Thursday, November 1, 2018

Does the signing of Brett Gardner imply that THE TRANSFORMATION of Food Stamps Hal Steinbrenner has begun?

It's hard to process yesterday's redemptive re-signing of Brett Gardner. It didn't surprise anyone. But its impact on 2019, and how Cooperstown Cashman plans to reshuffle the Titanic deck chairs, is hard to gauge. For example...

Was this born of secretive, front office analytics, or is it a personal, self-indulgent call by the Son of George? If it's the latter, it's one of the first in recent years by our own Crown Prince Bone Saw - "Food Stamps Hal" - whose prime directive has been to cut payroll and turn the franchise into a Bitcoin mine. If Hal intervened on Gardy's behalf - like Zeus in an ancient homoerotic Greek play - it could be a sign of... THE TRANSFORMATION. 

This we know: Whatever Hal has been doing - with his goat yoga classes and organic kale diet - it won't last. Eventually, he will become his dad - an impetuous, mouth-farting lump of obesity who devours front offices the way Trump does news cycles. That full moon transformation could be years off, and if we're lucky, we'll all be dead. But it will happen. It always does. The real question is, when Hal finally turns into Old George, will the Yankees still be clinging to their last, tattered championship flag... from 2009?

One outgrowth from being stomped shitless by Boston two weeks ago was the sense across the Yankiverse that it would provoke Hal into a spending tsunami - maybe another free agent threesome, similar to 2009 (Tex, CC, AJ) and 2014 (Ellsbury, Beltran, McCann). In our dreams, we imagined Harper, Machado and Kershaw, which does have a nice cadence, no? But such a move would look better on the back pages than the roster. In fact, it would destroy team balance, forcing a secondary flurry of trades. Do we trust a full Cashman makeover?

So... could Gardy's return imply a more calculated, surgical strategy? Despite his horrible 2018, Gardner does fill a roster need: He bats left, plays CF in a pinch, can steal a base, doesn't swing for the fences every at bat, and he can work a pitch count. If he can rebound next season - .280, 15 HRs, 20 steals - he is exactly what the Yankees need. (Ellsbury, with a bad hip, is less likely to bring anything. They should showcase him in spring training, generate happy talk and hope some team takes a flier.)

Rather than shooting money out of a confetti cannon, are the Yankees adopting a tight strategy for 2019? That could mean:

1) Finding a cheap, stopgap SS or 2B, somebody who fills in until Didi returns. (In simple terms, no Manny.) 

2) Welcoming the next wave of youngsters. Clint Frazier in the outfield. Tyler Wade as utility man. Justus Shefield in the rotation. Another chance for Chance Adams. The best hard-throwers from Team Scranton, the Hellers, Tarpleys and Feyereisens, one of whom might stick. (In simple terms, no Bryce.)

3. Letting Bird and Voit hold first base, at least through spring training.

4) Spend on pitching, pitching, pitching. Corbin from Arizona. Happ from our own backyard. Keuchel from Houston. David Robinson and Zach Britton for the bullpen. Spend bigly on arms, and don't tinker with the offense. (Hell, if the big boys don't hit, we're dead anyway.)

Is that a plan? Dunno. But I do believe this: Everything hinges on the whims of our Crown Prince Bone Saw. Once upon a time, Hal overruled Cashman to sign Rafael Soriano, the closer. He also made the sign-offs on Ellsbury and company - and for letting Yoan Moncada go to Boston (who turned him into Chris Sale.) Did Hal order the signing of Brett Gardner? And if so, has THE TRANSFORMATION begun?

27 comments:

HoraceClarke66 said...

Duque, I wouldn't mind seeing the intriguing makeover you're talking about, going smart instead of big.

But I suspect this is really all about the bucks. Let's remember: Brian Cashman is the man who had Chris Stewart start at catcher for a whole season, and who would actually have made Bubba Crosby our starting centerfielder if the Sox had decided to bring back Johnny Damon.

Gardner, Ellsbury, AND Hicks? This piling up what are really three, No. 4 outfielders and hoping they make a starter between them.

Maybe, with a whole bunch of luck and adept usage. But unless Clint Frazier somehow gets well, this is just a wing and a prayer strategy—meaning no real strategy at all.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Also, we have been told for what, three-four years now, that every stupid economy this team has made is because, wink-wink, nudge-nudge, the 2018-2019 off-season is going to be full of BIG free agents, all of whom are just salivating to sign with the Yankees.

Surprise!

Hope you enjoyed watching all those Stephen Drew/Chase Headley/Neil Walker at-bats, with hopes of real stars dancing in your head!

John M said...

I've thought that Gleyber would fill in at SS for Didi and Wade, Walker, or some defensively oriented vet to be signed would anchor 2B. Is Brian Roberts still available?

Aside from shoring up the pitching, as possible, we could very well do nothing. Nothing at all.

That jingly music you hear is the ice cream truck coming down the pike. Anyone want a shake?

Carl Weitz said...

Signing Gardner to platoon with Frazier isn't a bad idea. I'd still love to see Harper's lefty swing in Yankee Stadium. Whatever the going price is. Trade Hicks for some useful parts. Unless we can con the Dodgers into trading for Stanton. More useful parts.

Sign Daniel Murphy for 2 years and don't look back at Neil Walker. Murphy is a decent second baseman and is a contact, lifetime .300 hitter who also has power. Again, another lefty bat. Move Gleyber to his natural SS position until Didi returns.

I'd stay away from Keuchel because the last year and a half he has regressed. And I don't want Kershaw, either, because his velocity has tumbled the past 2 years, will cost too much and can't seem to win in the post season. But by all means, sign Corbin and Happ. Do NOT re-sign CC. Give Montgomery his slot as a 4 or 5 left-handed starting pitcher.

Sign Brittan and Robertson as well and hope at least one of the AAA guys turns into a good role reliever. Out of several candidates, someone will step up.

Anonymous said...

CARL WEITZ...

YOU ARE MAKING A LOT OF SENSE.

HARPER.

MURPHY. (FOR 1B, 2B, DH, 3B-IN A PINCH).

CORBIN. (SCARED OF HIM AGAINST A.L LINEUPS,THOUGH).

HAPP.

BRITTON.

ROBERTSON.

NO WALKER.

NO CC.

I STILL FEEL WE NEED TO DO A LITTLE MORE THAN THIS THOUGH.

COOP BETTER NOT KID HIMSELF...

BOSTON WON A MILLION GAMES THIS YEAR!

TheWinWarblist said...

Blessed be to Gardy. The Yankees can always release him and eat his salary. He is the de-facto captain and deserves to be a life long Yankee.

JuJu, mutherfuckers.

13bit said...

WE. HAVE. NO. PITCHING.

Alphonso said...

Whatever they do, it won't matter.

You still compete for the home field advantage in the wild card game.

Then, you lose to Boston.

Then, they win the World Series.

Then, we talk about what Hal and Cashman will do to re-build the team.

Then we re-hash the same old crap.

Then we realize we have no pitching, no first baseman, no catcher, no outfield.

But maybe we get Didi back.

And start again.

And fall further out of first.

HoraceClarke66 said...

The bottom line thing to be said for both Harper and Machado is that they are free-agent players who are still only 25.

You almost never get players of this quality, at this age, with so many good years still ahead of them.

But yeah, I think the Gardy signing means they will pass on Harper.

Carl Weitz, I wouldn't mind seeing The Gleyber at short, and Daniel Murphy at second, at least for a year, as Didi recovers and comes back.

But sadly, I don't think we will ever see Red Thunder again—I'm sort of afraid to see him, actually—and we can't know what, if anything, we'll ever get out of Montgomery again.

I also say no to Kershaw. We already have plenty of pitchers who can tank in a big game.

Local Bargain Jerk said...


Gardner, Ellsbury, AND Hicks? This piling up what are really three, No. 4 outfielders and hoping they make a starter between them.

This is also like asking 9 women to have a baby in a month.

I.e., ain't gonna happen.



P.S. Don't forget in all these discussions that we hope to get Jordan Montgomery back. I'm not pinning my hopes on him, but it is something to keep in the backs of our minds.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


After reading the comments above, a light bulb (?!!!!???) went off above my head:

The signing of Gardy means they're gonna trade Aaron Hicks. Maybe for pitching (?).

Hicks, no matter whether you love him or just tolerate him, IS a tradeable piece.

Maybe Didi was looked at as tradeable (sign Manny, ditch Didi) by Cashmoney in August. No more.

Please look at the roster and tell me who else would you trade:

a. While you would like to get rid of GStanton, who the F would take him?

b. Who else (other than Miggy) is a player you would want in a trade?

c. What the heck would you trade to the Yankees in exchange for IC Sandwich?

Can't trade Gleyber. Can't trade Miggy (I hope). Can't trade Judge. Can't trade Romine (if you're gonna keep Sanchez). Much of the bullpen is impossible to trade or already Free Agents (Britton, Robertson). And other than Happ and Severino, which of the starters would anyone else want (note that CC Sabathia, Lynn, and Happ are Free Agents, too).

So: It's possible that I have lurched uncontrollably into the Truth here. Whaddya think?

TheWinWarblist said...

Oh, someone will definitely take Stanton. But who will take him from Ca$hman and give decent value in return?

Anonymous said...


LBJ,

"This is also like asking 9 women to have a baby in a month."

Funny.

Hoss,

Yeah I agree I don't think that Frazier makes it back the way we need him to. I think he was really hurt. Unbelievably sad.

All,

Re: Hicks,

I don't understand our collective attitude towards this guy. (Myself included) His metrics are really good. All I read is that he's one of the top outfielders in the game. He's got a 4.7 WAR and hit 27 HRs. He plays above average defense.

But I've yet to see any of us defend him. Why? I'm not being facetious. It's odd. I am totally ambivalent towards him as well.

So I am actually asking... why aren't we happy with him?

And... who are we supposed to replace him with? Not a 36 year old Gardy who wears down in the 2nd half and whose offensive stats are not anywhere near as good.

So who? And, as a caveat, the person has to be gettable.

Last:

So if we get Machado and two starters (one being Corbin), and shore up the pen are we all good with that? Seems reasonable but I'm suffering a crisis of confidence after convincing my self that Gardy was gone.

Doug K.



HoraceClarke66 said...

Trading Hicks would still leave them dangerously short on outfielders. Gardy couldn't play a full season when he was in his prime; he's going to now?

And while Hicks no doubt looks like a traceable piece to many sportswriters, he is going to be a 29-year-old guy, with a lifetime .236 BA. Would we really get much for him?

ranger_lp said...

And Jacoby Ellsbury still has not resumed baseball activities...

John M said...

We don't need Hicks when we have Shane Robinson.

KD said...

nice one! nobody does sardonic commentary quite like John M.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


I don't put much stock in the "rankings" of various sorts, but I think it's probably BAD NEWS that Baseball America came out with a list of Yankees prospects -- and a 19-year-old catcher (played Single-A in 2018) is ranked.....5th.

If help is coming from the minors, there apparently ain't a lot of it. And/or it's prob. not coming soon.

https://www.sny.tv/yankees/news/justus-sheffield-estevan-florial-highlight-yankees-top-10-prospects/300095446

Anonymous said...

Hey maybe mike at RAB reads us he just put up a whole post on Hicks.

Doug K

Ceeja said...

I love Gardner but am not excited this move. Dont like tying up millions in salary and a roster spot to a 35 year old. This seems to mean the end of Frazier. And, just to be bloodless and putting aside all my Gardy love, Mckutcheon is a better veteran option.

I hate the Steinbrenners. We haven't had a competent owner in 54 years

HoraceClarke66 said...

Right, Joe FOB? This is what I keep raving about

A farm system that was ranked anywhere from 1-3 in MLB—even AFTER Judge, Bird, Severino, and Sanchez had been brought up—is now officially 17th and dropping like a stone.

There's nothing there, beyond maybe Sheffield, Mike King, and a couple relievers. NOTHING.

Even that catcher you're referring to, their no. 1 draft pick, Anthony Seigler, showed nothing. He looked good in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .333 with 1 homer in 12 games, and then was promoted to Pulaski in the Appalachian League. Where he hit .209, with no homers, and 1 double.

In the field, he had 3 errors and 6 passed balls in just 21 games, and caught only 4 of 24 base stealers (17 percent).

When he saw this, Sanchez had another ice cream sandwich. Or three.

Anonymous said...

Gardner's a left-handed batter? So is my twelve-year-old niece, but I wouldnt' give her seven million bucks to play for the Yankees either. Duque--do you EVER bother to check a player's performance before charging into print? Gardner's slash line against RIGHTIES last year was .235/.327/.385. These are great numbers if your goal is to be on the golf course by October 1. And those are slightly better numbers than he posts against left-handed pitching. So what good is a lefty who can't hit a ball coming from EITHER direction?

Cashman is either incorrigibly dumb (if it's his own decision) or weak (if it's Hal's or Randy's). In either case, he has no business working for a major league franchise in any capacity. I wouldn't even trust him to supervise the grounds crew.

Joe F said...

The only news I want to read regarding the 2019 Yankees News Cycle is: "BOONE and LARRY are SHOWN THE DOOR"....until then everything they do is bound to end in mediocrity

Anonymous said...

I think part of the reason for the Yankees precipitous decline in their minor league ranking was the graduation of both Glybar and AnDUjar. Both of whom will finish in the top three for ROY.

That's a big hit. And one I would take all day. As to the what's left? Meh. In the meantime I saw the White Sox got Manny Banuelos from the Dodgers. He's started to figure it out. Might have been nice to get him back.

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

AFTER DISCUSSING THE GARDY SIGNING WITH ANOTHER YANKEE FAN, (WHO HATES THE SIGNING TOO), AND MULLING IT OVER FURTHER, I HAVE WHIPPED MYSELF INTO A NEAR FRENZY.

I ASK AGAIN...

WTF ARE WE THINKING?

WOULD WE RATHER HAVE ANOTHER YEAR OF A STALE 36 YEAR OLD GARDY IN OUR OVERCROWDED OUTFIELD?....OR WOULD WE BE BETTER TO PUT THE $7.5 MILLION INVOLVED IN THIS DEAL, TOWARD EITHER DAVID ROBERTSON, AND OR ZACH BRITTON?

THE ANSWER IS OBVIOUS.

SO NOW WE ARE LEFT WONDERING WHAT OUR FUCKING "GENIUS" GM HAS UP HIS SLEEVE IF ANYTHING?

I CAN'T STAND THE WAY HE OPERATES.

HE SUCKS.

HE FUCKIN' SUCKS.


Alphonso said...

See Above.

None of these wishes, hopes and ideas matter.

The Yankees will be competing for the wild card.

And then losing either there or at the next round.

Blah, blah, blah....all the what-if scenarios simply mean; Dick !

Without top flight pitching, we are no where.

And, we can't get it. And we haven't grown it.

Right Brian?

Anonymous said...

YEAH ALPHONSO, BUT THE KICKER IS CASHMAN WILL THINK THAT THIS PATRICK CORBIN IS GOING TO BE THE SAVIOR....

HE'S NOT.

WE WILL PROBABLY NEED 3 GOOD PITCHERS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. (NOT COUNTING CC, REPEAT, NOT COUNTING CC).

WE WON'T GET 3.

I JUST CAN'T BELIEVE THE BAD START THIS TEAM ALREADY HAS GOTTEN OFF TO ON THE 2019 SEASON.

GARDY?...GARDY???

I LIKE GARDY, BUT IT DEFINITELY WAS TIME TO SAY GOODBYE.

INSTEAD WE SAID HELLO!

THE PRODUCTION IS JUST NOT THERE...

UNBELIEVABLE.