Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Phil Franchise is looking for one

Looks bleak for Phil Hughes, cut loose at age 31 by Minnesota. 

In another Yankiverse - Kevin Long, long ago and Steve Farr, far away - Phil is still anchoring the rotation, along with Joba and Ian Kennedy... and Edwar Ramirez as closer.

Those were fun days, imagining how great the Big Three were going to be. And then... well... 

Just can't let it happen without a mention. So long, Hughesie, see you at Old-Timers Day. 

Forget Judge, Stanton and Sanchez... the Yanks could break the record for most players to hit 20 HRs

Last week, in their continuing quest to redefine bullshit, the YES team neo-Gammonites announced that the 2018 Yankees had become the earliest team ever to field four batters with 10 homers... or something like that. 

These days, my ears wax over with the continuing lava flow of "unprecedented" historical milestones from the pre-and post-game wonks. Last night, the 2018 Yankees became the first team ever to hit four or more HRs over three straight games! Huh. "Unprecedented!" they say. I say, huh. And don't get me started on David Cone's bizarre fetish over exit velocities, matched only by his infatuation with long dead sitcoms. Last night, he called for a YouTube revival of Hogan's Heroes - perhaps the sickest premise in TV history. (Not to mention Bob Crane's certain "proclivities.") I'm waiting for him to rediscover Happy Days, just to summon the perfect IT IS HIGH headline: Coney Loves Chachi! 

So, um, anyways... the Yanks now lead the majors with 72 HRs in 45 games. Over a full season, that projects to 259.2 dingers - (the 0.2 being a Ronald Torreyes double.) That's only 4.8 HRs behind the all-time record, the 1997 Mariners - who didn't, it should be noted, reach the World Series. 

But another "unprecedented" event could be more rewarding. The Yankees look poised to break the seasonal record for number of batters with 20 or more HRs - which now stands at seven. It is shared by six teams, (including last year's miserable Orioles.) In fact, only the 2009 Yankees - with Tex, A-Rod, Swish, Jorge, Damon, Godzilla and Joggie Cano - homered their way to a ring. 

But look, look, LOOK: Barring injuries, as many as 12 Yankees this year could hit 20.

Aaron Judge, lock.
Giancarlo Stanton, lock.
Gary Sanchez, lock.
Didi Gregorius, lock.

Aaron Hicks, likelihood.
Greg Bird, likelihood. 
Tyler Austin, with a platoon, likelihood.
Brett Gardner, hit 21 last year; he'll heat up, a maybe.
Gleyber Torres, suddenly, a definite maybe!
Miguel Andujar, a decent maybe. 
Clint Frazier, if he gets called up, maybe a definite maybe.
Neil Walker, twice hit 23, hell, he hit one last night, an outside shot at a maybe, baby! 

Twelve candidates. We could not only break the record, we could absolutely demolish it. 

One problem: Boston is second with 68 HRs. They have seven solid bets for 20. Everywhere you look, unless injuries reshuffle the deck, 2018 is a two-team race. After that, as Coney would say in his impression of Sergeant Schultz... "I KNOW NOTHINGK." And it's true. I know nothingk.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Boston fans are terrified, and they have reason to be

Yesterday, down the road in Rochester - (runner-up city for the 2017-18 Golden Snowball award!) - the traveling Pawsocks of Pawtucket suffered a tough 3-0 defeat. Damn. Hard to imagine, but their venerable Pawtucketian lineup produced only six hits. Mike Olt, the 3B cleanup hitter, went 0-4; by the way, he's 29. Catcher Mike Ohlman's average fell to .247. He's 27. DH Aneury Tavarez took the collar; he's 26. The team's top hitter - 1B Jordan Betts (no relation) - went 0-4. He's hitting .275. Oh, he's 26.

Wherever you looked - RF Cole Sturgeon, batting .071, age 26! - you see weathered mugs instead of the starry-eyed phenoms that fueled the Boston resurgence in this millennium. There are still prospects on the farm, but three fruitless years of reaching for the brass ring have drained the system, and Boston's best prospect, Jason Groome, this month left for Tommy John surgery. The cupboard is looking bare.

At Pawtucket, you see a lineups reminiscent of those trotted out by the Yankees in Scranton throughout the early 2000s, when the team pursued its relentless and impossible quest to win every year. 

Meanwhile, yesterday, against the O's, Boston CF Jackie Bradley Jr. smacked a double! As a Redsock fan told me last night, it's a wonder they didn't stop the game and give him the ball. Bradley is batting .165, and the golden memories of 2015 - when he started the All-Star game in LF, won the AL Player of the Month in May, and looked like the reason why Yankee fans should forget the next decade - look like a cruel practical joke by Ashton Kutcher. The way Boston fans once touted him, I used to call the guy Jackie Yastrzemski Jr. In fact, a better comparison would be Oddibe McDowell Jr.

Listen: John Sterling loves to say that you cannot predict baseball, Suzyn, but he's sorta wrong. You can't predict the next pitch, but over the course of a season, you can predict a lot of things. You can know that Brett Gardner will hit at least .260, that Giancarlo Stanton will belt at least 40 home runs, and that the 2018 Yankees will make the post-season. What you cannot do, Suzyn, is ever be certain... of anything. 

Boston opened 2018 by blowing a game against Tampa Bay in the ninth. After that, they went 17-1 - seventeen and one! - building a 7 and 1/2 game lead in the division. Yet today, they are in second. And make no mistake, the Redsock Nation has noticed. We have been witnessing one of the hottest streaks in Yankee history. Let us pause to consider that statement - ... in Yankee history - yet still, nothing is certain.

Yesterday, Didi Gregorius sat out his second straight game, so Ronald Torreyes could once again remind us that he is baseball's premier utility man, after Ben Zobrist. Didi had been AL Player of the Month in April, hitting .386 at one point. Now, he sits at .248, a torturous fall. Is he Jackie Bradley Jr? I don't think so... Didi has two solid years behind him; Bradley in 2015 abruptly burst onto the scene. Still, you can take nothing for granted, Suzyn.

Wait... that's not true. Today, there is a huge chasm between the Yankees and Redsocks, and you can find it in Pawtucket and Scranton. Boston is riding on two incredibly hot bats - Mookie Betts and JD Martinez - the game's top tandem, by far. They frame Babe Benintendi and Mitch Moreland (who is hitting .313, far above his career). But if either falters, Boston will replace them with - gulp - Oddibe Bradley Jr., and it's a long drop.

The Yankees have something entirely different going on. In his last four games, Aaron Judge is 0-15, but hardly anybody noticed. In KC, Gary Sanchez won one game, almost single-handedly, and yesterday, Tyler Austin won another. Stanton kicked in a few hits, and the Yankees rolled the Royals. When it was over, Clint Frazier - who contributed two walks and a double in his only outing - had to return to Scranton, where Brandon Drury, Greg Bird and Billy McKinney are preparing to kick down the door. Tomorrow, we could suffer a spate of injuries, promoting replacements who are up-and-coming stars, not minor league vets clinging to a final shot at the pension plan.

There is a lesson here, and let's hope Cooperstown Cashman gets it: The secret to building baseball teams is to always maintain a huge wave of talent. It's not enough to keep one or two targeted prospects, because nothing - nobody - is a certainty. Boston is choking on money and age, and their fans can sense it. They are starting to see the long term picture, and it terrifies them. They went 17-2 to open the season, and they are in second place. Wow.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

It's been a long time since a Yankee lineup tilted so far to the right

Quick now, if you were an MLB manager - one of these modern, like-me-on-Facebook types, not a chaw-chompin' Stump Merrill - would you send a twitchy, oh-so-sensitive lefty starter on a suicide mission against the 2018 Yankees? I'm not talking about starting Chris Sale or Madison Bumgarner, or that $31 million-a-year tax write-off known as David Price. I'm thinking of a Kei Igawa or a Vidal Nuno, a lefty on your roster simply because he's a lefty. A "quirky southpaw," as the Gammonites might say, who is struggling like - well - like Danny Duffy, whose ERA after last night now stands at 6.88, even though lefty batters are hitting .200 against him. 

Last night, Duffy never got to see a lefty batter, and if you root for the Royals, it was like a game devised by Gina Haspel. (YEOW! TURN IT OFF!) The Yanks went full Kim Jong Un and launched five missiles against Duffy and the bullpen, and if not for the cavernous park, they'd have hit at least three more. Manager Aaron Boone played a RH lineup built for Fenway. He replaced Brett Gardner with Clint Frazier, Neil Walker with Tyler Austin, Didi Gregorius with Ronald Torreyes, and Giancarlo Tartabull with Giancarlo Stanton. Everyone hit, it was like a beer softball tournament, and guess what? Today, KC will start Eric Skoglund - yep, a lefty! - while we're countering with, gulp, Sonny Gray. Who's bringing the keg? 

Until Greg Bird returns, and Gardy heats up, and Sir Didi reverts back from Dr. Bruce Banner, Boonie's Bombers should expect to see righties in much the way that teams historically used lefties to counter the short porch in Yankee Stadium.  Right now, we see a huge LH-RH disparity with Austin and Stanton, who crush lefties. Unfortunately, because they bat RH, Frazier and Brandon Drury may spend most of 2018 in Scranton. If Billy McKinney hits, or Jacoby Ellsbury heals - (ha! that's a joke!) - either could vault into the MLB mix, as a starter or platoon. In fact, despite his wonderful appropriation as a punch line, Ellsbury could play a formidable role in the Yankee second half. I am not kidding. It could happen, simply because he's a lefty.

To be sure, this is a First World problem - and it's far less of one if Bird comes back blazing. But in a seven-game series, Houston can show us three tough righties and Dallas Keuchel, and you know what? These games right now may just be merely a prelude to that eventual ALCS. The Yanks and Redsocks are dueling for the October home field advantage and the chance to avoid that hideous one game wild card. They are playing the season for the opportunity to set their rotation for that inevitable confrontation.

It's a long way to October, and the best LH bats still look to be from within. (Can Walker keep it going?) But come July 31, Cooperstown Cashman might be looking for a lefty bopper who can play 3B or even catch, now and then. And don't expect to see more Vidal Nunos start against us. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

In case of rain

The Weather Channel predicts "scattered strong storms" in the KC area all evening. I have to go out, which means I won't be around during any rain delay. So just in case, here's a Rainout Theater:

Does Anyone Else Feel This Way?

In the last few games, I have been shocked and horrified by the defensive inadequacy of Gleyber Torres.

He has mis-handled the ball, made mental errors, dropped pop-ups ( okay, an over the shoulder catch of a "looper" into Cf - but Derek catches it and so does Torreyes), and  made some poor throws.

Yesterday, he lost the game all by himself.

 CC had battled to get out of a dangerous situation, and induced an easy ground ball to second to end the potential nightmare.  Gleyber couldn't handle it and booted the opportunity.  This was an error one almost never sees in professional baseball.

  Another pitcher would have thrown his glove and hit himself in the face.  CC tried to weather it with professional courtesy to a teammate.  But it didn't work.  CC's pitch count for the inning went through the roof.  And, suddenly, the Yankees were behind, 3-0, rather than 1-0.

 And it is not a great feeling when you have just about " pulled off a miracle," and someone else fucks it up.  It is as if Paul O'Neal dropped the fly ball in that perfect game by Boomer Wells ( or was it Cone?), instead of securing it.  How would the pitcher react?  The game outcome likely would not have changed, but the entire atmosphere and history would have.  

So CC leaves the inning without ever being able to enjoy the reality of how well he had worked.

My point here is this;  I thought Gleyber had a reputation of being a " great glove."  The stupid commentators always allude to how smooth and confident he looks at second, as they praise him to the gods of baseball perfection.

I don't see this at all.  I did, when he first arrived.

 After last night,  I see a disaster waiting to happen.  I actually am beginning to feel relief when he makes a play that everyone makes.  This must go away.

 I want to have the same " big moment" confidence in this 21 year old that we once had in Derek.  And Derek always came through,  The bigger the moment, the more you wanted Derek involved in the outcome.  At this moment, I want Torreyes to play second.  Even Neal Walker makes that play with confidence.

Does anyone else have these trepidations?

Please convince me not to have any concern about this.  Give me the hard truth.

Or a really well-constructed lie.

Intensifying Rain.......

I won't try to sugar coat this news.

Estevan Florial is done for the year, as he will now undergo hamate surgery on his wrist.

The last guy to have this happen was Mark Texiera.

For how long did it put him on the shelf?  Was he ever able to overcome it?  Have we had a " black hole" at first base ever since?

This is really unfortunate.

The only upside is that he is unlikely to leave us in a trade package, for a worn out pitcher.

But do we now need look for another young talent who can run, hit, and catch in CF?

By the way,  speaking of CF, Jacoby had another set-back.  Let's review;  oblique strain; hip injury; plantar fasciitis; and now:  " a minor back injury."

Give the red head some reps in center.

That's what I quack.

Somebody Collapsed Under Pressure


I apologize for the all caps.  It was a stupid mistake that I am too lazy to correct.

When I look at it I keep seeing the errors.

I keep seeing the futile swings against the air.

The poor judgement.

The lack of communication.

The effort against the worst team in baseball.

How we feel this morning.

Yikes, what a reality check after nearly 5 days of rain.

Good thing it is a long season.

No need to panic.

Didi's inexplicable collapse could be Aaron Boone's first true test

About a month ago, undetected by the YES-MO super-cameras, some disreputable juju gods secretly replaced the good-hearted Didi Gregorius with his evil twin, Doodoo. 

Frankly, that's the only explanation that makes sense for what has happened to the Yankees most popular player since Jeet morphed into Donald Trump Jr.  

Last night, the evil Doodoo went 0-4 with a hapless strikeout, dropping his average to .248 - now below Giancarlo Stanton's .261. For weeks, Didi has turned into Wayne Tolleson, a steadily shrinking bat that was spackled-over by the Yankee winning streak. But as Didi's Jumbotron stats have plummeted from the .360s to the .240s, it's impossible to ignore.

Tonight, and tomorrow, the Yankees face lefty starters, and it would seem a logical move - if not a mercy killing - to "rest" Didi against at least one. I say "rest," because the team hadn't played in three days before showing up flatfooted last night. In his rare starts, Ronald Torreyes always seems to get a big hit, and right now, Didi is a pop fly machine.

A second move could be to drop Didi a few slots in the lineup. After a dreadful start, Aaron Boone bumped Stanton down to fourth. It's only May, hard to see the Yankee lineup as a carved stone tablet handed down to Moses. 

But look: I'm not here to manage the Yankees from my Syracuse "Golden Snowball-winning" Lazy-Boy. That's Boonie's job, and it's why the brain trust chose him over the likes of Beltran and Bam Bam. I suspect Joe Girardi would be choosing to stand pat. In his Game of Thrones sense of honor and loyalty, Joe would march into the abyss with a player who has earned his trust. (But Joe seldom forgave those on the wrong side of the binders.) I'm not saying Joe was wrong. But Boone is someone else. And it's time to show how he'll help a beloved player get through a personal crisis. 

Listen: If I had the Infinity Stones, I'd get laid a few times, get the car fixed, and then focus on winning Yankee games. But right now, I haven't a clue on what to do. Somehow, Boonie needs to let Didi relax. We hoped three nights off would snap him out of the funk. It sure didn't work last night. 

Thing is, the Yankees don't need Didi to hit .365 with 40 HRs. All they need is the Didi from last year - that spidery defense and joyful clubhouse spirit. They don't need the Didi who bats third, and I'm wondering if such a role - traditionally awarded to a marquee star - is part of his problem. 

Last night, Greg Bird homered for Trenton. He is 5 for 33 in his rehab, probably a week away. If it's a lefty bat that Boone craves, Bird could fill the three hole. Regardless of whether it's Didi or his twin, the Yankee lineup will soon change. So let's see what Boone does tonight. Eventually, Didi will get back on track. But he won't be the only key player to hit a death slump this season. We're about to see how Boone manages this team. It can't always be 14-game winning streaks.

Your 1966-1974 New York Rangers

Don't know if any of you have ever been hockey fans. I suffered that addiction for a few years, when I was a kid. Now, I think there are maybe 19,000 Rangers fans in all of New York—enough to fill up the Garden for every home game, and no more.

But when I was paying attention to them, that was a pretty good team. I loved them all. The Goal-A-Game Line, with Jean Ratelle, Rod Gilbert, and Vic Hadfield. Brad Park. Eddie Giacomin, the last goalie not to wear a mask!

Terrific team. Very lovable.

Only trouble: they were never quite the best.

Every year, somebody else was just a little bit better. The Canadiens. The damned Bruins. The Flyers.

Those Rangers went through life being just—barely—second best.

I look at these Yankees, and that's what I see: a very nice team that will always be second best. To the Red Sox and Indians, maybe. To the Astros and Nationals, almost certainly, with their superior starting pitching.

I keep wanting this Yankees team to be the 1998 Yanks. But they're not. In part because they don't have a Derek Jeter or a Paul O'Neill, with that fire to just not lose. In part because they have no pitching.

So here's my outside-the-box plan: break them up. Now. When the going is good.

Specifically, I'm thinking Sanchez and Didi to the Mets, for deGrom and Syndegaard.

The human brain is a funny thing. I look at Sanchez, and I see a young Johnny Bench. Then I look at the box score, and I see he's still hitting .211, and giving up a run a game on passed balls. I love Didi. Can't imagine giving him up. Except for a guy who's hitting a hundred points higher.

Maybe we can get the Mets to throw in Amed Rosario, their own flop, to fill the shortstop hole until we can sign Manny. Maybe we have to do it with Tyler Too. I dunno.

But I'd love to pull off this deal, then sign Manny, Bryce (with that Paul-Derek fire) and Corbin in the off-season.

I doubt if we'll do anything like it. But if we don't, I see us as that Rangers team. Always juuust out of it for the next 6-8 years. Always in second place, or eliminated just short of the World Series. Been there, done that, don't want to do it again.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Rain Continues To fall....on the Yankees

This just in:  " Yank's Estevan Florial sidelined with injury."

This is the topping to the slop cake the Yankees are putting on in KC.

Giving away a game to the worst team in baseball.

Running into each other, dropping pop-ups, booting charity hop ground balls with the bases loaded and two out.

Not driving in runs with RISP.

Start drinking heavily now and turn off the TV.

You don't want to see the rest of this.

Should There Be Clear Skies In KC......

Here is how we all shall feel....in about 9 hours:

Still wondering when they will open the cell doors.

Did some bureaucrat mis-file my papers?

Can a parole board change it's ruling?

Everything here is fucked up, so why will this work?

Who still wants to shiv me?

They said I would be released in time to :

1.  Get driven to a bar with a TV
2.  See the game
3.  Get shit-faced
4.  Eat pickled eggs and the new slim Jims.
5.  Have a salisbury steak with gravy
6.  Punch some asshole in the face
7.  Get pissed at Giancarlo for striking out with runners on second and third
8.  Try to make a date with a blonde
9.  Get thrown against the wall by her boxer boyfriend who works in the kitchen at the prison.
10. Get arrested for DC ( disorderly conduct)
11.  Miss the Yankee comeback.
12.  Wake up in county jail

They are wrong.

I will watch the game in peace and quiet.  It will be like a day at the beach.

Unless it rains.

Afre we finally free?

If we had a first-quarter All Star break, who would have made the team?

Shoot me. Basically, our thrill-addicted Yankiverse just endured three torturous days without a baseball fix, a mini-all star break, in which time stood still. Instead of wrecking their swings in a home run derby, our millionaires got to sleep in a crummy, puke-decorated airport. The break came 40 games into the season, the quarter mark, so in the grand spirit of Mel Kiper mock drafts - (NBB: Nothing But Bullshit) - it's a perfect time to elect an All Star team, thus far. If the midsummer classic - no, the mid-spring classic - were held today, here's your AL batting order (with HR, RBI, BA and - for the toddlers out there - the magical all-knowing OPS.)

rf Mookie Betts, Boston (13, 28, .364, 1.172)

ss Manny Machado, Baltimore (14, 40, .342, .901)

lf JD Martinez, Boston (13, 38, .334, 1.051)

rf Aaron Judge, NY (11, 35, .307, 1.035)

cf Mike Trout, California (12, 29, .290, 1.031)

3b Jose Ramirez, Cleveland (13, 30, .296, 1.004)

1b C.J. Cron, Tampa (11, 27, .293,.877)

2b Jed Lowrie, Oakland (9, 37, .324, .938)

c Gary Sanchez, NY (10, 30, .211, .820)

The AL starting pitcher would be Jason Verlander, Gerrit Cole or Charlie Morton, all from Houston, which is pants-pissing scary, but let's don our imaginary Depends and not get sidetracked. Instead, let's ponder the outlier in that lineup, the ninth hitter, where Gary Sanchez looks suspiciously like a Yankee fan home job. How does a .211 hitter make an all star game, even one based on Mel Kiper?

Well, according to MLB stat at-bats, the AL has three "qualifying" catchers: 

Sad, eh? Only three. Of course, the speed-crazy NL is full of catchers, right? It's the league of Buster, Yadier and Wieters, right?  

Well, here are the all-MLB "qualifiers:"

What leaps out is one of the true Yankee fuck-ups of this millennium - ignoring both the talent and the character of Mr. Francisco Cervelli, who twice went to an emergency room in a pinstriped jersey, and who might have saved us from investing $85 million on Brian McCann. (Actually, we traded Frankie for Justin Wilson, who was later converted into Mean Chad Green, so maybe it wasn't that bad.) The other cardinal sins: Letting Boston outbid us for Yoan Moncada, refusing to re-sign Russell Martin, Kei Igawa, Kei Igawa, and Kei Igawa... ah, don't get me started.

Instead, let's appreciate Gary for what he is: baseball's best catcher... arguably (which is, arguably, the greatest word in any fan's vocabulary.) At age 25, Sanchez is the most likely Yankee to heat up over the next month. He started 2018 in a deep slump. Even at .211, he leads all MLB catchers in HRs and RBIs. As for the passed balls? Yeah, it's a problem. But one reason could be that he must handle baseball's two wildest arms - Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman - both Ryne Duren without glasses, if not without eyes. When not putting batters into CTE brain scan protocols, they're hitting backstops in the air. Catching a 103 mph pitch in the dirt, when you called for an 93 mph slider... good luck with that. 

Let's face it: Like Melania Trump, Gary must continually learn how to block balls. But already, he is the AL's best catcher - arguably - and he's why Giancarlo Stanton ranks 48th in walks. Of all the Yankees likely to carry us through the next quarter, Gary is most scary.

What the Yankees Did in DC

Aaron Judge: No, man, I didn't go by the Supreme Court. God, that is such a stereotype! I don't even think the Court is in session. It's "the first Monday in October," dude. Get a clue!

Gary Sanchez: I was feeling a little down about the passed balls and everything, so I went out to the Rock Creek Cemetery to commune for awhile with the Clover Adams memorial there. You know, her husband, Henry Adams, put that up shortly after her death and it's just very moving, very consoling to be there. I like to do it whenever I feel low. Some guys prefer the Serenity Statue, but I think that's just a bunch of shit.

Giancarlo Stanton: I always like to go to the House of Congress. Whattaya mean there are two houses of Congress? There's the dome and that one house on the left, that's it.

Aaron Judge: If you must know, I went to the National Post Office Museum. Man, I could spend hours just staring at that Inverted Jenny. How could they make a mistake like that? Weird.

Didi Gregorius: As a titled citizen of another country, I was of course received at an official state dinner at the White House. The Big Macs were delicious!

C.C. Sabathia: Whenever I'm in Washington, I grab Gardy and we go down and picket the Capitol over our particular hobbyhorse. We march around it with our signs, chanting, 'Hey hey!/ Ho ho!/ FCC has got to go!' Someday, after push has come to shove, they'll realize we were right. Those alive to see that day will wish they had never been born.

Aaron Judge: No, man, I didn't go to the DC Appellate Court, either. Or to the Justice Department, or the FBI Museum. Jesus, why would you ask that? That's it, just fuck off!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Misery and Boredom

Another day with no Yankee baseball.

Testing out the softness of toilet paper is about as exciting.

This is like the " all star" break, only worse.



Bad hair days.

Many delays at airports.


The bright side?

If it rains in KC, we can all watch semi-professional bowling roll-offs in Topeka.

Mine alternative choice is to induce an opioid stupor and watch Abbott & Costello movies provided by the Mustang.

Yeesh  !

Trade a pitcher for a pitcher?

Love what the days off do for our bullpen—and for idle, rainout speculation.

Here's one:  Sonny Gray for Bumgarner?

The Giants, who aren't going anywhere anytime soon, would get a pitcher at half the price, with an extra year of control, who is popular in the Bay Area.

We get Bumgarner—assuming he's healed.

We could even throw in something from Column B. A free Hicks stick, or a Won-ton Wade for their creaky, disastrous infield.

Worth thinking about? Of course not! We have no control over this.  Still...

Yankees now killing Soccer, 84-76.

Giancarlo is on last year's MVP pace

For months now, the Yankiverse has echoed with one starkly disturbing, whispered fear: That Giancarlo Stanton's great seasons came with a team that couldn't view the pennant race without an electron telescope. After all, if a tree falls on a bear shitting a home run in the woods, does anybody count it? Last year at this time, Stanton's Marlins were already 8 games down in the fleabag NL East and sliding ever-deeper into the sinkhole of irrelevance that defines baseball in Florida, where the ghost of Anita Bryant still turns the bleachers pungent, and - come August - you're more likely to encounter a Burmese python than a fan. 
Well, here are the Stant Man's numbers, then and now:

May 16, 2017: 11 HRs, 27 RBIs, .253-.325-.521 (.846)

Today: 10 HRs, 26 RBIs, .255-.344-.516 - (.860)
Yeesh, there's almost an eerie algorithm at work here. Barring injuries, he's on course to follow up his NL MVP season - when he hit 59 HRs and drove in 132 - with similar numbers. Those stats give me the Viagra sweats. Certainly, Boston is giddy over the early season production of JD Martinez and Mookie Betts - currently 2nd and 3rd among MLB in batting average. (Our top BA, Aaron Judge, ranks 25th, with .307.) And if Mart-Mook have career years, the Redsocks will be far more explosive than in 2017, when they easily won the AL East. But neither is Stanton, and it now appears as though Giancarlo is not going to be Kemp, or Tartabull, or even Barfield... but Giancarlo.
Two nights ago, he blooped a single over first base for his 1,000th major league hit. Generally, by the time a player reaches a thousand, he has defined himself. (FWIW: Martinez has 860; Betts, 662.) But whenever a player hits New York, all bets are off. As Bonnie Raitt once said, every night, you must win over the crowd. In his first month, Stanton shat the bed, earning boos. These days, every time he steps up, his average seems to have jumped a point or two. 
He is on the verge of winning New York City.
Soon, Greg Bird will return, Didi will rise from his funk, and Aaron Hicks either will start hitting or be replaced. (Clint Frazier is waiting.) Gary Sanchez - if you disregard his 2 for 36 start of the season - is doing fine. Add Gleyber and Miguel - both pressed by Brandon Drury - and we see more firepower than any team in baseball, more than the Yankees have fielded in decades... maybe, gulp, even since 1961. (NO, I DID NOT WRITE THAT. IT JUST APPEARED ON MY SCREEN. I DID NOT WRITE THAT NUMBER.)
Last night, Chance Adams threw seven shutout innings for Scranton, struck out 10. Until now, the guy's been lost. Another outing like that, and Sonny Gray might become the bullpen long man. 
Listen: The days are growing longer. I wake up to birds chirping in the trees. Around here, we piss and moan as a matter of normalcy. But damn, it's a great time to be a Yankee fan. Giancarlo is for real. Let's enjoy this, while it lasts.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Rainout Theater

Summing Up

Duque is, of course, correct about Harper and Manny. We don't need them. Machado should be disqualified on his name alone. After Ramirez, all Mannys should be banned from ever being a Yankee. It's a tainted moniker. Let every Manny go be Manny somwhere else.

I still think we shouldn't have taken John Carlo. We didn't need him, either. Although if he keeps hitting lefties at a .400 clip, he's a great platoon player.

Hicks is living up to my expectations. His career is an accurate expression of his ability, not that short spurt last year. Gardner in center, Frazier in left. Except when we face a lefty, and then J.C. Scranton.

Hicks should be sent to Triple A, or at least traded to the White Sox or Reds or some other cellar-dweller.

I feel bad for Brandon Drury. Talk about a comedown. The guy gets to the Yankees and is the starting third baseman, and within weeks he's getting migraines, doing rehab, and is now assigned to the minors. He's like Wally Pipp, but without the previous career.

I had to look twice before I realized that Cano is only in the fifth year of his ten-year contract. OMG. Poor Seattle. It's like he's already 41.


The crash of Cano is Exhibit A in why the Yanks should avoid Bryce and Manny

Years ago, after Joggy Cano sucker-punched the Yankiverse by loping off to Seattle, NBC's Jimmy Fallon set up a New York street skit where fans could tell off a cardboard cutout of the traitorous fool. The punch line: Cano abruptly stepped into view, prompting hugs and forgiveness, showing us once again that - as Captain Kirk often taught aliens, and as Rudy showed Notre Dame - we humans are a quirky, interesting species because of our capacity to love. 

(Insert gob of spit here.)

I hated that sidewalk bit. Had Fallon sprung Cano on me, I would have un-holstered my ankle shiv and jabbed the pair into red pate. I shall never forgive Cano. It's not that he chose gold over my loyalty - I never blame players for chasing money - but he was stupid. He abandoned a rare, once-in-a-generation opportunity to become a lifelong Yankee, a godlike status with nearly infinite financial advantages. He chose Seattle so he could get overpaid for one final year, age 41, when he'd be too fat and grotesque to even jog quickly, and when I think of it now, what comes to mind is, "Good fucking riddance, you ungrateful dolt." 

Imagine: A guy forsaking the chance to become a lifelong Yankee? 

Anyone that stupid, fuk'm. 

Thus, yesterday's news that Cano will miss 80 games due to a positive PED test brought for me a special moment of warmth and jubilation. There is a God! The news came one day after Jogginson broke a bone in his hand - which, by the way, I didn't celebrate. I don't wish injuries on players - (well, maybe a Pedroia here and there.) The cold reality of sports today is that injuries can wipe out any team at any time, and it has nearly destroyed my interest in the NFL. (In another era, I'd be excited about the Giants drafting Saquon Barkley; now, I just view him as a poor guy about to run into a shredder.) As strong as the Yankees look now, one outfield collision, one spate of bad elbows, and we're battling Toronto for second. 

But let me get to the point: Ten-year deals have become mutual prison sentences, and MLB stars and agents better come to grips with it. Giancarlo Stanton is damn lucky the Yankees had an open slot and a low payroll, or he could have ended up as Miami's unwanted, rented mule for life. If he continues to fail, David Price can look forward to tacks in his driveway - the ghost of Ed Whitson? - for the rest of his torturous time in Boston. The lifetime commitment cuts in both directions.

Next winter, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will supposedly demand 10-12 year deals in the neighborhood of $40 M per season. If they can actually pull such numbers, bravo! But sincerely I hope the Yankees don't bite. In a few years, we must pay for Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Luis Severino, Didi Gregorius and whomever else ascends - Andujar, Montgomery, Red Thunder, etc. - not to mention Giancarlo. If we dive into a Bryce Harper auction, beyond the outfield crunch, we will be destroying our own future flexibility. 

There is a way to build a dynasty. It starts with a core group of great Yankees, which is regularly supplemented by players who want to experience a pennant race in the world's greatest baseball market. Unlike Cano, they must appreciate a fan base of zealots who - if the wrong buttons are pushed on the street -  will unleash the justice of their ankle shivs. If Bryce or Manny want to be Yankees, there is always a way to make it happen. But if they want a commitment through 2035, well, they should look to Seattle. And good luck with that. Something tells me the Mariners might not return calls.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Straight From the Back Page.....

There are noises from several sources that Red Thunder is headed to the big club.

Possibly joining them in DC.

What adjustment would the Yankees have to make to accommodate him?

Is it true?

Go to your local bars, order a crown royal shot and a beer, and ask the person sitting to your left if they have heard anything.

Do it now, and get back to us when you feel able.

_ Emma Bernback

It's a roofie from Robbie!

Another thing to be thankful for: He's not a Yankee.

Three tenors, anyone?

Our Amtrak Adventure to Washington will give us the chance to make a firsthand judgement about next year's possible, once-our-self-imposed-salary-cap-is-lifted big free-agent acquisition.

It's what some people have dubbed the "Three Tenors" option: signing Bryce Harper.

Is this a good idea? Or something that will just stick us with yet another stratospheric salary for the indefinite future?

Would a Yankees Bryce Harper be the Superman, 2012 rookie-of-the-year, 2015 MVP, power-hitting, cannon-throwing Bryce who leaves us all in awe? Or the frequently injured, meltdown Bryce of 2014 and 2016?

And if we do decide to go for him, what then? Do we try to trade Clint Frazier for pitching? I'd hate to see that. But if we do it...

Anyway, the Yanks are not only playing .700 ball, they have opened up their biggest lead, ever, over what the rest of the world calls football:

Yankees 82, Soccer 76.

But World Cup, like winter, is coming.

Scranton will soon field a decent MLB team

Chock with rehabbing talent, this could be next week's lineup card for the famed Traveling Wilkes-Barres of Triple A:

ss Tyler Wade
3b Brandon Drury
lf Clint Frazier

1b Greg Bird

rf Billy McKinney
dh Adam Lind
c  Kyle Higashioka
cf Shane Robinson

2b Abiatal Avelino
sp Daniel Camarena
rf Tommy Kahnle

If we figure Bird and Frazier could each belt 30 HRs in a season, that Adam Lind is good for 20, that Drury and McKinney are solid table-setters, and that we've still not seen the real Tyler Wade, you're looking at a team that could give the Orioles, Reds, Padres, Marlins and White Sox - tankers already planning for 2021 - a run for their luxury tax Mallo Cup coupons.

Add a returning Justus Sheffield, a promoted Dillon Tate and a rewired Chance Adams, and you've got the Tampa Bay Debit Rays and maybe the 19-18 crosstown Mets, give or take a rehabbing Duke Carmel or Ron Swoboda. And, holy shit! have we even contemplated the potential impact of Jacoby Ellsbury on the race for the International League Governor's Cup? The Chief could be Scranton's team captain!

Okay, the point here is that the Yankees have set themselves up with ascending talent in every position, except maybe starting pitching - but, hey, isn't that the story of human civilization? And though we shall never forgive the supreme insolence of his disastrous Sonny Gray-like deals, the man behind our resurgence is Cooperstown Cashman. Love him or hate him, he is baseball's executive of the hour. 

As we roll into the season's second quarter, let's ponder the game's biggest spenders. 

This morning, only the Angels and Yankees are leading their divisions. The Cubs are sinking, the Dodgers stink like a plate of bad clams, and the Nats are already secretly eyeing the world after Bryce Harper. We, on the other hand, have more than $20 million to piss away in contracts at the trade deadline, if we choose to hit the August 1 Bloat Buffet. And truth is, we'll probably be better off promoting from within. 

In simple terms, we are running barefoot through a field of nipples. So... a thought: How about let's enjoy this mini ecstasy trip and not fight over bullshit? I'm almost sensing an inverse relationship between the Yankees winning and the number of fights in the comments section. Without Cashman to rage at, are we predisposed to scream at each other? 

Listen: Three weeks ago, we were nearly unanimous in thinking Giancarlo Stanton might be a NYC disaster, the ex-Marlin who couldn't handle a pennant race. Now, he could be on the verge of a career year. Every time I see him come to bat, his average is up a few points. The Yankees have lost a boatload of players to injuries, yet they now lead the division. How bad is that?

Two days ago, Jogginson Cano broke a bone in his hand. He'll be unable to mosey out grounders for at least a month. Seattle has nobody to play 2B. Would the Mariners like to take a flier on Tyler Wade? They'd have to make it worth our while. He's not Nick Rumbelow. But a few 18-year-old Domingo Germans might work. 

Listen: The older I get - and I am fucking up there - the more critical it becomes to appreciate every day when your team is in first place. 

We are in first place, and I think we're going to stay there. Boston may be the second best team in baseball. But they'll have to play the one-game Wild Card. It's a helluva difference. Let's enjoy this.