Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The juju gods have sent the Yankees a rain of doorknobs, and soon we shall have a measure of this team

A week ago, Tyler Wade and Clint Frazier packed their duffel bags, kissed their loved ones goodbye, and deployed to the gun-nut hills of Northern Pennsylvania, likely to never be seen again. Wade's nostrils were shooting smoke colons: In spring training, he'd hit .308 with a homer and four SBs, one below the team lead (by Estevan Florial, currently injured.) The normally precocious Frazier held his tongue; in Tampa, he went 7 for 49. Out of respect, I won't print the average; let's just say, were it a stream, it'd be droplets.

As every Yankee fan knows, one week in New York is a lifetime in Moosic. So today, the murky fate of the 2019 Yankees seemingly hinges on whether Wade and/or Frazier - poster boys of the farm for three years - can deliver in the majors, at least until the cavalry returns. We need a month, maybe three. There is no more "seasoning." The cards have been called. 

Of course, everything depends on whether this rain of Yankee injuries is done. Last night, Aaron Judge heroically snared a sinking liner that had "fractured wrist" written all over it. Let's hope he doesn't show up tonight in a wheelchair. But the great Yankee teams had to face down gonad-tweaking epidemics, and one good thing about these bad things: They came early rather than late, when nothing can be done beyond trading for Lance Lynn.

Rather than condemn the juju gods as an attempted deep state coup, financed by George Soros and big-spending Boston, let's analyze the situation in our usual, insightful, empirical, purely scientific (and yet artistic) manner: 

The worst-case scenario.

Giancarlo Stanton (strained bicep): They say he'll miss 10 days. But nobody believes them. On injuries, the Yankees' truth-telling record falls a notch below Alex Jones, and Stanton's demons in Miami were too many visits to the DL. Of course, the real concern is that he returns too soon. This spring's happy YES narrative had Stanton - the renowned student of the game - poised for a huge year, now that he'd seen AL pitching. It stood to reason that, at 29, he has at least one monster season left, and that it will come soon. A nagging injury threatens his 2019. Let's figure he's out three weeks, until it's warm at night in NYC.

Aaron Hicks (bad back): He was supposed to miss a weekend. He's now had more epidurals than my wife did over three childbirths, and - unlike her - he hasn't yet resumed "baseball activities." Again, we're talking about a guy who has yet to see a year without DL time. Worst case scenario: We have no CF until mid-May or June, and even then, his batting average drops 20 points (which would put him at .228.) This is scary. Get used to Mike Tauchman. And it's nice how YES flashes his average last year at Triple A (.323), and not at Colorado (.094).

Miguel Andujar (torn labium): Dear Juju Gods, what did we do to piss you off? This is a soul-crusher. The team will wait on surgery because - hey, why not? Once he goes under the knife, he's working on spring training 2020. Cashman will look for a scrapheap 3B, and wherever he is, Chase Headley is running wind sprints around his swimming pool. If Miggy is gone for the year, Plan B is LeMahieu or Torres at 3B, with Tulo more critical than ever as a stopgap until Didi returns. Wow. One week into the season, and we're betting on a 35-year-old SS coming off two heel surgeries - until June, maybe July. Bright side? We no longer have to worry about Andujar's footwork.

But there is this: We'll soon have a bead on this team. The 1961 Yankees needed Hector Lopez, Johnny Blanchard and a kid named Tresh. The 1998 Yankees relied on Tim Raines, Luis Sojo and a guy named Girardi. If this team is destined for anything more than the AL East bronze medal, we will need bodies off the bench. Wade and Frazier have been saved from the haunted mines of Tunkhannock and Luzerne. It's up to them now. We need three months.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The rational part of my brain thinks we're completely fucked and the season is done.

The hopeful part of my brain thinks, thank GOD for some adversity hitting this team early, because maybe it will breathe some life into what otherwise would have been a boring season of playing the averages, losing to bad teams, leaving runners on base, looking low-energy every day, and disappointingly making the wildcard. Basically 2018 on repeat.

But now? Damn. If we can actually survive this, it will be way more fun to watch, because it will require amazing storylines to happen like:

- Red Thunder and Wade showing they've got what it takes to be big leaguers
- Gary returning to form
- Bird and Voit sustaining their spring success and both carving out long-term roster spots for themselves and therefore BOTH winning the competition
- Domingo German developing into a legit big leaguer
- Torres building on last year's success
- A Gardy resurgance--how dare we call him old?
- Triumphant, heroic returns of our big boppers throughout the season, putting us a full strength for the playoffs

I realize the odds of a great record are lower with this group than with Cashman's carefully curated home-run-record chasing machine. But damn if I'm not in some ways more excited to root for this ragtag band of misfits than I was for the full squad. Mark my words: If we can hold the line against the JuJu gods, this is gonna be one of the most fun seasons to watch in a while.

Or... we'll be miserable trotting out Mike Tauchman and Tyler Wade as every day position players in a 70-win season, in which case, please delete this comment from the record books.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


My first thought on hearing about Miggy's injury was: Can we PLEASE trade 5 of our best minor league pitchers, in a package, to get Torreyes back....?

The Twins have him in the minors. Maybe we'd only need to give up 4 of our best pitchers...

Anonymous said...

FUCKING MADDER THAN HELL (PART II)....PART I WAS ON THE "OH NOOOO" ANDUJAR INJURY POST.

HERE IS WHAT ELSE I'M ENRAGED ABOUT.

THE METS GOT THIS GUY PETER ALONSO AT FIRST BASE. (A ROOKIE)

I KNOW IT'S EARLY, BUT HE IS LOOKING PRETTY FUCKING GOOD.

HE ALREADY HAS A NICK NAME THAT IS MAKING ME NUTS, (POLAR BEAR, POLAR BEAR), THAT'S ALL I KEEP HEARING.- HE DOES LOOK LIKE A POLAR BEAR TOO.

WHAT IS ENRAGING ME IS, OUR FUCKING FIRST BASEMAN HAS US SITTING HERE LIKE DOUCHEBAG'S YEAR AFTER YEAR (4 FUCKING YEARS NOW), WAITING FOR HIM TO SHOW THAT HE IS EVEN GOOD ENOUGH TO BE ON THE TEAM!

I HAVE HAD IT WITH BIRD!

THIS ALONSO IS MAKING SOME THINGS HAPPEN, AND WITH BIRD, ALL WE GET IS SHIT.

NOTHING.

COW DUNG.

4 FUCKING YEARS.

IF HE DOESN'T START PRODUCING RIGHT NOW, SEND HIM DOWN, TRADE HIM, ANYTHING! GET HIM THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!

I AM SICK OF HIS SPRING TRAINING TEASES, THEN SEEMINGLY HARMLESS INJURIES THAT TURN INTO REASONS WHY ANOTHER YEAR IS WASTED.

LETS ALL REMEMBER, COOP CASHMAN PROCLAIMED BIRD AS "THE BEST HITTER IN THE ORGANIZATION" JUST A FEW SHORT YEARS AGO.

REALLY?

DID COOP REALIZE HITTING THE BALL TO THE OPPOSITE FIELD REALLY ISN'T BIRD'S THING?

MADDER THAN HELL.

JM said...

Anon...Bird shit?

I hate to lose Miggy, but Stanton's Ks will not be missed. Maybe somebody joins the lineup who makes contact, hits above .250, knocks a dinger once in a while.

We're looking at YOU, Red.

And Tyler, if you're to escape the fate of every other Tyler that brushed against the Yankees' roster, you better prove you're a major leaguer. Like, now.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Good piece, Duque, but a slight correction: Tresh only played 9 games with 8 at-bats for the 1961 Yankees, before becoming Rookie of the Year in 1962, when Kubek went into the army.

A wonderfully talented player—good shortstop, power hitter, Gold Glove outfielder—before a back injury cut short his career very prematurely.

HoraceClarke66 said...

JM, I agree. I never like to see a player injured. But Stanton's biceps strain accounts for his complete lack of judgement on pitches how, exactly?

This guy will not be missed. The problem will be how to get rid of him.

Anonymous said...

BINGO HOSS.

DODGERS TAKE HIM?

WE'RE GIVING "NOTHING DOWN" DEALS!

Anonymous said...

YES JM...

IT HAS BEEN "BIRD SHIT".

Anonymous said...

I think that the Yankees should have given Wade a shot from the beginning instead of acquiring the unathletic, punchless, slow LeMahieu, a guy who for the past two years has posted a .750-ish OPS, a thirty-year-old whose best years appear to be behind him--another of those puzzling Cashman crushes on a guy who was on the All-Star team two years ago. But now that Wade is here he needs REPS to show what the can do. Eight games scattered over a month will not tell the tale.

Anonymous said...

Lol who seriously thinks losing Stanton, he of 38 HR, 100 RBI and a 260-something batting average, is a good thing? I know he strikes out a lot, but we knew that about him. We can't have a roster of ALL Stantons, but replacing Stanton with Mike freakin' Tauchman is NOT a net positive people.

Anonymous said...

Yes--all the denigration of Stanton is absurd--just the fogie-reflex of people who think that a guy who can bunt is ALWAYS better than a guy who strikes out a lot, even if that whiffer has an OPS of 1.000.

And just curious--what was the rationale of having the nonentity Tauchman on the team to begin with rather than Frazier or Wade?

HoraceClarke66 said...

I really supported getting Stanton. And sure, I want him over Tauchman, or anything Wildling has done so far.

But I've been increasingly alarmed at his seeming inability to make any adjustments at the plate. He seems thoroughly spooked, the way A-Rod did in his worst moments of panic. He can't lay off a lot of bad pitches and he can't hit them, and now his longtime injury blight has come back to, well, blight him.

I will make these predictions now:

—Stanton will not complete his contract with the Yankees.

—Stanton will not spend more than three years as a full-time player in New York.

—There is a strong possibility Stanton will do an Ellsbury.