Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Are the Yankees facing another SNAFU year at first base?

Last year, I was astounded to finally learn the origin of "snafu," a word I've used all my life to explain how I ended up living in a city that gets 120 inches of snow each winter. "SNAFU" is a military acronym for "Situation Normal - All Fucked Up." (By the way, its sister is "FUBAR" - "Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.") The word testifies to the hidden genius of a soldier's soul, slogging through the insanity of war.

It also describes the Yankees' situation at first base. 

This blog has devoted entire Adirondack Mountains full of bile-infused copy to the Yankees' ongoing first base dilemma. Today, I can report that once again, here in 2019, our situation looks normal - all fucked up! 



Last night, our woes turned out in full regalia. Batting third, Voit struck out twice, and hitting 7th, Bird donned a golden sombrero, fanning four times on a mere 15 pitches. (Thrice, he went down without the pitcher throwing a ball.) Voit is starting to look like the career minor leaguer that St. Louis saw him as last year, and Bird? - well - he might just be a headcase. 

Last year, as our statistically regular first baseman, Bird hit .199 with 11 HRs. (Voit replaced him in September.)

In 2017, the 1B generating the most at bats was Chris Carter (.201, 8 HRs.) He replaced Mark Teixeira in 2016 (.204), who'd deteriorated from 2015 (.255) and 2014 (.216), after being injury-replaced by Lyle Overbay in 2013 (.240.) The Yankees haven't had an all-star 1B since Tex arrived in 2009. And right now, the situation looks quite normal.

The original Yankee plan this spring was to keep one 1B (Voit was front-runner) and exile the other to Scranton. That notion ended with Aaron Hicks' bad back and Bird's astounding spring training; he hit .333. The Yankees have used one at 1B, the other as DH. It hasn't worked, but the alternatives are Mike Tauchman and Austin Romine, so... whattaya gonna do?  

If there is a historical commonality about great Yankee teams, it would be the presence of great first basemen. From Moose Skowron and Chris Chamblis to Tino Martinez and Tex, the Yankees always had a good glove/good bat to anchor the infield. The crapola teams offered us Andy Philips and Doug Mientkiewicz. And that's why we can start worrying. 

Okay, I know what you're thinking: It's way too early to give up on Voit or Bird. Both will get at least the month of April, and one surely will stick through May. After that, though, it's a dark and murky night on the moors. The Yanks have no budding 1B on the farm. At Wilkes Barre, Princeton's Mike Ford (who has 4 HRs!) will turn 27 in July. Last night, he was DH, while Ryan McBroom, the sweeper sleeper, is hitting .167. From there, it's Cooperstown Cashman trading prospects for another stopgap Overbay - another year watching the future go down the drain. Situation Normal, All Fucked-Up.

16 comments:

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


Move Miggy to first base, where he (usually) won't have to throw. Schedule his surgery for the day after the World Series.

Please.

TheWinWarblist said...

Who needs to draft and develop first basemen? Anyone can play the position, right?

Carl J. Weitz said...

I volunteer to play 1B. If they can tolerate an .035 hitter who can legally use a glove as big as Coney Island and who, at this point in life, is slower than Sanchez and can't run from first to third on a triple. Hell, I'll even waive the minimum MLB salary and take 1/2.
The image of Ray Milland runs through my brain.

JM said...

I kinda like that idea, Joe. And U-Boat seems to be doing pretty well at third, let's keep him there and see what develops.

As for Bird and Voit, if neither one is working out by the end of the month, our bullpen could really use some help. Surely one of them can master the Folly Floater. Who knows? Bird might have a great knuckler we haven't seen yet.

Regardless, they can give up runs at least as well as the "lights out" guys we keep trotting to the mound in the late innings.

On another note, did you notice Sanchez last night? And the last AB the game before, when he hit three HRs. He's swinging for the fence every single time he's swinging now. That is not how you hit HRs, but it is how you bat .160.

P.S. Maybe Voit is in the wrong sport. From Wikipedia:

"Voit scuba gear had been featured in the movies Underwater!(1955); the TV series Sea Hunt(1958-61);and movie and TV series versions of Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea (1961; and 1964-68 respectively)where it was included in the series' closing credits; and both got a tie-in in the James Bond movie Thunderball (film)."

JM said...

Actually, I like Carl's idea, too.

Anonymous said...

IT FINALLY LOOKS LIKE THE END OF GREG BIRD IS NEARING.

WHAT A SHAME.

HOME GROWN WITH EXPLOSIVE POWER AND LIFE IN HIS BAT IN 2015.

LOOKS LIKE HE WAS TOTALLY DONE IN BY THE BLACK SWAN.

SHOULDER, ANKLE, FOOT, AND WHATEVER OTHER INJURIES HE HAD, HAS FINISHED HIM.

HIS BAT IS SLOW.

THE MASTER WAS SAYING HOW VERLANDER WAS "PITCHING BACKWARDS" TO EVERYBODY YESTERDAY, AS IN THROWING JUNK FIRST TO OUR HITTERS, THEN OCCASIONALLY SPOTTING THE FASTBALL.

NOT WITH BIRD.

THE MASTER POINTED OUT VERLANDER WAS ONLY THROWING 94-95 MPH FASTBALLS TO BIRD, PITCH AFTER PITCH, (NOTHING ELSE).

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT.

WE SAW THE MAKINGS OF IT LAST SEASON WITH THE INCREDIBLE STATISTIC OF HIS FUTILITY AGAINST FASTBALLS.

IT IS STILL GOING ON.

A MAJOR LEAGUE HITTER CAN NOT BE UNABLE TO HIT A FASTBALL (ESPECIALLY IN TODAY'S GAME).

THE DREAM OF THE LEFTY SWINGING BIRD FITTING IN BETWEEN JUDGE AND STANTON WAS JUST THAT.

A DREAM.

THE DREAM IS FINALLY OVER.

SEND HIM DOWN.

FOR GOOD.

AT LEAST VOIT HAS BEEN PRODUCTIVE AT TIMES (9 RBI), WITH LOTS OF WALKS.

....BUT LUKE REALLY ISN'T A CLEANUP HITTER.

Anonymous said...

Giancarlo Stanton for 1B

13bit said...

FULLY OPERATIONAL DEATH STAR IN ACTION, FOLKS! I AM MIGHTY CASHOLA, HEAR ME ROAR!

YEAH! HEP HEP HEP!!!

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


I can vote for Stanton at first, if the Miggy idea isn't accepted (by the Powers-That-Are).

Yeah, I know -- it does take a bit of sophistication to play first base. Footwork. Covering the base when the pitcher throws over. Fielding bunts. Etc.

But this team needs a place to hide Stanton and, if it is to have Miggy hit in 2019, a place (other than DH?) where he can play and not ruin his arm forever.

Putting Miggy at DH and Stanton at 1B, or having them alternate in those slots, beat all Feck out of Voit/Bird. Don't it?

13bit said...

Life is too short to waste on asshole owners, moron GMs and bad coaches. Trust me, I lost 45 years of my life to the New York Jets. I'm just going to watch this season from a distance and take care of business. Baseball should be a pleasant escape, not a torture chamber.

Anonymous said...

BRIAN CASHMAN HAS SINGLE HANDILY BROUGHT IN 2 OF THE WORST VALUES IN BASEBALL HISTORY.

JACOBY ELLSBURY

AND...

GIANCARLO STANTON

CASE CLOSED.

.....(AND THIS DOESN'T EVEN MENTION HIS HORRENDOUS PITCHING RECORD OVER THE YEARS).

HoraceClarke66 said...

I hear you, 13bit. My resolve is just not to take this season—or any subsequent season—too seriously, as long as our ownership refuses to.

What's the point? If they're not going all out, I can't get too excited. Instead, I just watch to see how my favorite players do, and enjoy the game.

That is, until Boone or Sanchez or someone else gets me into a towering rage...

HoraceClarke66 said...

I like all these ideas, by the by.

Why NOT try Ford and McBroom? Just how many years DO they have to put in down in Dunder Mifflin land before they get a shot?

It would be difficult for them to do worse than striking out every other at-bat, as Bird is doing now.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I mourn with over The Bird, ALL-CAPS. You first thought he was going to be the key, and you were right.

Judge-Bird-Sanchez. Righty-left-righty.

Have, say, the fleet Dustin Fowler or Estevan Florial leading off, Torres in the 2-spot. Maybe Andujar in the six-hole, followed by Clint Frazier, you could bat the DH 8th and Didi 9th.

Didi batting 9th!

There was the dynasty, right there. Augmented with a couple smart pick-ups, a J.D. Martinez, a Harper and/or Machado, depending on the need, and grab up every veteran pitcher you could.

Nope.

Even when you put the gold goose right on Brian Cashman's lap, he manages to drop it in a woodchipper.

But in any case, Bird was no one's fault—except maybe his own. All the excuses about how he just had to get his leg strength back and he could catch up to a fastball again...And why WAS it he could hit in spring training, but not the moment the games counted for real?

I agree, he probably is a head case. What a pity.

HoraceClarke66 said...

And yes, Giancarlo on first would be a great idea. But I suspect no one is even allowed to broach the question with the great man.

HoraceClarke66 said...

By the by, we didn't ALWAYS have outstanding first basemen on our championship teams.

But usually, yeah:

1923: Wally Pipp

1927-28, 1932, 1936-38: Lou Gehrig

1939: Babe Dahlgren

1941: Johnny Sturm

1943: Nick Etten

1947: George McQuinn

1949: Tommy Henrich

1950: Henrich/Johnny Mize/Joe Collins

1951-1953: Mize/Collins

1956, 1958, 1961-1962: Bill Skowron

1977-1978: Chris Chambliss

19996, 1998-2000: Tino Martinez

2009: Mark Teixeira