Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Let's ponder some truths about the upcoming winter

Following the death of the 2018 Yankees, it's taken the fan base barely one week to soar through the first two stages of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' Model for Grief. 

The Denial Phase lasted 90 seconds, until the video review concluded on Gleyber Torres' close play at first. Yankee fans understood the situation. Nobody rioted. We handled this stage quite well.

Then came Anger - our wheelhouse. Frankly, we live in this stage, win or lose. In fact, if the Yankees had beaten Boston, we'd today be spewing bile about something stupid that Boone did... it doesn't matter. So, Anger? Yeah, we're passing through it as well as we ever will. 

But now, we've reached the Bargaining Phase, where we will stay for most of the winter. (We'll hit Depression when Spring Training arrives and we still have no shortstop; Acceptance will come on Opening Day, when our well-hyped lineup gets shutout by some team's bullpen.) In the Bargaining stage, we arrange chess pieces for 2019, proposing trades that can never happen. 

And yes, that's the hot stove league, right there: Fantasy trades where we give up nothing and get great young players in return. (The kind we hoped for last winter, when the reigning NL MVP fell into our lap.) But as we bargain, here are some ground rules that I think we should deal with.

1. Nobody is going to take Giancarlo Stanton off our hands. His contract is an anvil. When Derek Jeter unloaded him and his contract on us, we took them both for life. Now... this isn't the worst thing that ever happened. I don't want to be ripping Stanton here. He hit 38 HRs and played with a tweaked gonad. But now and then, folks suggest we can trade Stanton and then sign Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, etc, and - well - that ainta gonna happen. For better or worse, get used to Stanton. Unless he opts out after 2020 (which would mean he's lost his mind) we have him through 2028 at about $30 million per season. He'll be Jacoby Ellsbury times two. (And it means that if the Yankees don't win a championship in the next few years, a long dearth could be upon us in the 2020s, when Hal blames Stanton for out-of-control payroll.)  

2. No matter how much the Yankees spend, there isn't much pitching on the free agent market. We hear about Patrick Corbin. He's a decent pitcher, yeah. But basically, he's the best in a mediocre batch. Here is a compendium of what is out there, pitching-wise. Unless Clayton Kershaw opts out - and the Dodgers would still be favorites to keep him - there is no superstar pitcher waiting to hit NYC. The real free agent market is with position players, where the Yankees are already strong. If we add Machado or Harper, it may mean trading Miguel Andujar or Aaron Hicks. Nobody's going to like that.

3. Boston won't stand pat. Last winter, after winning the AL East handily, they added JD Martinez, the best hitter and most expensive free agent on the market. This summer, with a sizable lead in the division, they added Pearce, Kinsler and Eovaldi. This winter, they'll have $10 million coming off the books with the disappearance of Drew Pomeranz, and there is no sign that the owner intends to hold back. The difference in franchises? They have a billionaire who realizes he is a fucking billionaire, as opposed to Food Stamps Hal Steinbrenner, who thinks the best way to impress his dead daddy is by making more money off the team. If we think the Redsocks will sit by while we add the 10th Fleet, we're wrong. They'll splurge. It won't matter whether they have won their fourth World Championship in 14 years. They'll splurge. 

I say we delay the Bargaining stage and spit some more anger. Just let's leave Aaron Boone for a while and focus on the powers at the top.  


HoraceClarke66 said...

Very interesting, Duque.

I say:

—No already wrung out Japanese star.

—No Lynn.

—No Kershaw, one of the worst big-game pitchers I have ever seen.

—No more CC.

—Yes to Corbin, yes to Happ, and maybe, maybe yes to one of the Astros, just in that it would be weakening them, as well.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I love sportswriters like this, who tell us that the Yanks were "fifth in the AL in pitching, but only 14th overall."

And why would that be? Because the other nine teams play in a league with hitting pitchers, moron!

Also, it's not helpful to give us fake stats like, "CC allowed two or fewer runs in 16 of his 26 starts." It's not hard to give up two or fewer runs when you are always pitching five or fewer innings.

JM said...

I wouldn't mind trading Hicks at all. Sign Harper, trade Hicks, bring up Frazier, let Gardy go along with Cutch.

That would be fine with me.