Saturday, April 6, 2019

You can always tell when Cashman is worried, because he hits the flea market

Thursday in Bird Town, as the natives were lustily booing poor Chris Davis, our most earnest Yankee OF lug nut - Brett Gardner - notched two singles and a walk, igniting a feel-good Yankee blow-out. With Gardy gets on base, our lineup chugs into second-gear, and solo HRs turn into game-changing shots.

Unfortunately, on the season, Gardy is hitting .200 (5-for-25) with an anemic .286 on-base percentage. And that, dear amigos, is the 2019 Yankees' in a nutshell: A team with trouble enough driving in runners suddenly finds none to move. Without men on base, our majestic homers look better on video than in the line score. 

There will be no move to replace Gardy soon. (Frankly, nor should there be; it's too early.) The man who was supposed to bat lead-off - Aaron Hicks - is now midway into his second month of back-pain, and no truckload of Doan's Pills will change it. We haven't even heard of a rehab assignment. If Hicks showed up tomorrow with the Charleston Riverdogs, he'd be lucky to reach Trenton by May Day. Even then, he'll face the rust of having missed spring training. He might not click at full power until June, and that's assuming no setbacks.

How, you ask, can I adopt such a pessimistic tone about the great and powerful New York Yankees? Hey, it's what I do! Besides, Bronx history tells us all that fiery red flags should fly whenever Cooperstown Cashman abruptly dips into the minor league wading pool for retreaded tires. Before opening day, he traded for 28-year-old, minor league OF Mike Tauchman, who was about to face his third straight year at Triple A. To get him, we gave up Philip Diehl - a 24-year-old, Triple A bullpen arm. Diehl didn't top any prospect lists, but lefties are rare commodities. (The Yankees' staff in Scranton lists four: Rex Brothers, 31; Danny Coulomb, 28, Nestor Cortez, 24 and Gio Gonzalez, 33.) Simply stated, we didn't get Tauchman for nuthin.' 

Yesterday, Cashman made another move, the kind normally destined for sports page agate. He signed infielder Cliff Pennington, who hit .211 last year in Triple A. On June 15, Pennington will turn 35. He reached peak foliage in 2009, when he hit .279. for Oakland. He played last night for Scranton. I could very easily look up what he did. I mean, it would require two clicks. But I won't. I simply don't care, and neither should you.

The signing is what matters. To me, it is the clearest signal yet that the Yankees do not expect Miguel Andujar to return this year. Lately, Miggy has been telling writers his shoulder feels fine, and he thinks he can hit with a slightly torn labium. As Jake told Lady Brett Ashley in the cab: Isn't it pretty to think so?

Listen: I wish no ill toward Cliff Pennington. (Sometimes, it sounds like I blame the player for the problem.) He deserves nothing but our support. And at times, these guys come out of nowhere to make a play we shall never forget. I still remember Slade Heathcott's three-run homer to topple mighty Toronto, or Greg Golson's magnificent throw to third, nailing Carl Crawford. (Which, upon reflection, needs an encore. Enjoy this...)

Ah, wasn't that adorable? Trouble is, it happened in 2012, when the Yankees fell apart. 

So let's not kid ourselves. When things look bad, the Yankees don't change their facial expression. They never admit to a problem. All that happens is that Cashman goes shopping in the bargain bin. And that's where we are today.  


Publius said...

Slade H's big HR was against Tampa, if memory serves. But the principle holds.

JM said...

Miracles do happen. But not for an entire season. It's a good thing we didn't go after those big free agents and...oh, what's the use.

This will be 10 years. 2020 will be 11. My mom is 95 and watches every wretched game in the hope that this is the year. Thanks for her disappointment, Hal and Brian.

el duque said...

Yeah, I stand corrected. It was Tampa. The memory of it happening in a dome messed me up.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Yeah, it's the difference between "Tight" and "Not Tight."

When the Yanks are seriously building, everybody on the roster has a planned purpose. They may not work out as planned, but there's a reason.

When guys like Tachman or Pennington are signed, it's just wishin' and hopin' and dreamin'.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Bittersweet watching Heathcott, too.

Guys like that, just the name alone makes you think he's bound for stardom. "Slade Heathcott," like "John-Ford Griffin," or maybe "Ken Clay" or "Ruben Rivera." You can just see those guys taking off.

But they don't. They've done incredibly well just to make it to the show, but that's it. It is a cruel game.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

Remember, somewhere, the Sun is shining. Here are bullets on the Sox so far:

They've lost seven times in a nine-game span for the first time since July 2016.

They lost their seventh game on April 5. Last year they lost their seventh game on April 28.

Boston's starters have a 9.60 ERA, worst by baseball by more than two full runs.

They've allowed 23 homers in nine games. Last year they allowed their 23rd homer in their 26th game.

At the conclusion of Friday's game, their minus-26 run differential was the worst in baseball by 12 runs.

Carl J. Weitz said...

Horace...Ruben wasn't a bad sub and would have stayed on the team a lot longer if it hadn't been for this: