Friday, October 26, 2018

The Great Darkness looms: The decisions next month may be the most important in our Yankee lifetimes

The dismal, haunting 2018 World Series will end soon, probably by Sunday, when I will finally emerge from behind the couch. I keep telling myself, it's only a movie, only a movie, only a movie... I channel-hop, landing on Fox to find Boston ahead or with the bases full, and it's all I can do to click the remote until the screen finds a mouth-foaming pundit or a medically sculpted Kardashian nipple, so I can escape the truth:

Boston will win the 2018 World Series, and it could be their first of several. 

Look at their lineup. Dear God, you see the Yankees of 1998. Benintendi is Jeter, Betts is Bernie, Martinez is O'Neill, and down the line, every piece fits, with the kind of spirit wins multiple rings. Comrades, the glaciers have melted, the sea is rising, bombs are in the mail, and the Great Darkness - aka the Age of Redsock Supremacy - is upon us.

Last year, Boston outspent us by $40 million. They outspent the Yankees. Yesterday, our Hall-of-Fame brain trust supposedly concluded its 2019 planning sessions, and now awaits a proclamation from the royal family, led by Crown Prince Hal bin Steinbrenner, "Mr. Budget Bone Saw," on how much the team shall spend next year. If Hal keeps our payroll below the luxury tax threshold, it will maintain his popularity with the other billionaire owners in their quests to become trillionaire owners. 

Folks, this is it. If anything is clear from this post-season, it's that only the Yankees can thwart Boston's dynastic march. And everything depends on the decisions made this winter, when the team is restructured by money.

The 2018 Yankees played like statues in a museum, oblivious to each other as they padded their stats. For months, we didn't notice the lack of spirit because of the sheer talent assembled: We won 100 games, after all. It was only when exposed to the Redsocks that our deficiencies became glaring. We didn't make the plays. We didn't get the big hits. We didn't belong on the same field.

The players who were meant to be our heart and soul - Gardy and CC - barely kept their own heads above water. Our sluggers never adjusted their swings, and our rookies did what rookies do. Then there was the curious case of Jacoby Ellsbury, who somehow managed to re-injure himself on a monthly basis. From where we sat, it looked like the Yankees simply told him to get lost, so insurance could cover his salary. That made sense on the books, but not in August, when the team went four weeks with a minor league journeyman in right field. But we saved money, so there's that.

Will 2019 see the same front office frugality and team-wide lack of cohesiveness? If so, find higher ground. People, we are entering the Great Darkness. The worst is yet to come, the army of the dead is at the wall, the Canyon of Heroes is shrouded in shadows, and it is now or never. 

If we mess it up this winter, we may not see a parade again in our lifetimes. 

19 comments:

ranger_lp said...

That's why Bryce Harper will be a Yankee. He'll take the pressure off of Judge and Stanton. I thought Machado also for awhile, but he not running it out would be a PR nightmare in NY.

13bit said...

Bad managing, bad coaching, bad rehab staff, indifferent ownership

KD said...

How do you think that redsock team would perform if we slipped them into pinstrips while still keeping our ownership, management, and coaching? bet they'd start swinging for the fences, striking out, and their running game would cease. in other words, our problems are largely not the fault of the players. the Millennial calling the shots needs new algorithms. Algorithms that demand exciting baseball. you know, Boston algorithms.

what I'm saying is that new players are not the answer.

KD said...

13bit, I posted the above critique before reading your comment. I think we are saying the same thing.

Anonymous said...

LETS TRY TO NAME 5 ACQUISITIONS THAT COULD GET US TO THE NEXT PARADE.

1.) BRYCE HARPER (MUST HAVE A LEFTY HITTER BETWEEN JUDGE AND STANTON).
2.) DANIEL MURPHY (FORGET WAITING FOR BIRD, PUT MURPH AT 1ST- NOW WE MATCH BOSTON'S BATS -HE CAN PLAY 2ND AND 3RD IN A PINCH TOO).
3.) MADISON BUMGARNER (COOP KILLED MOST OF OUR FARM SO LETS COMMIT AND GET HIM).
4.) PATRICK CORBIN (PITCHING MOSTLY TO NL LINEUPS- BUT LETS HOPE FOR THE BEST. I PREFER KEUCHEL- BUT I KNOW CORBIN IS COMING).
5.) JA HAPP (HE WAS SOLID...I BELIEVE HE COULD BE BETTER IN THE PLAYOFFS).

LET GO:
CC
GARDY
LANCE LYNN
A.J. COLE

TRADE CANDIDATES:
SONNY GRAY
GREG BIRD
DELLIN BETANCES
AARON HICKS
GIANCARLO STANTON
CLINT FRAZIER
JUSTUS SHEFFIELD
GARY SANCHEZ (FUCK HIM IF WE CAN GET REALMUTO).
CHAD GREEN

UNDECIDED:
ANDREW MCCUTHEON
ADIENY HECCAVERRIA

KEEP:
LUKE VOIT
DAVID ROBERTSON
ZACH BRITTON
AUSTIN ROMINE

DON'T TOUCH:
MIGUEL ANDUJAR
GLEYBER TORRES
AARON JUDGE
DIDI GREGORIUS

STAY AWAY:
MANNY MACHADO

NOTE:
WITH THE WIDE ARRAY OF TRADE TALENT I POSTED, THERE SHOULD BE MORE THAN ENOUGH TO BRING IN THE BUMGARNER TYPE ACE WE DESPERATELY NEED.

I WOULD LIKE TO SEE EVERYONE ELSE'S "TOP 5".

HoraceClarke66 said...

KD, 13bit, I quite agree.

ALL-CAPS, I'm intrigued by the idea of replacing Walker with a Daniel Murphy, especially if we don't sign Manny.

But after many switches, I've come around to thinking maybe we SHOULD go after Machado after all—as long as we don't trade Andujar. Manny seems, at least, to have a mean streak in him that the Golem Team could use. Any sort of spirit beats no spirit.

Absolutely agree on the Untouchables. I'd say explore trades for Judge, much as I love him...but we all know Coops can't handle that type of assignment.

Trouble is, I don't think we CAN trade Stanton, and I don't know if much of our other trade bait has enough value to get, say, Bumgarner.

For instance, some Yankees commentator was referring to Hicks finally playing "like the star he always seemed he could be" this season. I'm sorry. Hicks is a perfectly serviceable outfielder with a number of skills who we can start if we have to and who would be best as a No. 4 outfielder. But if we know that, don't we think other GMs do?

Realmuto would be terrific. But after Jeter played us on Stanton, I wouldn't count on that, unless his partner is absolutely broke.

My biggest fear: Hal and Coops announcing they will just stay the course, and say this is a young team still developing. They re-sign Neil Walker, get another "power arm" somewhere, and sit tight.

The Gammonites would praise them to the skies. I WOULD have praised them to the skies...if they hadn't already burned down the farm system.

HoraceClarke66 said...

And Duque, you make some great comparisons.

There's also this: our Super Teams in 1998 on forced Boston to get better. Playing in the same division, they HAD to spend money, bring in better front office personnel, rethink their entire game, just to compete.

Now we're in that position. It will be interesting—probably heartbreaking—to see how we respond.

Anonymous said...

Duque,

“The 2018 Yankees played like statues in a museum, oblivious to each other as they padded their stats."

That is extremely well put and is the crux of the biscuit. That’s on the manager and coaches as much as the players but…

KD, 13, and really the rest of us,

Sadly, the coaches, management, and ownership are not going anywhere. So, if we’re going to fix them we have to play the hand that’s dealt.

The First Question: Will adding two players who are extremely talented but have never won and seem to be me firsters put us back on par with Boston? (See Duque quote above)

Pro: They both said they want to be Yankees. (For real.)
Con: They both reside on the asshole portion of the spectrum.
Pro: Assholes with burning desires to win are not the worst thing.
Con: They are still assholes.

And the Second Question: Do we really have a choice? I don’t think we do. I will say this, Machado is playing with passion. He’s a gamer. Did I also mention he comes off as an… yeah I did. I feel like Harper is a gamer too.

Solution:

Life gets better if Harper plays 1st. As you all know I am a BIG advocate of having a real 1st baseman but it seems to me that Harper is tall enough and a good enough athlete to learn the position. It also gives the Yankees a ton of flexibility as he is already a good outfielder.

With Didi gone and possibly gone for good (Getting Tommy John in your walk year opens up the dreaded Eovaldi scenario) Machado is a must. So

1B Harper (Voit – Would trade in a heartbeat. He will never be more valuable)
2B Gleybar - (Utility Guy - Daniel Murphy is interesting but with Machado at SS we won’t need him.)
SS Machado (Gleybar)
3B AnDUjar (Machado)
C Sanchez (Romine)
LF Frazier until he gets hurt, Harper, Stanton,(This is NOT Good)
CF Hicks (No backup also NOT Good)
RF Judge (Stanton, Harper)
DH Stanton, Voit, Everyone really. This is VERY good)

Picture this Batting Order:

Gleybar (R) Power /Avg.
Judge (R) Power / Avg.
Harper (L) (Power)
Machado (R) Power /Avg.
Stanton (R) Power
Hicks (S) Power/ Avg
AnDUjar (R) Power/ Avg.
Sanchez (R) Power
Frazier (R) Power/ Avg?

Actually they need another Lefty but still… I would take this all day.

I’ll do pitching later.

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

Another Plus is that it would be a young team.

Current age:

Sanchez 26
AnDujar 23
Gleybar 22
Judge 26
Stanton 29
Hicks 29
Harper 26
Machado 26
Frazier 24

Doug K. 62

KD said...

That's one hell of a lineup, Doug. Will Hal spend the coin to make it happen? I want to be EVIL again, dammit!!!

Anonymous said...

KD,

You and Me KD. You and me. It's really just adding the two guys. (For 1/2 a billion dollars +)

And that's without spending on pitching yet.

Maybe Hal has some US Savings Bonds in a safe deposit box somewhere.

Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Intriguing, Doug K.!

My only difference on the lineup is that I would put Andujar in the no. 2 hole. Give Judge and the other big boppers somebody to drive in. Also, if the 3-4-5 guys are constantly hitting with guys on base, they can't help but be better.

Alphonso said...

Stanton may be 29, but he plays like 79.

Anonymous said...

THAT IS A SICK LINEUP DOUG K....

BUT.....

ONLY 1 LEFT HANDED HITTER.

NEED MORE BALANCE OR WE WILL KEEP FACING RIGHT HANDERS, AND STRUGGLE WITH THAT DREADED SLIDER.

FIND A PLACE FOR MURPHY.

WE NEED A CLUTCH CONTACT HITTER WHO DOESN'T STRIKE OUT LIKE WE NEED AIR.

Anonymous said...

Hoss,

Sure why not? Truth is with these guys any line up but Stanton/Sanchez batting 1-2 is going to work.

All Caps - I agree we need another lefty. Hicks is a Switch hitter so technically there's 2 but one more would be better. Don't know about Murphy. Mike Axisa had this to say about him over at RAB and I haven't seen enough of him to agree or disagree.

"He can't really play 2B anymore though. He has the range of a potted plant. He also doesn't hit lefties anymore (and never really good). Murphy is pretty close to a platoon 1B/DH right now."

So if he's right, then probably not. But like I said, I don't really know.

Alphonso - Give the guy a break he doesn't play like he's a day over 60.

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

SURE DOUG, I REALIZE WE ARE NOT GETTING MURPHY FOR DEFENSE, THAT'S FOR SURE. HE NEVER WAS GOOD ON "D"....

AS FAR AS I REMEMBER, MURPHY HIT LEFTIES WELL...AND IS CLUTCH... IN 2016 AND 2017 HE RACKED UP SOME BIG NUMBERS WITH WASHINGTON.

HE WAS HURT LAST YEAR, AND TAILED OFF AT THE END, BUT STILL HIT .299 FOR THE SEASON.

UNFORTUNATELY, HE IS NOT THE TYPE OF PLAYER COOP LIKES, SO I REALIZE IT'S REMOTE THAT WE GET HIM.

GOTTA HIT IN THE LOW .200'S, STRIKEOUT LIKE CRAZY, AND BE UNABLE TO HIT IN THE CLUTCH TO MEET THE COOP CRITERIA.

Anonymous said...

LOL

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

The lack of energy or urgency on this team is a marked contrast to the Girardi or Torre eras. So are the lack of fundamentals, the inability to execute small ball and the generally lackadaisical performances. Not only did Sanchez regress, the team regressed as a whole into a one-dimensional offensive force, backed up by dubious pitcher management and sloppy fielding. They played like it was spring training in May and like it was May in September.

This is why the loss of Girardi was so devastating.......

Boone was the biggest mistake of last off-season. In a world full of well-trained, hard working, fundamentally-sound, strategically excellent professional baseball managers. the Yankees picked the only one with zero experience or training.

What did Boone have that nobody else did? He grew up in the same rich, white, gated communities as the Yankee leadership.

So the #1 problem remains: The Yankees need a championship-class manager and they don't have one.

Mediasavvy said...

Doug K - your lineup has 5 outfielders. Where are you going to put everyone?

While as a fantasy lineup it looks great, people still have to play their positions. Machado was as bad at SS as Andujar was at 3rd. So nobody's catching anything from the left side. Harper's has never played an out of an inning at 1st base. Then there's Sanchez... (nuff said).

But with a team like this, you better strike out every opponent with fastballs, because nobody will catch anything in the field, including a breaking ball 3rd strike. I have high hopes that Torres and Andujar will improve, Didi will be back in August and the outfield has solid fielders.

But didn't we discover that all offense/no defense/spotty pitching teams don't make it through the playoffs? I hope the Yankees stay away from no-clutch Harper and 'its all about me' Machado. Yankees need pitching, not more K/W/HR batters. The offense is already too one-dimensional and dependent on home runs.