Tuesday, January 29, 2019

WTF? The Yankees are about to balance a $210 million lineup on a guy making the MLB minimum

There are still rumors that the fully functional Deaf Star could magically vault into the Manny Machado collusion matrix, which now has Mr. Hustle facing a lifetime sentence in Chicago, Philadelphia or San Diego. But let's face it: The Yankees probably won't chase Manny, regardless of what he might accept to escape Dannemora. We're counting pennies again. But frankly, our infield sure could use a superstar who can play SS or 3B. 

I mean, if Lou Costello were still alive, he'd be yelling "Who's on first, and second and third?" Because just three weeks from pitchers and catchers, nothing in our infield is defined. 

For now, here is my best summary of an infield with everything - everything - up for grabs, and hinging upon an aging stalwart who hasn't taken a swing in 20 months.

We start at SS, where the Yankees have seemingly committed to Troy Tulowitzki's magical comeback at age 34. Clearly, they think Tulo can somehow give them five solid months, until Didi Gregorius returns. (Another question mark, by the way.) Five years ago, Tulowitzki looked like a future Hall of Famer, piling up huge numbers in the helium atmosphere of Colorado. He was dealt to Toronto - where the air is more like elevator farts - in a failed pennant stretch run. He's never been the same. He missed all of last season and most of 2017. But here's the deal: We're paying him the minimum, based on a two-day tryout last month, and we're hoping he returns to form. After all, he says he feels great. Why would he lie?

And, who knows... maybe it'll work. Maybe Tulo can come back and save the team. Trouble is, this fantasy has been dreamed by the Yankees many times before: Vernon Wells, Alfonso Soriano, Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner, the list goes on. We'll see.

But if Tulo plays poorly or gets hurt, then - well, as far as I can see - everything goes nuts. At that point, here are the options: 

a) Move Gleyber Torres to SS. Trouble is, we still don't really know Gleyber. Is he the all-star 2B who hit .300 in the first half, or the ragged ball-in-the-dirt-chasing strikeout machine, who returned after his injury? Last year, his fielding at 2B was a definite "MEH," and it's worth wondering if he'd be a solid defensive SS. Moreover, if we move him around, could we ruin the guy? Wouldn't it be best to install him at 2B, and let him grow comfortable there?

b) Move DJ LeMahieu to SS. Trouble is, he's a gold glove 2B. He can probably field the SS position, but would he be overtaxed there? And what kind of hitting should we expect? In today's game, 2B is a critical offensive position. Can we afford to install a slappy .260 fielding specialist at such a key slot? Frankly, if Tulo plays well, I don't know what LeMahieu's job will be, other than late-inning replacements. We signed him for $12 million a year. What role do we have him playing?  

c) Play Tyler Wade. Trouble is, he's done nothing in his brief MLB career to inspire hope. One advantage, he bats LH, and there won't be many in the lineup who do. 

d) Look for a scrap heap fielding SS - they're out there - and hold on until Didi returns. Trouble is, rushing Didi might backfire, wrecking his season entirely.

Then there is 3B, where Miguel Andujar's glove must improve, or he'll need to learn the OF. Last fall, his throws to 1B were borderline Knoblauch. If Andujar fails to show progress in spring training, LeMahieu might move to 3B, keeping the infield intact until Tulo pulls up lame.

Finally, there's 1B, where neither Greg Bird or Luke Voit will ever win a gold glove. Bird hasn't shown an ability to hit, and Voit might simply be a once-around-the-league. 

I'm serious. This looks like a fourth-grade art project done with Cray-Z Glue. The Yankees are balancing a $210 million payroll on a 34-year-old china doll who will be earning minimum wage. If it all works, yeah, we could be really good. If one cog breaks, though... uh-oh.

Am I seeing this correctly? Are we really doing this? I keep staring at the painting, but I don't see any flamingos. 

13 comments:

13bit said...

Our stellar pitching staff will save the day, ,along with our smart-hitting lineup.

Our outfield is already being measured for their Hall of Fame onesies and we have a future All-Star behind the plate.

Our coaching staff is second-to-none and our manager is the sharpest knife in the drawer.

I am looking forward to a 110-win season.

Cash, your ticket to Cooperstown has already been punched. I don't know how you managed to keep such a laser focus every day.

oh yeah...fuck you, Brian...

Anonymous said...

DON'T FORGET LYLE OVERBAY.

Harold Steinbrenner, NYY Principal Owner/Managing General Partner/Co-Chairman said...

Never spend a dollar when a dime will do.

Honestly, that's the only real difference between us and you wage slave proles. Money is not spent for players with gaudy numbers and meaningless goals like championships. No. We spend money only to make more money. There is no point to it, otherwise.

Get it?

Alphonso said...

I like the idea of Tyler Wade. We need more strikeouts from the left side.

What is becoming clear is that the Yankee season is already lost.

No point in following.

Anonymous said...

....AND BRIAN ROBERTS!

Anonymous said...

....AND MY PERSONAL FAVORITE.....

BEN FRANCISCO!

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

Carl Weitz said...
Yes Duque, you're viewing the situation correctly. But like the rest of us maybe colored by a bit of PTSD. I don't think the situation is that dire and hopefully spring training will sort out all the infield questions.

Lemahieu will not be a part-time player. He is an excellent defensive 2B and at 12 million will play every day. Put Gleyber at SS after Tulo shows he can only be a bench player. I can see him fitting in well in that role. Gleyber is a natural shortstop but one major scout thinks he fits better at second base. Either way, he is rated as a plus defender and a future multiple all-star. He made some bad fielding plays last year but you have to consider he was a 21-year old learning a new position as well as playing in NY and trying to figure out life.

Andujar, however, was rated as an average defender. Not totally bad and is said to have a superior work ethic. The scout says his real problem is footwork. Either he moves his feet too much or not at all and the in-between screws up his throws to first. With practice he will get better. What I mentioned about Torres being 21 and playing in NY also goes for Andujar a well.

While Bird might never win a gold glove, his fielding at first is more than adequate.Voit, not so much. I still believe a healthy Bird will hit for both average and power. This is his last year to show it.

So all-in-all, I think the Yankees will have a fine infield once they realize Tulo is just a bench/fill in player.

Anonymous said...

CARL HAS A POINT....

ANDUJAR IS NOT AS BAD AS THEY ARE SAYING ON DEFENSE...

IT IS ALL HIS FOOTWORK.

HIS HANDS AND ARM ARE FINE.

REMEMBER, THE BOSOX WON ALL THOSE GAMES, AND THE RING, WITH DEVERS AND NUNEZ PLAYING 3RD ALL YEAR.

Anonymous said...

ALL CAPS,

So you are saying that the Red Sox should sign Machado.😊😥

Doug K.

I'm Bill White said...

Hall of Fame onesie is perfect.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I agree that El Matador is not that bad at third, and I also don't care. I can remember plenty of championship teams with guys at third who stopped balls with their chest but belted 30-40 homers a year.

Don't count on Bird coming back, though, nice as it would be. And when people talk about LeMahieu, I get a queasy feeling of deja vu.

Wasn't this what Brandon Drury was supposed to be last year? Guy who could play second or third well, and hit with pop? Only, you know, for about a tenth of the price.

This is the thing with the Yankees. Every year under Coops feels like Groundhog Day.

'Oh, look, here's this great new power pitcher! Here's our great new, sulky catcher (just give him a little time)! Here's our fantastic new utility player, Neil Walker!'

At this point Coops just seems to e like a kindergartner, throwing his Play-Doh af the wall and seeing what sticks.

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