Saturday, January 12, 2019

No to Manny, yes to luxury taxes; what LeMahieu means to an angry Yankiverse

Actually, Suzyn, you can predict baseball...

You can predict when Aaron Boone will remove his starting pitcher: One batter too late. You can project when Jacoby Ellsbury will return: When something freezes over. What you cannot predict, Suzyn, is Brian Cashman. And yesterday, once again, the Cooperstown-bound, future Hall of Famer defied a tsunami of Gammonitic prognostications and signed... drum roll, please... David John "DJ" LeMahieu, a player most Yankee fans had previously never heard of, much less discussed.

LeMahieu had been making $8.5 million a year in Denver, Colorado, which apparently has a baseball franchise. He'll earn $24 million over the next two in NYC. Fun facts: He has played in two all-star games and, statistically, through age 29, he translates into - gulp - Brian Roberts. He's the former Mr. Oriole, retrofitted into thin air.

Aside from the ice-water jolt of reality - the Yankees will not be signing Manny Machado - the "fully operational Death Star" magnitude of yesterday's move has yet to be understood. And if we consider what cannot be predicted - (hint, see above) - it may be pointless to try. What we do know is this: Cash gonna do what Cash gonna do... and God is a maniac. 

That understood, let's strap ourselves to the waterboard and try to figure this out. After a sleepless night, here are my best observations...

1. Manny won't be a Yankee... this year. Of course, he will someday appear in pinstripes. They all do. It could be six years from now, in the year 2025 - (if man is still alive, if woman can survive) - when he's hitting .220 and playing 1B/DH. By then, he'll be running out grounders, but it won't matter. The White Sox or Philly fans will be booing his name, face and haircut. (By the way, those are two particularly ornery fan bases, if you are old and blamed for sucking the franchise dry, so... good luck with that!) The team will trade him to the Yankees for a Gallegos and a Shreve, and our automated John Sterling - (they're doing wonders with artificial intelligence) - will be as ecstatic as a robot can be. Upon arrival, Manny will go on a nice little tear, lifting his average to .240, and then disappear. I only hope that, by then, they have medications that equal the "Calgon Beauty Bath, Take me away!" experience. I'm going to need it.

2. Something is fishy. I'll never understand the testicular dynamics between GMs and agents, but it seems as though Cashman considers himself one Viagra tablet shy of the Chrysler Building. To me, it's scandalous to think that the Yankees didn't even even make Machado a low-ball offer. You have the premier free agent in baseball, age 26, who wants to play in NYC, and his wife is practically your inside Paul Manafort... yet the Yankees apparently never even exchanged scribbled numbers on a cocktail napkin? WTF? Did they fear Manny would say yes? To me, it looks like ownership collusion, the kind that federal courts once viewed as dirty dealing. Ah, but that was a different court system and a different era. Still, the Yankees have had the chance to sign perhaps the two greatest free agents in history, or at least this decade, and they won't even play their cards. Yeah, something smells. 

3. Bryce is gone. With respect to the Iron Rule of Predictions - (hint, see above) - we should dismiss the fantasy that Cashman is poker posturing, using  Art of the Deal tactics to build his wall wheedle down Bryce Harper's asking price. It's over. He'll sign somewhere else. I personally see Harper as the perfect piece for a 2019 World Championship, but this is not The Voice, and there is no audience participation component. It's depressing: I've spent seven years believing Harper would be a Yankee, and I suspect Harper has done the same. Turns out, to become a Yankee, he will have to be old and dumpy, and platoon with Manny for the DH slot. By then, Miami players might be wearing hip-boots. Let's come to grips with it: The great Bryce Harper fantasy was just killed by someone named DJ LeMahieu.

4. Which brings me to The Hieu. My guess is he's is a fine player, solid handshake, credit to his home town, and the kind of infield utility man we might consider indispensable. Over the last 24 hours, I've read how he will spell Gleyber at second, Tulo at short, and Miggy at third - almost simultaneously - and how great his fielding is. And, yeah, we can use a golden glove. Last year, Gleyber Torres was statistically the worst fielding 2B in baseball, and Miguel Andujar was his counterpart at 3B. Now, we're going to sandwich them around a 34-year-old shortstop? Wow. So... yeah, I can see the need for a defensive specialist. 

But it seems to me, the 2019 Yankees have only one real hope: That Gleyber and Miggy improve defensively, in the way that young players do. If they sharpen their game, they become all stars, maybe destined for Monument Park. If they don't, well, will DJ LeMahieu save the day? I donno.  

5. We're back to spending. Okay, maybe I buried the lede. Yesterday's signing puts the Yankees about $15 million over the salary cap. No longer can they shrink back below it by trading Sonny Gray for a set of Leggos. Once you're over that payroll threshold, you're paying taxes. So, the question is: How far over the line will Food Stamps Hal Steinbrenner go? I have a suspicion. Let's say Hal gives Cooperstown Cashman a target of $239 million - the budget that Boston spent last year. It's chickenfeed compared to total Yankee revenues (which produce the worst ballpark food in baseball.) If we have Boston's 2018 budget, Cash would still have about $20 million to spend this winter. That gets us a starting pitcher, or two bullpen arms, or a big LH bat that is not named Bryce. You can buy a lot with $20 million, if you know what you're doing. Which leads to another question...

6. This could be Twilight of Cashman's Epoch. Listen: The 2019 team will be entirely Cashman's creation, and if it flops, it will be time to face the consequences. No longer will he be able to mollify the Gammonites by blaming the owner's self-inflicted austerity. (Hal's priority last year was not to win the world series, but to get under the tax threshold.) If Hal spends his hard-inherited money, he'll expect results. No more excuses. If the Yanks spend Boston-level money, they better win. 

That said, you can't predict Cashman, Suzyn. Cash gonna do what Cash gonna do. I need some sleep.


Mediasavvy said...

Well, I didn't see LeMahieu coming, especially after the Tulo pickup. I guess that confirms where Wade will be in the depth charts. Seems a bit steep for a utility player. Especially one who's only played 2nd base for the last 4-5 years. Could have used a lefty bat, but okay.........

At least now the Machado rumors can go away along with all his fanboys. Truly, they were an ugly crowd, much like the object of their fandom. Forgive me if you see me laughing at the end of the bar. I'm still a Yankee fan, I just don't like bullies and jerks.

Fatalah said...

This post was fantastically entertaining. This is why I subscribe!

TheWinWarblist said...

I hate them all so very much.

Fantastically entertaining. But so much hatred.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

We are totally missing the messages the Yankees are sending. Clear, simple responds to our national predicaments.

1. Don't eat so much, at the ballpark or elsewhere. The surest way to give people a start on a diet is to serve awful sludge-infused food at the Stadium.

2. Stay within your budget. The whole damn country (governments, people, etc.) spends way too much. We've had 2 financial/economic "reckonings" in the past 20 years, and some of us think #3 is (a) on its way, and (b) is going to be a doozy. So the Yankee ownership's leadership on this issue is admirable.

3. Don't trust anyone under 30. That encompasses Miggy and GTorres. And the trade-off of Toe.

4. Give jobs to old guys. They need work. It's possible no one else would have paid many millions (each) to Gardy and CCS. This employment + enrichment of the elderly is exemplary!!! I say that even tho I am an old geezer myself.

5. Much of the country (our people) need some kind of relief. To show the way on this issue, the Yankees are beefing up the bullpen. Brilliant!!!

6. As Kevin Costner's character mouthed in Bull Durham, Strikeouts Are Fascist. There's been a lot of movement in the U.S. in that general direction (fascism), unfortunately. The Yankees had no choice but to endorse it in 2018 -- by adding GStanton to AJudge. This had the added Green advantage of allowing them to turn off the fans in the press box.

7. Employ people who can't find jobs. Give 'em a chance, or even a second chance. This principle explains the retaining of Sonny and the re-elevation of Bird.

Local Bargain Jerk said... Viagra tablet shy of the Chrysler Building...

This is why I show up to read this blog, day after day after day.

Yes, I'll be casually dropping that nugget into casual conversation in some business meeting at some point. I'll do this when I determine that, like Brian Cashman, someone's behavior or attitude warrants it. Other people will think I'm clever. I won't tell them where I heard it.

This blog not only entertains, it gives its readers the tools needed to improve their social standing.

Anonymous said...








Alphonso said...

Toe was a victim of Cashman's "shortness" aversion.

He believes that only big, strapping guys make good ball players.

I suspect he picked up this fantasy from a bar in the Castro district of San Francisco.

Anonymous is correct:

Torreyes was all he described. Without the golden glove that this new Neal Walker guy apparently once earned. Gold which, by the way, is buried in the closet now.

I also think Duque is missing a key point; methinks it is all about Manny's agent.

Brian has been undressed by him so many times that he has become limp, so to speak.

And he wants no more of it.

That's why he prefers the guys who are 6'7", even if they mostly strike out.

As does he.

13bit said...

As I sit here, eating my General Tso's Scrotum Fried Rice with Vaseline sauce, pondering Duque's latest masterpiece, one thing strikes me.

We should pray for the JuJu gods to take pity on us and have us finish dead last. Why would I wish this? It's not why other teams try to tank. I'm not interested in prospects, although that's always a nice bonus.

No, the real reason is that THIS IS THE FASTEST WAY - MAYBE - TO GET RID OF COOPERSTOWN CASHMAN, along with his whole cabal of drooling coaches and assistants, in one fell swoop. It's not some tortured, gradual reduction through attrition, but a wholesale armageddon. If they come in last, he goes. if he goes, they all go.

At least, this is my fantasy. And hey, if we pray for that, maybe the Juju gods will try to fuck us over and have us win it all. It's truly a win/win scenario.

Joe F said...

AW LAWD ....2019 IS OVER BEFORE IT BEGINS....WE ALREADY KNOW HOW THIS ENDS!!! Cashman "rinse and repeat" formulas
.. DJ NY after hitting close to.300 last yr...he'll promptly struggle to hit .225 the excuse will be how he's adjusting to the AL and/or leaving Colorado...Aaron Boone will keep inserting his pasty ass into the lineup WELL past his exp date....Yanks are closer to becoming the Royals than than the World series champ team of destiny red Sox ...
And nothin makes me more septic than that

Fuck 2019 and As always BOONE, and our Poverty stricken owner

TheWinWarblist said...

I leave it all out there every night the Yankees play. No holding back; no regrets. Cavorting. Gamboling through the office after hours. Pants on head. So frequently it's becoming very hard to retain custodial staff. (Although my managing partner has gotten very good at ... ah-hem, explaining.) But enough is enough. I am not a chump. I will not be trifled with. I will not JuJu for a franchise that will not spend for me. Oh no. My wrath has been awakened. Something darker awaits this franchise. Something much darker.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Beautiful, Joe FOB! An absolutely insane series of moves this year...

13bit said...

Winnie, please stay in the boat. We need all hands on deck to bail out the bullshit until we turn this thing around.