and the bullpen will come around. This team has enough talent - and a large enough lead - to weather the storm. Yes, we must win the Wild Card game, but once into the playoffs, we'll be as dangerous as any team standing. If we're hot in October, that's all that matters. 

2. The chickens have come home to roost. We were always a plane designed with three wings and one propeller. This fate was sealed in amber last winter, when we couldn't resist trading for Giancarlo Stanton - a great player who, nevertheless, was not the pitcher we needed. With Food Stamps Hal Steinbrenner obsessed over evading luxury taxes, the 2018 season became a bizarre exercise in all-for-nothing austerity. We never addressed our pitching issues. Now, we face the very real chance that our rising "stars" - Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, even Gleyber Torres - were just flash-in-the-pans. And our vaunted farm system, now drained to middling status, offers an endless spigot of Tommy John surgeries and Luis Cessa. 

Tonight, this debate could reach a crossroads. While it's way too early to assign all-or-nothing status to one game, the Yankees tonight could lose a home series to Tampa - Tampa! - a team that effectively punched out of the race several weeks ago. This was supposed to be a time of tomato cans, when the Yankees sewed up the Wild Card and floated toward a healthy October. 

Instead, we are reminded that this is might not be the New York Yankees of 27 world championships... that these are the Yankees of a different millennium, and we remain mired in a dark, tedious decade, the worst in history. If so, nothing they can say will make a difference. The sounds of silence...

16 comments:

KD said...

duque, worse than the great barf?

13bit said...

We will be better off if we don’t make the playoffs in any way. I say this as a fan. We need to bottom out before we’re going to get better.

Anonymous said...

Worse than the 80's? Steve Kemp? Jack Clark? Ed Whitson?

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


A third theory: MLB has done three things, one undetected, to handicap the Yankeess:

1. By introducing the draft, MLB minimized the team's dominance in obtaining quality players at the start of their careers.

2. By imposing a salary cap, the ability to spend money on good free agents (high-quality players in mid-career) was cut short.

3. Undetected: MLB imposed Brian Cashman on the Yankees as GM. This is much as the handicappers at a thoroughbred track add poundage to a dominant horse to make him/her equal to the lesser entries in a field. Except no horse has ever had to carry around this much dead weight for this long!

[note: if #3 is correct, no matter what happens, the team won't shed Cashman. He'll die in the job, or walk away when it suits him.]

Also:

a. I endorse what 13bit said above. Might be better off if we miss the fun this year. A worthwhile shock to the system.

b. For the record, I am NOT "Joe F." There's nothing wrong with the other guy -- I just wanted to note that we are, indeed, not the same fella.

Joe F said...

Our GM/manager is the handicap
This team needs to change their name to the ice cream sandwich after they're very own whom they have selfishly basking in the DL instead of working his ass off to get into shape for the resemblance of a stretch run the yanks are in

Another note "JoeFOB" I am formerly FROM brooklyn, I'm in AZ noW.

Carl Weitz said...

When will this effing Luis Cesspool experiment end? Its going on 2 fruitless years. Yeah, he's a "power arm", big deal. His problems are mostly twofold: He cant find the plate and after 2 innings he's up to 55 pitches or he finds too much of the plate and he gives up HRs.

The Yankees are always so reluctant to bring up promising pitching talent for more "experienced" players. Usually, that means people like AJ Cole or some Cashman recycled trash heap pick up. Experience is never a substitute for talent. It's the same at every position. They'd rather go with Shane Robinson who has a track record of failure because he is "seasoned" instead someone who is better with more upside like Ryan McBroom who is hitting over .300 with 11 HR. Ryan may not be the next Roger maris but he would certainly be a more effective player than Robinson.

Has anyone seen the current Scranton roster? Jesus Tapdancing Christ! Seventeenth minor league system is a very generous ranking. It's beyond depleted.

http://www.milb.com/roster/index.jsp?sid=t531



Anonymous said...

Carl,

It's depleted because the good kids are up. (Good in theory anyway. There are some potential busts.) If you graduate this many players you're going to take a hit in the rankings. Then again, that's the minors job. to graduate players

1B - Bird (Busty)
2B - Gleybar
3B - AnDUjar
C- Sanchez (Busted)
RF - Judge

That's more than 1/2 the starters. Pretty good. Except for the busts but that's the game. We like when they play the kids.

Plus Trades for

DH Stanton
SP Happ
SP Lynn
RP Britton (Busty)

That's 2/5 of our starters (and right now our only good ones.)plus our main DH. It does the deplete the system though.

Part of our outfield issue is Frazier got hurt. That's some tough luck right there. For him and for us. Imagine if he played all of those games instead of Shane Robinson. It would be a different story.

Duque,

Yeah it is tough watching how mediocre they've become.

Thanks to the DVR I can get through a game in just over an hour and a half. The trick is to skip the opponents ABs in the 4th and 5th inning when our "lights out" starters always seem to give up runs in bunches. Unless it's the reverse and I can skip the first two innings - The key sequence is: walk, hit, extra base hit, or HR. I'm gone.

Actually it's the pitcher who should be gone but you know... Boone so it's time to hit the FF button. That's close to an hour back right there.

Fast forward a few Greg Bird at bats, the Dellin dominance, and the first 5 batters El Chapo faces in the 9th and I can be watching Community reruns in no time.

Doug K.

Carl Weitz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carl Weitz said...

Doug K....totally agree as to the reasons. But why not try Sheffield at this point. And McBroom. I know partly its the 40 man roster thing but getting rid of Robinson would clear one spot.

I will now continue watching the game. Shane Robinson just struck out ( again) in the bottom of the third with the Yankees down 2-0 to the lowly Rays.

Anonymous said...

Carl,

Yes! Sheffield and McBroom. Absolutely. Don't understand what is taking so long.

Doug K.

13bit said...

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KD said...

If AnDUjar can't do it, it isn't getting done.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Only thing I disagree with, Duque, is Stanton. I get the millstone idea. But without him this year, what would our record be?

Was there really someone—some pitcher, as you suggest—who we could have got instead, for Starlin and that minor leaguer? Anybody above, say, Single-A ball? I don't think so.

For that matter, I think what we are seeing this year is that Brian Cashman does indeed have absolutely no idea of how to build a winner from within. Given that, I say, by all means, bringing in the overpriced, ultimately destructive free agents!

Stanton? Yes! Corbin? Yes! Manny? Yes! Harper? YES!!!

I would rather see us rise or fall with the stars, than what Coops is putting us through right now.

Yep, 2001-2012 were painful. With the exception of 2009. Which, all in all, beats 2013-

HoraceClarke66 said...

13bit, JoeF, I completely agree. At least missing the Wild Card will force people to pay attention and provide a tiny sliver of hope that Coops might get canned.

Carl W., I agree. I get that Scranton is pretty bare now because we brought up so many guys. BUT we were told that we had such a great, top-to-bottom system—which really great farm systems are—which should mean we at least have promising new kids in Triple-A.

We don't have them there. We don't SEEM to have them anywhere, all of a sudden—and it did not help that the middle of the system got scraped clean so we could double down on our 16-year-old crapshoots.

HoraceClarke66 said...

And NO, I don't think this is worse than the late '80s. At least not so far.

That is another of the many things I love about this blog. We are, at least many of us, old enough to understand when things are going south.

On other Yankees sites, the moment anybody expresses a negative thought, the rest of the Borg jump on him like so many instructors at a communist re-education camp:

"How can you say that when we have the second-best record in baseball??? Into the sweat box with you!"

Anonymous said...

The Yankees have two consistently good hitters in their starting lineup: Stanton and Andujar. That's it. Everyone else is either undependably streaky (Hicks, Gardner, Gregorious), underwhelming and overrated (Bird, Walker, and Romine), or in a mysterious and hopefully temporary funk (Torres). The starting pitching is equally erratic, for reasons I need not belabor. Cashman seems unwilling to make a daring dip into the team's young talent to remedy the crisis: No Sheffield, no Florial, not even McBroom. Just hold on tight and wait for all these stiffs to get hot--which means wait till next year, Brian.

This is not a team that seems destined for the postseason--in baseball, at least. I hear October is a glorious month for golfing, though. Go Yanks.