Sunday, March 26, 2023

A year ago, the Yankees were deep in young pitchers. It's all gone.

Remember "The Gas Station?" It was the Yankee developmental site in Tampa last year, where young pitchers increased their spin rates and radar gun numbers. The Yankees seemed to have cracked the code on raising minor league starters, and it suggested a looming new era of pitching depth. 

Yeah, right. 

Today, it looks more like a short-term mirage, a burst of hubris spawned by a coincidental wave of young talent, which is now scattered to the winds. 

That wave was traded away for players who were defined by their contracts, despite the Yankees being the wealthiest franchise in baseball. The youngsters were sent to the three or four MLB teams willing to trade with the Yankees, if the deals are sweet enough.

Well, they certainly were. This spring, the Yankees starting rotation has turned into an Agatha Christie novel - pitchers disappearing, one by one. In the case of Luis Severino, the latest to go, it's a sad, desperate normalcy. 

Sevy - now in his final year before free agency - is one of those rare MLB players who has the Ellsburian ability to injure himself while rehabbing from a previous injury. 

He will probably miss April and May. 

Today, I got nothing. This spring has become an unfunny joke. Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez - who were always destined for Scranton -are now prime contenders for the No. 5 starter slot, and Tanner Danish - relentlessly drilled all spring - might be a setup man. And there is a week to go. Will anybody still be around? 

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Volpeism


 We finally have a top draft pick who looks like he can play.

Yes, Volpe will likely come north with the team. 

The thing is;  it won't matter.

We have no pitching left. 

And day one isn't even in the books. 



Chronicle of a Death Foretold

 


Ah, why is that Black Swan always right? It must be the Einstein of birds.

But this one was predictable. Indeed, we all predicted it. Setback Luis Severino, down again.


I was surprised to see that some of my brethren here never liked Setback Sevvy. I loved him. By his third year in the show, he was one of the best pitchers in the major leagues, finishing third in the AL Cy Young race. By the next season, 2018, he was even better, the ace of the staff.

That year, as the Yanks came charging up the standings, chopping 7 1/2 games off the lead of the streakin', cheatin', BoSox, it seemed as though there really might be another dynasty. On July 1, our boys slugged the Carmine Hose in a Sunday night game at the Stadium, 11-1, leaving them tied for first after exactly half the season. The Yanks were 54-27, and their potential looked eliminated.

But in that game, too, you could practically call the pitch when Sevvy's career went from gold to dross, unlimited to marginal. 

In the 7th inning, with the Yanks up 9-0, Sevvy was cruising. He'd allowed only 3 walks and 2 bangles, and struck out 6. He got the first two outs of the 7th, too, inducing Rafael Devers and Brock Holt to bounce into routine groundouts. He'd only thrown 99 pitches, and Christian Vazquez, the Sox' right-handed, light-hitting catcher was up.

But all of a sudden, Sevvy was out of the game and Dave Robertson was in. No explanation, and the Yanks were mum about it the next day. But it soon became obvious that Luis was hurt.

Before that game, Sevvy was 13-2, with a 1.98 ERA. The rest of the way, he was 6-6, 6.19, and in the playoffs he was obliterated by Boston.

The Yanks said that he was tipping his pitches. The Yanks said that he inexplicably showed up late for that playoff game in Boston. 

They lied about this, of course. They lied about it just as Brian Cashman's front office lies about everything, all the time, and especially the injuries that his incompetent staff constantly allows to happen and constantly fails to fix. 

Persisting in that lie, the Yanks—Cashman—gave Sevvy a huge new contract after the 2018 season, which with the option year has now amounted to almost $56 million. A contract like that, for a guy who supposedly can't hide his pitches and shows up late for a key playoff game?

Obviously, he was hurt. But Brian Cashman, who hopes for good things to happen like a desperate child, thought coughing up the big bucks would change reality.

Well, reality is a stubborn thing. For all that money, Sevvy's won exactly 9 regular-season games, and gone 0-2 in the postseason. And now he's hurt again.

For all of the other things that have gone wrong since that July night at the Stadium—for all of Andujars and the Hickses, and the Gleybers and the Giancarlos, and the almost endless horror flick that was Chappie the Sweat Meister—obviously, Luis Severino was the heart of the Yankees, and they've never been the same since.

I don't blame Sevvy for this. I blame Brian Cashman. And as Dr. T. asked in a previous post comment—like Zola thundering "J'accuse!" during the Dreyfus Affair—when are Cashie and his minions EVER going to be held accountable?

The answer, of course, is the same for the question of, "When will the Yankees win again in our lifetimes?" 

Never.







Shocker: Setback Sevy suffers setback

A strained lat muscle. Out a month, maybe two?

(Assuming no setbacks.)


As the Yankees stagger toward Opening Day, Anthony Volpe offers what this team desperately needs: A buzz.

On a day when two top March Madness seeds went kaboom, Anthony Volpe claimed the Yankees' first tabloid back page in over a week: He homered, prompting the Daily News to joyously proclaim "Volpening Day," a burst of  excitement that broke across the Yankiverse like a new Kardashian sex tape. 

If Volpe doesn't make this team, if he's sent back to the strip malls and hilly permafrost of Moosic, the Yankees' Opening Day lineup will be remembered for its contrasts: A standing "OH!" for Aaron Judge, and a wall of silence, if not outright booing, for Josh Donaldson and Aaron Hicks, the villains of last season's final episode. In the eyes of fans, Volpe has come to represent hope on a Yank roster that has conjured little of it this spring.

Nobody expects Judge to hit 60 HRs again, and the last month has derailed the notion of a powerhouse rotation and lockdown bullpen. (Check yesterday's  line on Albert Abreu: Yikes!) 

The Yankees look far weaker than they did a month ago, before the tweaks of spring rolled into Tampa like the red tide. Expectations have withered. After he signed Carlos Rodon, Hal Steinbrenner - in an adrenal burst - said, "We're not done!" In fact, he apparently was. The only thing Hal has signed since are autographs, assuming anybody wants one. The YES team's ginned up excitement over the competition between Willie Calhoun and Rafael Ortega did not reach nuclear fusion. The team offers eight infielders and two outfielders. If it were a plane, it would have six propellers and one wing.

In recent weeks, Volpe has emerged as the prime narrative of camp. In the last few games, he seemed to be lagging. Yesterday's HR may have sealed the deal, though Oswald Peraza enjoyed a similar day: Two singles in four at-bats.

As opening day SS, Peraza makes a lot more sense. He's slightly older, 22; he played in the Majors last September; and dispatching him back to Scranton - where he excelled last year- would feel like the Yankees were punting on third down. But Peraza hasn't contributed any back pages yet, and Volpe is working on his third. 

To keep NYC from becoming a Mets town - it already may have happened - the Yankees need something, somebody, new. His name is Anthony Volpe. And next week may be Volpening Day. 


Friday, March 24, 2023

With Opening Day fast-approaching, 10 ponderings about the Yankees

Somewhere in the bars of Cigar City, a 55-year-old, semi-balding GM is furiously working his iPhone, with nobody returning calls.

The Yankee pipe dream - trading an extra infielder for a lefty-slugger LF - may need to wait until August. To paraphrase old Rumsfeld, you go to war the season with the army lineup you have. The war is a week away. Meanwhile...

1. Anthony Volpe picked a crapola time to turn frigid. He's 0-8 in his last two games, his BA dipping to .279, Roy Smalley territory. Three weeks ago, Volpe was Tampa's IT Girl, and his quest for opening day Jeterhood seemed inevitable. Now, we wonder: How long will this mini-slump go, and how will he respond? 

2. Sadly, Oswald Peraza has failed to take advantage of Volpe's hiccup. After another hitless day, Peraza's spring average stands at .171, Alvaro Espinosa territory. Small samples come with grains of salt. But these numbers are sobering, and these days, who wants to be sober?

3. If we were to name a spring MVP, it would be The Man Without a Place, Oswaldo Cabrera. He homered yesterday, his third, the lone Yank run. He has done everything asked of him - LF, CF, SS, 3B, 2B, 1B - yet the brain trust seems determined to play Aaron Hicks (.250). That's Chinatown, Oswaldo.  

4. According to Forbes, the Yanks remain - by barges and barges - the most valuable franchise in baseball. They're supposedly worth $7.1 billion, more than $2 billion more than the first runner-up Dodgers. Hold onto that Yankee Shaman headdress. Next time Hal whines about the luxury tax, we riot. 

5. Check out the 2023 Tabloids Covers Race (left), and you'll see why Hal actually should worry. Through March, the Yankees have received their fewest barrels of free tabloid ink since we began counting. Hal's dad always ruled the back pages. He saw the gold in those screamer headlines. As a result, the Yankees have owned NYC for decades. Could they be entering a mega-drought? Climates - even financial ones - don't change overnight. Once flipped, the switches don't soon turn back. 

6. Carlos Rodon threw a session yesterday, and the Yankees are ecstatic delighted overjoyed blah-blah-blah pick-your-B.S. with what they saw. Rodon is critical to 2023, and yesterday was a baby step, as he returns from a tender forearm. What he didn't throw were breaking balls, supposedly the source of his earlier pain. We'll see in five days, when he tries again. Fingers crossed. Without Rodon, the quest becomes the wild card.  

7. Along with the battle for SS, the search for a Cinderella left-fielder has also dried up. The two early non-roster wonders - Willie Calhoun (.282) and Rafael Ortega (.161) - have turned back into mice pulling a pumpkin. Estevan Florial remains a pinch-runner/defensive replacement, and little more. For all the talk, they all might disappear, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa could stay. 

8. Josh Donaldson attributed his two HRs the other day to a revamped swing. Keeping in mind that batters often say such crapola, it's still nice to hear. The only thing that can save Donaldson's career is his willingness to change. Sluggers from Justin Turner to JD Martinez used so-called "swing doctors" to taper their moves and keep going. Did Donaldson get the memo? We'll see. 

9. Fordham's Justin Shackil will replace Sweeney Murphy as host of the post-game radio show. He'll also call 30 games with Suzyn, in place of John Sterling. It won't be easy, replacing a God. Shack comes by way of the Trenton Thunder, Tennessee Smokies and Mobile BayBears. You don't follow Yahweh without paying your dues. 

10. Let me state what everybody is thinking: Aaron Judge should have played in the World Baseball Classic. That last at-bat - it shoulda been Otani v Judge. And everybody knows it. 

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Yankee silence suggests an uneasy calm before the impending Cashmanic storm.

Sorry, but right now, there's nothing to say about the '23 Yanks - who currently rank 8th in NYC tabloid covers this year, behind the Jets, Nets, Mets and Damar Hamlin. Nope, there is no wise but whimsical rant. No hard-edged venture into hilarity. No wide-eyed glance into the jaws of Hell. Nothing to say. 

Sometime, in the next few days, the Yankees will alter this team, either massively - (think: Gleyber gone) - or microscopically - (so long, Estevan Florial.) They will also decide between Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza at SS. Then, and only then, this year's team will take shape. 

Meanwhile, we ingest recycled crapola: For example, this bottomless blathering of nothingness from the dean of NYC sports talkers, Mike Francesca. Yesterday, on the matter of Volpe, the Oracle said.

"If he's ready and they feel that he's ready - they're around him every day, and they know if he's ready. If he's ready... I think you put him on the team and let him be. It doesn't mean he's going to blossom into Jeter. But if he's ready to be there on a daily basis, you don't bring him up here and put him on the bench. You bring him up here if he's going to play. If he's going to play every day, then you play him. If he's not, then you don't bring him up here."

WTF? Should I disagree?
If he's ready, DON'T bring him up? Send him to Scranton! And if he's NOT ready, bring him up?  

The saddest part is, right now, that's all there is to say: Nothing. Just wrap it into a loop and let it run.  

It's not Francesca's fault. Across the Yankiverse, this is the most excruciating period known to fans: With Opening Day approaching, we must simply sit here, crapping pineapples, and wait for Cashman to do his thing. Shoot me. In the meantime, a few thoughts, which may or may not be fully basted...

1. Whatever happens, cheers to Isiah Kiner-Falefa! With trade talk swirling, there he is, donning catcher's gear, hitting his usual .241, and giving the Yankee fans one more reason to love the guy. Last year, it didn't work for IKF, playing fulltime SS. But he remains a great teammate. And trust me on this: We will need a third catcher. 

Whatever we get for him in a trade, it won't be enough.

2. Michael King continues to excel: He hasn't given up a run this spring, and he pitches two-to-three innings at a time. Shouldn't the Yankees consider him a short starter? Especially if/when German or Schmidt go belly-up. This is not some acid trip idea. It's how most teams develop their starters: They rise up from the bullpen. It's the path traveled by Nasty Nestor. Could King be the next Nasty Nestor? I'm just saying, it's worth exploring. 

3. Yesterday, our two biggest spring disappointments - Peraza and Florial - went a combined 0-for-7. How enjoyable this last week in Tampa could be, if only they looked good. There'd be no debate, no red tide, no fear of a looming Cashmanic disruption. Both would be locks for Opening Day. Instead, Peraza is hitting .188 and Florial, .167. Sad.

Nothing to say. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Just A Friendly Reminder....

 I am still here.

Welcome to an exciting new season.

A year filled with promise and grand expectations.

I only report the news I don't make it.

So blame nothing on me when what I mention, ruins your day.


So who is starting at shortstop?

Josh Donaldson hit two HRs yesterday. Trade him. Now.

A week from tomorrow, the world begins anew. 

No longer shall there be Covid, or political strife, or wildfires, or mudslides, or pain and suffering... though it will still be nearly impossible to get a plumber on weekends.

I refer to Opening Day, the holiest date on the IT IS HIGH calendar after July 4, the birthday of John Sterling. Sometime, between now and O-DAY, the Yankees must make a move. Actually, several. They will need to jettison someone, to cull the herd and make way for 2023.

I hereby speak for the entire Yankiverse in asking Brian Cashman - today - to phone, text, Facetime or butt-dial every single MLB general manager on the planet - and Miami, too.  He should offer around the newly rejuvenated Josh Donaldson - a reborn and refurbished slugger who has rediscovered his 2015 MVP stroke, and who is headed for a fantastic season, Comeback of the Year! Do they know he's only 37 - 11 years younger than Derek Jeter, who could easily hit .260. Donaldson is one of those seasoned old pros who can "teach the kids how to win." He's already won the respect and admiration of African-American players by kiddingly calling them "Jackie." He's a veritable Gold Glove at third, and he hit two HRs yesterday. Did you see that? Two HRs. He's back. Hey, Monty, let's make a deal!

Look, I hate to mock Donaldson. It's not his fault that somebody gave him an outlandish contract, and the Yankees then traded for it. That dust-up last season with Tim Anderson? Let's give Donaldson the benefit of the doubt. Let's say he wasn't being racist. But he still represents the trouble with the modern Yankees. Like a recurring movie sequence, every year, after avoiding bidding wars on free agents, they trade for aging veterans with incredibly bloated contracts. They did it with Kevin Brown. They did it with Giancarlo. They did it with - dear God, don't make me go down the list - let's just say that Donaldson is the latest former star the Yankees acquired from some GM who was desperate to ditch. Also, to make matters worse, last October - on the world stage - Donaldson was putrid. The fans booed, and the Yankees this winter found no team willing to take him. End of story?

NO! HE HIT TWO HRS YESTERDAY! If, say, he hits two more today, could they find a taker?

I don't think Donaldson is a bad person or the cause of Yankee rot. He's just another guy whose contract overwhelms his actual value. If the Yankees could trade him tomorrow - for anything, forget true value, just to a team that would absorb his contract - here's their infield:

1b Rizzo
2b Gleyber
ss Volpe/Oswald
3b LeMahieu
back ups: IKF, Oswaldo

Trouble is, we have Donaldson, the Yankee equivalent of a teetering bank that is too big to fail. We must play him. We must endure this mating dance with our own crapola. If he gets off to a hot start, it simply means he will play longer into the summer before the slump hits, before age catches up to him. 

I say, make the calls, Brian. It's a cruel business, baseball, and today might be the best shot you get. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The Yankees will soon get a prognosis on Carlos Rodon - and maybe the 2023 season.

The Yankees OVER 7 ERA club
We've indulged ourselves lately, chattering happily about Anthony Volpe's quest to conquer the old, calcified Yankee establishment and make the opening day roster. 

Soon, that question might not matter.

Any day now, the Yankees should learn whether their biggest addition from the winter of 2022-23 will be a viable starter or the next Yahoo Serious. 

Soon, Carlos Rodon - sidelined with a tender forearm - will throw a bullpen session that could decide whether the Yanks enter 2023 with a capable rotation - or sirens blaring. 

If Rodon feels pain, the projections could be bottomless. His immediate fate can range from missing a few starts - and, hell, every pitcher does at some point - to needing surgery, which might cost him the season. The latter would bring devastation to the Yankees. They would have lost two of their planned five-man rotation, with no guarantees about the others. We would almost have to wonder if the franchise should start viewing 2023 as a rebuilding year.

I hate to be banging on garbage cans here. The world is crazy enough without alarmist bloggers ranting about asteroids, floods and Frankie Montas. Also, no team is immune to injuries. Look at the Mets and Edwin Diaz. The Yankees have much going for them: LeMahieu, Judge, Rizzo and Stanton might be the best top-of-the-order foursome in baseball. But to lose Rodon for an extended period - yikes. He was the one addition from last winter that seemed to elevate the Yankees from their also-ran status of last October. And for now, we don't know... 

If Rodon is hurt, or his return is delayed, the options look thin. The Yankees have struggled in just building trade packages for a left-fielder. To obtain a starting pitcher - that would cost far more. And Yank fans also know the implicit danger that lies ahead: 

Over the years, finding starters has been Brian Cashman's great white whale. From Javier Vasquez to Sonny Gray, he has repeatedly failed in trades and signings. (We love Gerrit Cole, but his best years have still happened in Houston.) Look at the chart on the right. Aside from Cole, Yankee starters this spring have been pounded. We can console ourselves that these games mean nothing. But April is near. 

Keep the candles lit, everybody. If Rodon is hurt, this could be a long year.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Signs of...Hope? The Apocalypse? Somethin'?

This time of year, right around the Vernal Equinox, is when we baseball fans look for signs. Maybe signs of Mickey Vernon (almost traded for Joe DiMaggio, by an owner even madder than a Steinbrenner.).

But I digress.

A couple of signs have popped up of late, and frankly, even the pigeon-entrail assessors I summoned from the Pantheon have been stumped.

Good? Bad? Indifferent, in the meaningless world of foreplay, constant contention without consummation, that HAL Steinbrenner and his family of skinflints have created??? You tell me.

First, of course, the Reggie Bar is back—and New Hyde Park has got it, as Newsday proudly proclaimed.


I was in the stands the day the Reggie Bar was first distributed, free, at the Yanks' home opener in 1978. Like everyone else there, I thrilled as Reggie homered off Wilbur Wood—technically, his fourth homer on four pitches in games that counted, going back to the last game of the 1977 World Series. 

It set off a sight such as I have never seen at a ballgame, before or since, a flurry of the square, orange-wrappered bars that poured spontaneously from the stands like a tribute at a bullfight, or some such more ancient, primal spectacle. Even Reggie, the original hambone, was startled and a little unnerved by it.

(Being too far from the field for even my longest toss to make it, I simply ate mine. Not bad! And no, when you unwrapped it, it didn't tell you how good it was.)

The home run proved to be all the Yankees needed, en route to a 4-2 victory. It proved to be the first of Ron Guidry's awesome, 25-win season. It proved to be the first step on the road to the 1978 World Championship, with the manager of the OTHER team on the field that day, Bob Lemon, in the Yankees' dugout at the kill.

Is it a foreshadowing? And how could it be anything BUT a good sign? 

Perhaps it doesn't meet Yankee Stadium III's heady nutritional standards. Are there sufficient rat turds in Reggie Bar II? I'm sure HAL's health inspectors will be giving it the once over.

But that's not all!

She's baaaaaack!


Yes, IBS Lady has reappeared! 

Mrs. Calabash noticed that the fabulous Ilana Becker, who deserves a lifetime Oscar—or something—for her dazzling role in an IBS drug commercial, popped up in a small role recently on the network show, Ghosts.

Forget I said that. There are no small roles, only small actors. And the latter certainly doesn't apply to our gal. YOU try playing an irritated colon for laughs!

But all Ms. Becker needed was a whig, a hospital sheet she quickly turned into a cape, and AT-TI-TUDE!

But what does this all mean?

A return to those halcyon days when Ilana was first cutting up in doctors' offices, and your New York Yankees were surging up the standings once again?

Or...does her reappearance serve as a metaphor for what will happen, once again, to our team? Waylaid once again by a debilitating intestinal blockage just when things were looking good?


You be the judge. Or Judge will be the judge. But two signs from the juju gods is two signs too many.

SOMETHIN's happening out there!

 

Beating A Dead Horse

I have to apologize in advance… It seems like pretty much all of you are totally good with the pitch clock but I wonder if SOME of that meh feeling we collectively share is related to the game speeding up. That we are not connecting with it like we used to. 

The pace is off. 

I freely admit that it is too soon do accurately judge.

I understand that it is still Spring Training and there is no compelling reason to be that engaged with the games.

Aside from a few at bats, such as watching Volpe or the Martian or, on the flip side, Hicks and Donaldson there’s not much going on that is worth our attention.

I’ve now watched 8-10 games.

The clock definitely makes the games easier to watch and is an improvement.

It didn't screw up John and Suzyn as badly as I thought.

The games move. I get it.

It's a net positive but...

It just doesn't feel like the same game. I keep saying it feels like basketball.

For the record, I like basketball. My Dad was a HS basketball coach in the Bronx for twenty years.

I dream basketball.

That said, there is more tension in one at bat then there is in an entire game with the exception of the last two minutes of a close one.

That tension is gone. There’s not enough time for it to set in.

I’ve been told I’ll adjust and perhaps I will. That my mind will start to recognize the importance of the pitch without the time to consider it, and G-d knows, nobody likes or wants 5-7 minute at bats. 

I hope so.

Maybe I’m old. Check that. I know I’m old.

Maybe it had to be done for the sake of the game.

But, right now I still feel like I’m watching something go past me. 

Baseball needs a clock. Fine, I get it. Would it kill them to add few seconds to it? 

How about twenty seconds with no on and twenty-five with a man on base.  It would slow the pace down just enough to make it less like watching a guy hit balls at a batting cage and more like… baseball.

Is it a "drought" or a drought? And did the Yankees yesterday show their Opening Day hand?

"A fully operational death star." That's how Brian Cashman foresaw the 2019 Yankees, as the springy sprigs of spring sprang forth. That year, they won the AL East, swept the mighty Twins, and then fell to Houston - cheating, garbage can-clapping Houston. I speet on them. Pttuui. 

Ever since, Cashman has avoided playful Star Wars imagery. He also stays away from "toxic" social media - (such as us, I suppose) - and prefers the company of friendly Gammonites, who, as the NY Post does today, when describing the last 13 ringless years, puts the words "drought" in quotation marks. 

Now, I don't want to nitpick. But I don't think the last 13 years - without winning a world series - constitutes a "drought." I think it's a drought. A fucking drought, actually. 

We are in the third longest championship drought in Yankee history, and - frankly - there is no end in sight. The Yankees "droughted" from 1979-t0-1995 (17 years) and 1963-to-1976 (14 years) - stretches of torture that are remembered for the likes of earnest Horace Clarke and malevolent Mel Hall. 

Yank fans love to tout our 27 championships, which make us America's most successful pro sports franchise. But remove the eras of Ruth-Gehrig-DiMaggio - which hardly anybody is alive to remember - and the Yankees, since 1962, have seven world championships. It's the most in baseball - hooray - but not so  overwhelming. The Cardinals and Dodgers each have five, Oakland and Boston, four. I mercifully won't live long enough to see the Yankees displaced, but my kids probably will. 

Listen: This isn't a "drought." It's a muthafuckin' drought. 

And from here, 2023 doesn't look like a drought-breaker.

Check out yesterday's lineup. I cannot shake the feeling that we just got a glimpse of Opening Day. 

LeMahiue. 
Judge. Rizzo. Stanton. Donaldson. 
Cabrera. Hicks. Peraza. The catcher (whoever.) Cole on the mound. 

Missing were Higashioka and Trevino (WBC and IL), Gleyber (WBC), the gaggle of non-roster left-fielders, a CF (seriously, Hicks?) and Anthony Volpe (destined for Scranton?)

After Stanton, the cleanup hitter, this lineup drops off a cliff - unless you believe Josh Donaldson can turn back the clock to 2019. There are no signs of such a rejuvenation, aside from assurances by Donaldson. 

Also, I know it's bad form to look at spring training records. It's stupid, it's meaningless, it's ridiculous, and the Yankees have lost five straight. Old George would throw a fit. We won't, and I suppose we shouldn't.

But here's the reality: We are in a drought. We are a team looking to make the playoffs and then get lucky. Like all the others. We don't look like the glamor team of baseball. And those 27 world championships? Most of them look pretty tarnished. 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

A Glimmer of Light among the chaos.


 In a key contest yesterday,  between Venezuela and Yemen, a Houston Astro was hit in the thumb by a well directed fastball. 

It fractured the proximal phalanx and caused a deep contusion on the MCP joint. Surgery will commence once the swelling diminishes. 

Personally I recommend a surgeon from one of those drive-up windows in Florida, where you might find a Dr Toothy ( for root canal work ) or a " martini to go."  But I digress.

The " victim" ( as they are calling him in Texas), was no other than Jose Altuve. A person of questionable reputation when it comes to baseball ethics. 

And while we never wish ill on any human being, I felt it necessary to report the incident. 

Have a nice day. 

Martini anyone?

Uh-oh. Kahnle?

 


Another lousy day in Paradise, as the giant humongous of seaweed drifts ever closer

One of these days, that big floating Gargantua of seaweed - larger than New Jersey and twice as garlicky - will reach the gold-gated beachfronts of Florida, signifying the end of spring training, as we know it.

It will march ashore on the tide of a major Yankee trade - or at least a mini-deal assigned massive relevance by the YES echo chambers. Forgive my Chicken Little impersonation, but I believe an earthquake is imminent. By this time next week, the Yankees will have made decisions that shall affect not just the '23 season, but their long term health and welfare. 

The issues at hand:

1. The Florial Arrangement. Estevan Florial, that is. He'll either claim the fifth OF spot or disappear like the Babadookian ghosts of Bubba, Yangervis and Zolio. Right now, the Yankees are playing him every day. This spring, he's third the number of At-Bats. He's not exactly killing it: .182. Does he stay or does he go? And if the latter, what will they get in return? Probably some 18-year-old dirt leaguer who will be filed into the farm system like the Arc at the end of that first Indiana Jones movie. 

2. The Volpe Conundrum. SS Anthony Volpe has 37 ABs this spring, most on the Yankees - while his competition, Oswald Peraza (25 ABs) watches, along with a breathless coven of Gammonites. Yesterday, the NY Post reported on how Volpe's long, pesky lead off first-base rattled a Blue Jays pitcher into surrendering a double to Aaron Judge. Every sentence secretly screamed "JETER-JETER-JETER." Volpe has captured the fantasies of the Yankiverse. But is that a good thing? He's 21. And, realistically, how does he fit into this team? If they start him at SS, it demands a trade: IKF, Gleyber, Oswald, Oswaldo, Donaldson the Untradeable, (who is batting .200)... somebody. And if they send him to Scranton, the sighs of resignation will be louder than even Donaldson's boos. 

3. The Left Field Cryptid. Yesterday, Willie Calhoun caught a long fly and made a sharp throw, signs that his legendary glove of granite might have softened, and that perhaps he is a viable LF. Calhoun also doubled; he's hitting .367 in 30 ABs, fourth highest on the team. (The team leaders in ABs, in order: Volpe, Oswaldo Cabrera, Florial, Calhoun and Hicks the Untradeable.) Also yesterday, Rafael Ortega - playing CF - went 0-3. If Calhoun or Ortega makes the team, it likely means trading somebody.  I can't imagine what they'd get for Hicks, but it would fit in my shirt pocket.

4. The Spot Starter Mystery. As always, it's up for grabs. Like every team, the Yankees need pitching, pitching, pitching, and excuse me if Matt Krook doesn't look like the next Ramiro Mendoza,  the gold standard for emergency starters. After Gerrit Cole, here are the ERAs of our current rotation - (and we warn viewers that the following report contains incidences of violence): Nasty Nestor (13.50), Domingo G (8.71), Setback Sevy (10.64) and Clarke Schmidt (4.63.) It's too soon to run for the hills. But outings like this would kill the bullpen by May 15.

So, the continent of brooding seaweed drifts ever closer. Some scientists claim it was always there, that the planet is simply adjusting. We didn't notice it until last week. Soon, it will arrive. The landscape is about to change, just in time for Opening Day.