Saturday, April 13, 2019

The current Yankees are a tomato can

Last night, in a confluence of crapola and karma, Brian "Cooperstown" Cashman happened to be talking to the media as the game was called - his fully-operational Death Star losing yet another. The Yankee brain trust chalked up the latest monstrosity to bad "mojo," too cowardly to utter the real word, "juju." 

Cashman tossed the following word salad: 

“We have people who are capable, it is just a combination of, yes, are we hurt? We are are hurt, but we are still capable. But we have a lot of poor play going on simultaneously on the current active roster.”

Translation: Hummina-hummina-hummina.

What Cashman overlooked was the Yankees' winter strategy of pursuing cheap knock-offs to expensive merchandise. While the 36-year-old J.A. Happ was being pummeled by the lowly Chisox, Patrick Corbin was pitching for the Washington Nats. Corbin held the Pirates to one run in seven innings, lowering his spring ERA to 2.84. Corbin, a native of North Syracuse, wanted to be a Yankee. All winter, that was the word around Central New York: the Yankees merely had to make him a decent offer, and he would sign. And the franchise could draw upon a virtually limitless mountain of private and public cash, finagled by corrupt politicos and the simple magnitude of billionaire wealth. It would simply be a few more gold coins on a bubbling volcano of money so vast it can only be seen with a telescope on Mars. But the Yankees went cheap. They went cheap because they wanted to be cheap. And last night, cheap is what we saw. 

Hey, it's almost Easter: Cheap, cheap, cheap...

Of course, it's still early. That's what they say. It's only April. A 20-game winning streak will change everything. And yes, this team has faced a Biblical rain of locusts, snakes and tweaked gonadal sacs. So horrifying are the injury reports that, any day now, I expect to hear that Aaron Judge stepped on a crack, broke his mother's back, and will miss a month. But last night's loss wasn't just a case of poor play. What we saw was a flat-out lousy team. Aside from Judge, here is what we sent out:

A career minor leaguer at 3B, an unknown commodity at DH, a career-back up at C, a slap-hitting 2B, a 2B playing SS, a LF playing CF, a disappointment at 1B, a mystery in LF, an aging starter in his career twilight, a bullpen in distress and a manager known for his easy-going style.

Boston is creeping up on us. At this rate, they'll overtake us next week, in our own stadium - just like last year. 

Listen: Cashman is right; it's a long season. But April might not be a mere bump in the road. We're seeing what we designed, with a little bad juju. We may be facing a meltdown season. Hummina-hummina-hummina.


Ken of Brooklyn said...

When I was much MUCH younger, I bought a knock off 'Rolex' watch on Canal Street for 20 bucks. It ran poorly for two days then stopped working completely. I learned my lesson then, you might not get what you pay for, but you certainly won't get what you DON'T pay for,,,,

Anonymous said...

For those who argue that sabermetrics work, but we are not implementing them correctly, I say "meh."

It's the same as claiming that tax cuts and trickle-down economics work, but we're just not doing it right. or that Marxism-Leninism is a great system, but they also have never been done right.

it doesn't stand up to the record. it's too convenient an excuse. here's one data point for you: Billy Beane. how come he has never won anything? how come we have been consistently mediocre for the past 10 years?

there is obviously a place for metrics. they are like any other tool, but when you try to rigidly follow them as a complete blueprint, ignoring hallowed baseball tenets such as common sense, gut feelings that contradict common sense, and THE FUCKING FUNDAMENTALS, you're copping out.

such is nature of fear-driven individuals to try to quantify everything. it's reassuring to think that everything can be measure and worked out via numbers. unfortunately, that's not how life works. that's not how baseball works. there are too many other variables, and they must all be accounted for.

JM said...

I put this up on Alphonso's post from yesterday, but realized nobody would read it there since it's today. So, I repeat:

As is often the case, our problem is not the position players, but the pitchers.

They stink.

If we had just a good to very good bullpen, we could be 8-5 or even 9-4.

The statmen say our starters have amassed an incredible 3 quality starts.

And now, CC returns, as likely to give us 5 innings and give up 5 runs than not.


JM said...

By the way, Anonymous, the numbers thing was used by client marketing people to help kill advertising since the 70s. Testing and other tommyrot was and is the way they cover their asses and make up for their complete inability to judge concepts.

And since ad agencies played to their number bias when the internet came along, we have the fraud of online advertising numbers from the major purveyors, which "prove" how cost-effective online ads are.

This is not something I thought I'd ever see in baseball, but here it is. Numbers can be interesting and give you some insights, but relying on them to determine your strategy and execution and management is disastrous. That's where digits become deadly.

HoraceClarke66 said...

As a friend of mine's mother used to say, Ken: "Buy cheap, always expensive. But expensive, always cheap."

Mr. Golden Spoon never had reason to learn that.

Carl J. Weitz said...

Look, metrics are a valuable tool when you have limited resources. An example: The US spends what seems to be an unlimited amount of money on weaponry systems, More than 10 times the next largest country budget. So when we build jets that are either outdated by the time they are finished or just complete failures that cost hundreds of billions per jet (not including cost overruns)it doesn't matter. We just build 6 jet fighters and hope one works. When you have unlimited funds you don't need to undertake sound planning and due diligence.

Think of the Yankees of the recent past as the Pentagon. Except don't think tanks, planes or missiles....think free agents. They could buy many and hope a few work out. Now think of the Oakland A's as Luxembourg. When you have limited resources you have to inject competent planning and that involves math and science, or metrics. You can't afford complete failures.

Some may not believe in baseball metrics or at least how the metrics should be used. Or that they are meaningful enough to be applied. I don't believe that to be true. Metrics aren't the bottom line but if integrated in tandem with common sense and good coaching they work. And while the A's might have not won a championship in quite a while they have thrived even with their low payroll. They most always play winning baseball and that is what counts. When you do that a championship is always a real possibility.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Except, Carl Weitz, it isn't. The last A's championship was 1989, and that was a fraud, propelled by the first wave of roids. Before that you have to go back to 1974.

I know, I know. He makes them contenders when they shouldn't be. But still...

Also, the Yankees' main problem has not been signing free agents, although that certainly has been a mixed bag for them. The Yanks keep failing to develop an effective farm system for any extended period.