Sunday, December 17, 2017

December 17, 2017, a date that will live in 'famy...

Ladies and gentlemen, readers and commenters, tribal elders and those unfortunates who wrongfully clicked here in a search for validation...

Yesterday, December 17, 2017... a date that will live in 'famy... the Yankiverse was suddenly and brutally comforted by the forces of hope.

In the span of mere minutes, without provocation or warning, the Yankees signed CC Sabathia, John Sterling - "The Master" - and Suzyn Waldman to one-year contracts. 

We are still recovering from this unplanned bolt of good tidings.

With confidence in our lineup, with the unbounding determination of our fan base, we shall gain the inevitable triumph in 2017... so help us Hal.

I hereby ask that the Yankiverse declare Sunday, December 17th, 2017 "Harboring Pearls Day," in our march toward the next championship of the world.

Seven words or phrases hereby banned from IT IS HIGH in 2017

1. "Binders."

2. "Japanese Babe Ruth"

3. "Golden State Warriors of Baseball."

4. "Savings in luxury tax."

5. "Javier Vazquez."

6. "Joe."

7. "Bluoroogah!"

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Master and his Lady will return

Done deal. One year at $10 million

CC? Si, Si!

He's back!

Still gets to sleep in his New Jersey mansion.

Prediction; The Big Dog Will Stay

Merry Xmas !

Some peace and love for this holiday season

One of the dark sides of rooting obsessively for any team is that when bad things happen to opposing players - think: Ohtani's recently announced elbow issues - you instinctively smile, because it hurts a rival. It's pure "us-vs-them" tribalism - like the current state of U.S. politics - and if Giancarlo Stanton tweaks a gonad on April 1, we all know the Redsock Nation won't even try to stifle its giggles. 

But I'm not sure we're any better. Therefore, today - at least - how about a few holiday thoughts of peace on earth and good will toward man...

1. Now and then, Yankee fans - #metoodammit - must step back, drink a shot of Vitalis, and give Jacoby Ellsbury the benefit of the doubt. Yes, be nice to the albatross. Remember: Ellsbury's contract is not his fault. He's not overpaying himself. And if he won't waive a trade - that is, if he doesn't want to play for anybody else, outfield logjam or not - well, at least the guy has taste. The Chief's 2017 season went south after he crashed into the CF wall chasing a fly ball. Before the concussion, he was actually playing pretty well (replacing the injury prone Aaron Hicks.) 

We can all lament that the Yankees are showering $22 million a year on a fifth outfielder, but Ellsbury is only doing what any player would have done: He's feeding his family. Moreover, I can of many scenarios whereby he could play a critical role this season. We obsess over the money paid to players, yet never get a glimpse of the owners' bank account. It's possible that Ellsbury will be a Yankee for three more years, maybe finish his career in pinstripes. How about an IIHIIFIIc pact: No more hating on Ellsbury, unless he does something to warrant it. (And wanting to stay a Yankee for life doesn't qualify.)

2. Frank Larry, the Yankee Killer, is supposedly dead. I don't believe it. Nothing can kill the Yankee Killer. When I was kid, growing up on Yogi Bear and Mickey Mouse - (guess who they translated into?) - no pitcher struck more fear in my heart than Larry. The 1961 Yankees - perhaps history's greatest team - were locked in a balls-busting pennant race with the Tigers - an awesome lineup with Norm Cash, Rocky Colavito and the incredible Al Kaline in RF. Frank Larry wasn't even their ace: That was Jim Bunning. But again and again, the Yankee Killer killed us. It was Larry who we feared. 

Over the years, many pitchers have had our number - I'm thinking Teddy Higuera, Roy Halladay (R.I.P.), John Lackey, King Felix, to list a few (help me here, who am I missing?) - but most were great pitchers all around: They killed everybody. Also, the Yankees weren't always a team that needed to be killed, unless it was a mercy-killing. Frank Larry killed us when nobody could kill us. Make no mistake: He shall always be "The Yankee Killer." I bow in the direction of Detroit. 

Rest in peace, sir. I shall fear your name until my last breath. The Yankee Killer cannot die.

3. Dustin Fowler is suing the Chicago White Sox for their craven indifference to the welfare of visiting players, by leaving a metal electrical box exposed along the right field line. I hope he has Celino and Barnes - the injury attorneys! dial eight-eight-eight-eight, eight-eight-eight! - and takes that hateful Hawk Harrelson-hiccup of a franchise to a payout worthy of the Deepwater Horizon. That night last year when Fowler, making his MLB, tore up his knee on that box - the most heartbreaking moment of the Yankees' 2017; it brought Joe Girardi to tears - makes me shudder even now. 

Fowler's lawsuit maintains that he suffered "permanent" damage, because the White Sox couldn't be bothered to put padding where anybody could see it was needed. And the worst part is, if you think about it, home team outfielders would be schooled on this. They'd know the danger. Most vulnerable would be a rookie, a kid trying desperately to make a first impression, who would be sure that no major league team could be so negligent. I mean, that would be the stuff of the Dominican Summer League.  

I will always root for Fowler, even when he plays against us. But I shall root hardest for him in suing the White Sox. Merry Christmas, Hawk. Suck on this.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Get into the spirit with The Master and The King

In The Spirit Of The Season......

Those participants and aspirants of IIHIIFII...C, and of North America in general, want to wish all of our congregants a very Merry Xmas and Happy Holiday Season.

Our tradition is to drink shots, and select countries, counties, states and language preferences for passing along our greetings.

I drew the following :

North Holland,
South Holland,
The Netherlands,
The Hague,
The Dutch Antilles,
Brooklyn (Breukelen....when it was part of the New Amsterdam baseball franchise).

In honor of these locations, I send the following viral greeting cards:

Let's all raise a glass to a spirited 2018 !

Our Xmas wishes;  Anjuhar at third and Glyber Torres at second.

Big loser in the Rule 5 draft, the people who rank Yankee prospects

In yesterday's Rule 5 draft - MLB's annual panty raid of the Yankee system - the Empire lost four prospects. It's the 2nd straight year we've been the game's most picked-over carcass. (Of course, teams must keep each draftee on their 25-man roster all season - always a long shot - so we'll probably get most of them back.) We could debate the magnitude of these losses, but who the hell knows? To me, what's notable here is that, until yesterday, the kidnapped foursome - pitchers Anyelo Gomez, Jose Mesa Jr. and Nestor Cortez and 1B Mike Ford - were mere blips in the avalanche of prospect "rankings" that arrive every winter.

Events over the last month should remind us of the folly in these lists. In November, the Yanks added to their 40-man roster pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga, prompting a blogger chorus to say, "Um... who?" For three years, Loaisiga has traveled under the radar, until Darth Cashman protected him over more touted no-names.

Last week, the former chief architect of the Yankee farm system, the Marlins' Gary Denbo, snapped up little-known Jose Devers in what the NY media would have us think is "The Great Giancarlo Stanton Steal." This too prompted instant sighs of relief: "Whew, at least we didn't lose any big name prospects!" But let's not kid ourselves: Denbo knew what he was doing. He didn't get Glyber Torres, but he might have just nabbed the next Glyber Torres.

Yesterday, the first Yankee plucked was Gomez, a 24-year-old pitcher who soared through the farm system last year - four levels in three months - while somehow escaping press. We know less about Gomez than we do of that interstellar asteroid, which is generating buzz because it's shaped like a turd. On John Sickels' recent white paper dossier on the Yankee farm system, Gomez was rated a "C+," lumped in with a dozen others who were, for the most part, more known to fans. Also on the list was Mesa - a hard name to miss because of his dad - and Ford, who always created newsprint because he's from Princeton. (Sickels didn't give Ford a rating but listed him as a "player of note.") Of the four draftees, Cortez was the most prominently blogged; Sickels put him at C+/B- (and he called him "the most interesting C+ in the system," saying he could be the next Jordan Montgomery.) Ow. 

All this points to a few things the bloggers got right: Talent-wise, the Yankees have one of the game's deepest systems. Also, I don't mean to rank on the rankers. Franchises often bury prospects rather than subject them to media blather. The lists are parlor games, and that's okay. In our hearts, we know that most will never make The Show. It's just fun to dream. Still, when dealing with trades, I offer three rules:

1. Never declare victory until at least four years have passed. (For the record; Michael Pineda signed yesterday with Minnesota, and Jesus Montero is now playing in the Mexican League - wait, should we sign Jesus? I SAY, YES! WHAT A BACKSTORY!) I still fear that last year's trade for Sonny Gray will be condemned by future Yankee generations. 

2. Always assume the other team got more than what the Yankees claim was lost. Our franchise's kryptonite has always been hubris, and the NY media loves to claim we gave up next to nothing. (Gammonites have a vested interest in Cashman returning their calls.) Today, the Stanton deal does look great. In five years, if Stanton is a $33 million millstone and Jose Devers is a star... well, print this out and save.

3. Always remember: There is no long game in trading youth. Anybody old enough to remember the 1980s knows this. Today, it looks like the Yankees are about to deal Clint Frazier - basically because Jacoby Ellsbury is an anvil in the pile of feathers - for another of Cashman's power arms. Every few years, he bundles prospects for a Next Sure Thing: Javier Lopez, Jeff Weaver, Humberto Sanchez, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, Sonny Gray - only to find they're a month past the sell date. Now, it looks like Geritt Cole. Yeah, I realize Frazier is blocked in the outfield. Still... insert sigh here.

All I know is that when it happens, no one should be surprised if the media looks at prospect rankings and shouts, "Wow, the Yankees gave up nothing, nothing!" And what the hell is that turd-shaped rock floating in space? My guess: It's one of the moon shots that was hit off Weaver.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Does CC want to stay in... New Jersey?

Deep thinker Joel "The Bowl" Sherman thinks the Yanks are in touch with Mr. Sabathia and hope he cools it for a bit and doesn't sign with anyone else until they sort out the starter situation first. Why? He's got a nice house.

The Yanks respect Sabathia so much that they probably have given him a window into their thinking — that they would like to get the other starter first so they know where they stand in terms of the threshold before making a firm offer to the veteran lefty. Will Sabathia wait around for that? The Yankees sense he would prefer to continue to play near his New Jersey home and that he loves playing for the team, but recognizes there are no sure things.

Nice crib, Carsten!

C.C.'s actual home in Alpine, NJ

Stroke Of Sanity?

The Baltimore Orioles are locking the gate that would allow Machado to pass through to the Bronx.

They are now working on forbidding any team to re-gift Barry M to the Yankees, should another team do a deal with Baltimore.

How you ask?  How?

This is a political question I am not authorized to address.

Please contact Mustang for the answer.

Perennial champion Syracuse already off to a lead in prestigious Golden Snowball race

Every year, upstate New York's five most winter-battered cities compete for the Golden Snowball, awarded to the place buried under the most snow. 

Almost every year, Syracuse wins.

It's early - comparable to that period early Tuesday night when Roy Moore was leading Doug Jones - but here are the standings...

Buffalo may get the NFL notoriety. But we shovel the slush. 

The Houston Astro-sization of MLB... and why Yankee fans should fear Manny Machado

Okay, let's say you're Derek Jeter. You spent your career captaining the Yankees and bedding supermodels. Suddenly, you own an MLB franchise. But there's a catch. Your team flat-out sucks, and you have no mad money to buy players. So... whaddaya do?

Simple. You take a page from the Astros, Royals, Nats, Cubs, Redsocks and every other current superpower in the game: You frikkin' tank. Become as bad as you can be - screw the fans; they're not going anywhere - and follow the tried-and-true template to success: Suck, suck, suck. Soon, maybe in three years, you'll be hailed as a genius, a builder of organizations!

Unfortunately, you have competition. Opening Day is three months off, yet already we see franchises seeking to Astro-ize and pull the plug on 2018. The race to the bottom - the Tournament of Tanking - is underway. 

(And unless the Yankees watch out, we could end up choking on our own hubris.)

Tanking is the wisest strategy in pro sports. Trade expensive old stars for cheap young prospects. Finish dead last, and you not only draft first, but you load up on luxury tax money from the big spenders - all fellow billionaires, like yourself-  and when you do make your move, you'll receive no penalties for signing free agents. Wait for the right year, and win the division - don't worry, by then, your competitors will be tanking - and then you can demand that your home city buy you a new stadium, or at least a Jumbotron. 

Once upon a time, "salary dumps" were a July 31 trade deadline tradition, as teams decide to poop or get off the pooper. Now, it's part of the winter meetings. Look around... 

Baltimore has put Manny Machado up for bids, essentially punting on 2018. They figure Machado won't re-sign with them next season, so they might as well start sucking immediately and get a head start on the Rays and Jays, their rivals for the AL East cellar. Write this down: If the O's find a taker for Machado, Zach Britton and Adam Jones will go next. That means it comes down to...

The White Sox - now entering Year III of their own surgical tank. They might get Machado and then spin him off to the Yankees for another fresh boatload of prospects, which they know well, having spent last summer scrutinizing our farm system. Of course, Machado can't pitch - the Yankees will still have to trade what remaining prospects we have for pitching - but having self-tanked in mid-2016 - we will soon look as desperate as heroin addicts, seeking all-stars at every position. How many homer hitters do we need?

Pittsburgh is ready to trade Geritt Cole to us - for yet more youngsters - and then move Andrew McCutchen for whatever they can get, as long as the returns were born after 1995. Keep in mind, the Pirates finished at .500 last year, and they weren't that old, either. Doesn't matter. They're ready to surrender on 2018. They've got to get worse, or they might be suck at .500 forever.

Of course, we've already mentioned Miami. Good grief, with the contracts they're shedding, Jeet and company are odd-on-favorite for the 2019 number one draft pick. Go Marlins! (Also go to Vegas and bet the house on the 2024 team!) 

Wait. Let's not forget San Diego. Last year, they kept Rule 5 draft players all season, even though they belonged in Single A. This is Year III of the Padres Tank-a-Thon. Of course, considering that their NFL team moved to LA, it's not as if they have to worry about angering their fan base. They are literally the only game in town.

Now, Tampa and Toronto - sensing a NY-Boston axis of power - are said to be considering their own tanker trades. Do the Jays really need Josh Donaldson? He could bring a bundle for 2020. And they need to be careful: The Jays might get sucked into the race for that phony one-game, away-field wild card - the last dangling shiny object for middling teams to chase.

The Tigers? They've quit. San Francisco? On the verge. Front offices are already being seduced by the notion of going yard sale on 2018... which could mean becoming the next Houston "miracle." 

Listen: Something is seriously out of whack here. This coal mine is littered with dead canaries, and I blame MLB's iron-clad policies of copying the NFL in search of "parity." The rules were originally designed by Bud Selig to destroy the Yankees, as the franchise then existed under George Steinbrenner. The plan was to help small markets - like Selig's family operation in Milwaukee - by creating a de facto payroll cap, called the luxury tax. They set limits on what players could receive by capping what the owners could spend - a brilliant move with one problem. It resulted in a system that not only rewards failure, but practically demands it, as a way to move forward. 

The surest and cheapest way to build a winning team is by falling into the crapper. That's how the 2013 miracle of "Boston Strong" came about - the previous year, the Redsocks finished fifth. The 2016 "Curse of the Billy Goat"-busting Cubs? Five years in a row, they finished fifth. The 2015 Royals? Seven of 10  previous seasons, they finished fifth. We're talking orchestrated meltdowns, folks: Whatever you do, just don't languish at .500. Be awful, be terrible, come in dead last, wait your turn, and eventually, your team will win, and you'll cash in.

Long ago, this constant race to last place nearly destroyed the NBA. The owners had to institute a draft lottery to keep front offices from sabotaging their teams in pursuit of bottom-feeding mediocrity. Even now in the NFL, as a NY Giants fan, I find myself, week after week, rooting for my team to lose. From the standpoint of a fan, there is nothing to be gained from a Giants' victory, and it's been that way since week seven. It's a sad way to be, actually rooting the Dallas Cowboys to beat you at home. It makes me sick. I might actually stop following pro football, a pastime I've followed since Y.A. Tittle was throwing bombs to Del Shofner. 

Listen: What made 2017 so great for Yankee fans was being able to watch the slow and steady emergence of Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Luis Severino, Didi Gregorius, Jordan Montgomery and maybe I'd throw in Aaron Hicks and Chad Green. It's the back stories, the expanding personalities and - yes, sometimes the failures - that make the game so compelling to follow. I don't want an all-star team full of imported veterans. I want players who overachieve and surprise us - not a lineup with nowhere to go but down. I want to celebrate wins, not just feel angry and duped when we lose. 

Lately, I've had a hard time explaining this here... a sense that landing Giancarlo Stanton has cost the Yankees something that was joyous and wonderful. Don't get me wrong: I look forward to seeing Stanton in pinstripes. I am not one of those self-loathing Yankee fans who secretly revels in defeat. But we all know this is the Second Coming of A-Rod - hubris always kills us in the end - and if we empty our farm system, if we suddenly install stars at every position and trade all the Clint Fraziers and Chance Adamses... even if we get good deals, we will lose the joy of leaping out of our chairs over the pinch-hit bunt single from Ronald Torreyes.

Maybe it's just me. But I don't recall ever seeing so many teams preparing to punt on the following season... and it's only December. The Astro-ization of baseball is here. Mark my words: This is trouble.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Borat: "Jacoby is excited!"

According to his agent, Scott Boras, “Right now [Ellsbury’s] pretty excited. Talked to him yesterday. He feels he’s going to be a major part of what they’re doing,” Boras said. “I think there’s going to be a competition in New York. They have a lot of diamonds in their jewelry store, no question about it. It’s going to be a very healthy environment and Jacoby has done a lot of big things in a lot of big situations in a lot of big cities, so competition does not in any way do anything but exhilarate him.”

Well of course he's excited. He's got a no-trade clause and unless the Yanks REALLY wanna make it worth his while, he'll have great seats to watch the Bombers play this year.

Who wouldn't be excited?

Inconspicuous Cashman... the poem by HoraceClarke66

Blogger HoraceClarke66 said...

Inconspicuous, Cashman was
Quick and quiet and clean, he was
Back of his smile, under his word
Cashie heard music that nobody heard

Cashman pondered and Cashman planned
Like a perfect machine, he planned
Cashie was smooth, Cashie was subtle
Cashie would blink, and rats would scuttle

He served a dark and a vengeful god
What happened then, well, that's the play
And he wouldn't want us to give it away...

Will the Yankees keep the wrong Frazier?

Everyone knows the Yankees last week pulled off an incredible bank heist in swiping Gioncarlo Stanton from Derek Jeter, with or without the gift basket. Unfortunately, now comes the hard part:

Laundering the money.

Yesterday, they cleaned $13 million by dispatching Chase Headley back to San Diego. Sadly, to do this, they had to add a serviceable young arm, Bryan Mitchell, to the bundle. Now... with Headley and Starlin Castro disappeared, Cooperstown Cashman has effectively washed $22 million from next year's payroll. The Mafia would be envious. But the big purge - Jacoby Ellsbury's $22 million per season - is yet to come. And there is no Maytag large enough to handle it.

Today's grapevine of the Gammonites - via George King of the NY Post - suggests that, for the Yankees to jettison Jacoby, we might have to add Clint Frazier to the pot. 

You know what I think of that? Blaughhhh. I just puked on my keyboard. To vanish the Chief - a solid center fielder who could easily be the MLB Comeback Player of 2018 - we'd have to include a rising slugger like Frazier? Pardon me. Blauuugh. Frazier remains one of the Yankees' most intriguing young players - a larger than life personality, a potential star - and we're supposed to turn him into the spoonful of sugar so another team can swallow Ellsbury? No fukking way... No, no, no... blauggh!

I get it that baseball has become the upside-down, and that bad contracts now overwhelm even great players. And with Stanton aboard, the Yankees now possess perhaps the two worst contracts in Major League Baseball, if not all of professional sports. That's okay; we're a big, wallowing Death Star. We can handle boondoggles - as long as we don't do something incredibly stupid... which brings me to another gem currently circulating on George King's terror wire: 

That Cashman is considering signing Todd Frazier.

Yep, the young Frazier would go, and the old one would return. Seriously, can you feel the hope draining from your system? Sure, the Toddfather is a sweetheart, and he loved being a Yankee, and he wants to play close to his Jersey home - but he hit .212 - Chris Carter territory, and when the music stops on his deal, mark these words: We will be adding a decent prospect just to coax some other team to take him off our sweaty little hands.

Expensive veterans are baseball's version of the outmoded Hewitt Packard desktop: To get rid of it, you must pay a recycling fee.

Worse, Cashman is supposedly looking for a veteran 2B to "anchor" the infield. That's "anchor" - as in "immovable." Will the Yankees suddenly ditch a youth movement that brought us Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino and Greg Bird, and return to the ways of 2010-2016... the good ole days of Pronk and Soriano? If we sign the Toddfather, that means Miguel Andujar rots in Scranton, until - of course - he becomes the sweetener to deal another bad contract. And will we sign some ghost of Stephen Drew to handle second-base? Will we turn to stopgap veterans, as we did last spring with Carter. Wow. Can you feel the excitement draining? Let's bring Brian Roberts out of retirement!

Yeah, I recognize that Andujar and Glyber Torres - the seeming heir apparent at second base - are no sure things. Neither was Aaron Judge last spring. In fact, on the final weekend of March, the Yankees were debating whether to send him back to Scranton for more seasoning. (Imagine this, for a moment: Disillusioned and depressed, Judge might have slumped in Triple A, and who knows where we would be now?) Part of what made the Stanton heist so exciting was the notion that the 2018 Yankees would be a mix of established and rising stars - the returning sluggers plus the youth of Glyber, Clint, Andujar, Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield. Now, suddenly, we're actually thinking of trading Clint Frazier merely to launder Ellsbury's contract? Wow. Now there's a grim foreshadowing of the day when Stanton starts to degrade, and we're still on the dime for $100 million.

I've said this before, and I realize it's not a popular sentiment: If the Yankees must eat Ellsbury's contract, then grab the fukkin fork and start chewing. And if we're not willing to do that, then Cashman has to do something equally odious: Grit his teeth, keep the Chief, and trade Brett Gardner instead. We must not trade prospects. The rebuild isn't over. This isn't about 2018. It's about the next 10 years. We are not the Houston Astros, looking at a one-and-done. Let's keep the right Frazier.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Current Yankee Outfield Depth Chart (may be subject to change)

Nine outfielders? No way.

WTF ???

This is a recent "selfie" of the Yankee outfield situation, including some top, young talent at AAA.

So now we add a 28 year old outfielder who has done nothing?

I understand the salary dump.  I understand sending Chase back home ( although he was a pretty dang good back-up at FB ).  I understand sending Mitchell out, because he just couldn't quite get it done here.  He may be great in a league with at least one automatic out in every line-up.

But we took a guy who is not really anything ( not even young ), and who still be our 16th outfielder on the depth chart.  I mean, why not just do the dump and take no one?  Do you really think the Tigers are losing to give us some great relief pitchers so they can finally get this old bantam hen?

This makes no sense.

I do agree with Duque's observation ( i.e..  prayer and hope ) that he won't be here long.  But I suspect he won't be on another major league team, either.

We are now getting to the part of the winter meeting "wheelings and dealings" where a lot of moves won't make sense, unless they are followed by a lot of other moves.

This is an egg we don't need.

Headley heading home!

Head Casely and Bryan "with a Y" Mitchell to San Diego for someone seemingly created for a John Sterling home run call... .. 28-year-old Jabari Blash..

It's a blash... by Blash!
O, Jabari! How far did it carry!

Details still coming. But if this is it, it would free up $13 million in payroll, which the Yankees can use to re-sign CC Sabathia or go fishing in deeper waters. 

They would now have $27 million in mad money to shore up the rotation, bullpen and catching. They also get to protect at least one more prospect in the Rule 5 draft. (I wouldn't be surprised if Blash goes out the door soon.) 

The Tampa Tampons?

Way too close for comfort.

The Yankees have about $14 million to spend between now and next September

Everyone knew the downside to Giancarlo: Six outfielders for five slots, and the one you want to deal is as movable as the Washington Monument. Assuming he okays a trade - he hasn't yet - the Yanks would have to pay down most of Jacoby Ellsbury's $22 million per year contract and deal him for one of J-Lo's cabana boys. And if nobody takes Ellsbury - if he is forever tethered to the Yankees like Roy Moore is to sock hops - somebody else must go, and, gulp, that somebody would probably be Brett Gardner.

I hate this. We all do. Gardy is a home-grown Yank, a fine lead-off hitter, a great fielder and a fucking lug nut. Why would we trade him? Because Giancarlo is going to play LF, that's why. Gardy will make $13 million this season, the final year of his Yankee contract. Then he'll be gone, folks. Cashman won't be giving him a two- or three-year deal, which is what - at 34 - he'll seek. He almost surely will not be a lifelong Yankee, but he could return at the end like Murcer.

In the past, Cashman has badmouthed trade talks about Gardner, saying the Yankees value him far more than other teams have offered. If they salary-dump him, it won't get better. They might receive prospects along the lines of Brian McCann, which would be fine, as long as they don't face Gardy in the post-season, like they did McCann.

But as they now carry the weight of Stanton's contract, the Yankees desperately need cheap young stars to fill in the cracks. That's Glyber Torres at 2B, Miguel Andujar at 3B (forget trading Headley and his $13 million) and Chance Adams in the rotation. (ALL WE ARE SAYING, IS GIVE CHANCE A PIECE! ALL WE SAYING, IS GIVE CHANCE A PIECE...) But that logjam remains in the outfield, with Aaron Hicks ($1.3 million), Clint Frazier, Jake Cave and Billy McKinney (all the $5 per hour minimum wage, plus tips.) Of this group, Frazier is by far the most tradeable - Oakland wants him - and the Yankees could swap him, a la' Jesus Montero, for a young arm. But it won't solve the Stantonian financial pinch: Between now and September, only $14 million to spend, or go over the luxury tax threshold.

Of course, this is no "luxury tax threshold." It's a de facto salary cap, a financial straight-jacket imposed by MLB and agreed-upon by Tony Clark, the Players Union stooge. The Yankees are longtime luxury tax offenders, but future penalties will become excessive. If the Yankees continue to go over the "threshold," they will not only pay 95 cents on the dollar in taxes, but lose draft picks and international slot spending money. And if they don't make it this year, once Stanton's full contract kicks in, they're goners. That great capitalistic, old money, white man monopoly called Major League Baseball is run by stone-cold Marxists. But that's how it is. 

So... unless we dump Ellsbury or trade Gardy, we have $14 million - stems and seeds - to spend over the rest of the season. That's why the California Angels are now talking to CC Sabathia; the $12 million he'll demand is suddenly outside of our checkbook. The Yankees don't want to find themselves at the Aug. 1 trade deadline in desperate need of - say - a catcher, without any money to spend. So - once again -here are the options. (Spoiler alert: they all suck.)

1. Trade Ellsbury plus - say - $10 million for a low-level, lottery ticket prospect. That would free up $12 million to sign a pitcher. 

2. Trade Clint Frazier (and probably another decent prospect) for a young and cheap pitcher. Thinking along the lines of a Pineda or an Eovaldi. 

3. Trade Gardner for a couple middling prospects. That would free up $13 million to sign a pitcher.

3. Do nothing. Send Frazier, Cave and McKinney back to Scranton - where they'll wait for injuries to happen - and give Chance a piece. ALL WE ARE SAYING... IS GIVE CHANCE A PIECE...

Monday, December 11, 2017

Redsock Nation's reaction to Yanks getting Stanton

This is Why They Pay the Master the Big Bucks...

You just know that John Sterling will come up with a good home run call for the Yankees' newest acquisition.  Me? I'm coming up empty.  Quite empty.

Jean Harlow's got nothin'
on Giancarlo!

Mike Stanton's like white satin!

GianCAR lo's nuts ARE low!

Stanton peels a plantain!   

Stanton's plantin' his foot in it!   

Giancarlo sends that ball on furlough!  

Stanton is our prized bantam!

Giancarlo hits one to Key Largo!

Giancarlo hits 'em by the car load!

Giancarlo clears Kilimanjaro!

Shoot me now?

Breaking: Stanton says "Keep the faith" to the three remaining Marlins "fans"

"I would say to hang in there. They're going to go through some more tough years. ... Maybe watch from afar if you're going to watch."

I Get It. Time To Get On Board

Pretty much all the world ( of Yankee fans ) is thrilled with the latest deal.  The acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton.

Time for me, also, to become positive.  Why not?  It is early.

So I have a few meaningless questions:

1.  Duque - are you happy with the deal because the two prospects we gave up are not highly regarded?

2.  Duque - are you happy with the deal because of who we did not have to give up to make the trade?

3.  LBJ - How does someone with the last name Stanton, get the first name Giancarlo?

4.  Dutch Urban Farmer -  Do they have golden geese in Holland?  Or the Netherlands?

5.  13 bit - If Hal represents the golden goose, which player, exactly, is represented by that egg?

6.  ALL CAPS - Is Stanton really just an expensive replacement for Halliday?

7.  Mustang - We should each are a shot of Grey Goose overtime the new guy goes deep.  Agree?

Have a happy holiday and merry yule.

Mr. Cashman, fix this....

It's Day III of our Mardi Gras pool party, and I'm still blissfully incapable of pondering the mountain of lettuce, dough, clams skamoots, keegers, graboooshki, GLAHBOINKA!... to be paid to Giancarlo Monte Carlo over the next 11 years, and its future impact on Hal Steinbrenner's sense of well being. When Aaron Judge outhits Stanton, won't he rightfully demand $35 million per season? And when Red Thunder does it... well... at what point would the House of Hal - like the Jeterian Marlinverse - start to implode and choke on its own hubris? 

Oh, fukkit... that's a question for future winter mornings. Here in Syracuse - the Scranton of New York! - the army of the dead is too cold to attack. For now, let's just keep the vodka luge frozen and simply tell Cooperstown Cashman to get on his phone and tell CC Sabathia there's no bottom to Hal's fanny pack, and that whatever the Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim want to pay, the Emp of Evil will offer a dollar more, plus coupons for Bed Bath and Beyonce.

This has become a month of surprises - Ohtani, Stanton and now - yeesh -Sabathia leaving? At Thanksgiving, it was a given that he'd return, and though he's old and factory-scratched, CC is a series regular with a great backstory, and this is no time to write him out of the plot. Moreover, to now plead poverty, after taking on perhaps the most onerous contract in the history of sport - (what were the Philistines paying Goliath, because he sure spat the bit) - will sound mighty lame. The Yankees just pulled off a bank heist, getting Stanton at a garage sale. But having hooked the giant marlin, now it's time to gently reel it in. 

I don't want the Yankees to sign Alex Cobb at some ridiculous price. It's time to give Chance Adams - 11-5, 2.89 last year at Scranton - a shot. And if he fails, then Justus Sheffield, and then Domingo Acevedo, and then Domingo German, et al. But in October, Sabathia made it clear he wanted to return to the Bronx. If the Yankees let him walk, shame, shame, shame... and you can almost feel the good vibes beginning to drain.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Marlins Have No Fans ...

Now they have less.

The three or four lost souls who occasionally venture down to Menudo Memorial Stadium in Little Havana to see the Marlins "play" are upset. Some accuse our sainted ex-captain of collusion, as if he remains loyal to the beloved Yankees despite his exciting new role of frontman for the Miami "team." Others contend those nasty Yankees once again are taking advantage of a weak team.

The truth is far simpler and less dramatic. Mike "Giancarlo" Stanton declined the privilege of going to St. Louis and San Francisco, and the Dodgers didn't want him. Where else is there to go? (The Flushing Nine was not even a consideration, of course.)

On the bright side, in addition to his prodigious swing and gaudy numbers, Stanton is injured often, so Clint Frazier may indeed get more paying time, either in the Bronx or possibly Atlanta. Or maybe Ellsbury, whom we seem to be stuck with, might rise to the occasion.

So fret not, you few Miami fans: it's all good, just not for you.

Giants 6-10 dream now is reduced to 5-11

The Jersey-based team hopes to jell - win its big last three games, finish low enough in the draft to miss out on a replacement for Eli, and keep the momentum going into 2018!

Why does NYC breed so many consistently awful pro sports teams? The Knicks are a disgrace, rotten from top to bottom. The Jets and Mets are almost there. If not for the Yankees - who seem to be pulling out of a recession - the city would have nothing - zero, zip, nada. Is there something in the water? Other cities - Boston, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, even Cleveland - enjoy regular sports resurgences. New York? Never. What gives?

NY Times Guy Is wrong On One major he must be a NYY toady

For those of you who do not venture into the woods, the above creature is a toad.  Kiss him and he remains a toad.

Here is what he said in today's NYT sports section:

1. " In taking Stanton, the Yankees are who we thought they were."  Yup.

2.  The Yankees have, " a persistent habit of buying the shiniest toy in the whole store." Yup.

3. The Yankees never go too long without asking their fans something like this,

 " What do you want?  You want the moon  Just say the word, and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down."  Nope.

The Yankees never give any consideration to what the fans want.  This NYT observation as to the underlying motivation of Yankee fans, sounds like a plant from Cashman.  It is wrong and so the author must be a Yankee toad.

 No fan would say this.

I believe the fans loved the re-building from within our own farm system movement.  It energized the team. It energized the fan base.  It placed the team in the underdog position, and it was satisfying to see success emerge.  We barely missed getting into the WS.  Barely.

The idea of fans insisting upon acquiring the biggest and best, most expensive marquee player available through trade or free agency is anathema to me. That approach represents decades of old, usually failed, strategy.  Remember Jay Buhner.  Remember Kevin Brown?

In 2017, we developed our own star and his name is Sanchez, Judge, Bird and Severino.  Maybe Anjuhar, Torres, Frazier, and Wade. Maybe Chance Adams and Jake Cave.

Fans would prefer to keep it this way.

We never ask for the Yankees to muddle up the works, and do something stupid.
Which, in my toady view, is exactly what they just did.

It was like they could not resist.  Like this is a heroin fix.  "The one time home run champion is available for just over a quarter of a billion dollars, so let's go get him."  No matter what price we pay.
Think of the seats this guy will fill in the Goldman Sachs section!

We shall rue this day.  Ribbit.

"Stanton Claus" is coming to town! Sing along with The Master and The Boss

My views

In the spirit of Xmas, I say this about the Giancarlo trade:  " Bah.  Humbug."

I think those of you praising this deal are all nuts.

Here are some of my weakest reasons:

1.  This contract is like re-signing A-Rod and then making a deal with the Red Sox for an aging-out Jacoby, because the Sox beat us to Moncado.  It spells the end of any thinking that the Yankees were going to "go young" and build from within.

2.  It confirms the end of Clint Frazier as a Yankee.  And mark my words, he will be the next Jay Buhner.  We will trade him for some skank, veteran pitcher and then Clint will eat us alive for 10 years.  Clint will hurt us far more than Giancarlo ever helps us, just as Jay Buhner did.

3.  The outfield is now a mess.  Two guys 6'6" and 6'7" won't work.  Aaron Judge is a spectacular athlete who can patrol right field, as long as we have a great defensive centerfielder with speed to cover the gaps, and a speedy left fielder to cover the rest.

4.  We can't have another guy like that in left field at the same time.   Left field is too vast at the stadium, and requires great speed and athleticism. There is no centerfielder on the Yankees who can cover the expanded liability of the left and right field empty spaces at the same time.

5.  The strikeout totals will make the team unbearable to watch.  And strikeouts kill everything.  Only occasionally, are they better than double plays.

6.  We all know...we all offense built on solo homers is worthless.  And does not create winning baseball.  Even three consecutive home runs can seem lame, next to a true, three run rally.

7.  What we needed to do was stay with the damn plan.  We had a great, young, exciting team without this guy.  All we needed was some pitching depth.  Now, we cannot afford that.  We must put together
a " patchwork " pitching staff, and that will hurt us when it matters most.

 There is already talk of letting Chad Green become a starter again.  "Remember the Alamo and remember Joba," say I.  This is a bad idea, necessitated, because we don't have the money to compete for pitching.

8.  Yes, the Yankees will increase their gate appeal and more fans will come to watch us lose in other ball parks.  Money, money, money for Hal.

But money is not the same as winning.  Trading for Giancarlo is like throwing a hammer into a well functioning machine.   Now we will patch holes with big name veterans, again.  I can feel it coming.

We can only hope this guy is injured all the time, per his history.  That gives some chance to re-introduce the youth movement ( out of necessity, rather than intention ) we just pissed upon.

  I believe this trade has hurt us deeply, and not helped a whit.  Our outfield defense is weakened; our offense is weakened ( home runs or nothing ), second base will become the new first base " black hole," we have a pitching staff with gaping holes, and Cashman will skate.

We just made a deal we didn't need to make.  A deal that will sting for a decade.

Merry Xmas.

Nine big questions that come from the big outfield

Okay, I've run 10,000 computer simulations of the 2017 season in my head. In 9,999 of them, we win. That's not good enough! Questions remain...

1. Who is the sixth OF - that is - who gets gone: Ellsbury, Hicks, Gardner or Frazier? We can't carry six. Is Ellsbury even movable? Is Hicks too fragile to be paired with Stanton? Could Gardy survive 100 games in centerfield? Will Frazier ever get a chance to prove himself as a Yankee? (A damn shame, if no.) What about Jake Cave and Billy McKinney... are they supposed to just go back to Scranton and pretend 2016 didn't happen? Cashman must trade somebody, but this time, are we Miami and are the other teams holding the cards?

2. How close to the luxury tax threshold will Stanton's contract put us? I've seen conflicting numbers, though they all say the Yankees should still be able to make it. The question is, how much wriggle-room? We're all-in on 2018 - no turning back now. But will we be hamstrung throughout the season in adding key pieces to the team? (Because 2018 looks like now or never for escaping the luxury tax.)

3. (Variant on #2). Does this affect plans to re-sign CC Sabathia? Both sides seemed to be inching towards a reunion, but the world has shifted. Would the Yankees be more inclined to trade for a younger, more dependable starter - (more prospects going out the door) - and keep the Sabathia cash for a rainy day in late July? 

4. (Variant on #3). How many more prospects can be traded before the system becomes degraded? (And before everyone talks up the depth of the Yankee farm operations, keep in mind that the last two weeks prove all the public prospect rankings are bullshit. In setting their roster last month, the Yankees added Jonathan Loaisiga - a pitcher none of the so-called experts had previously ranked. What happened? Did he fall from the stars? Yesterday, Gary Denbo plucked Jose Devers from a list - another guy almost completely overlooked by the list-makers. Does anything think Denbo doesn't know what he's doing?) I'm not saying we shouldn't have made the Stanton trade. I'm just saying there's a point where dealing prospects seriously backfires, and anyone old enough to remember the 1980s knows this all too well.

5. Do we have an opening day second-baseman? Will Glyber Torres be ready? (The Yankees probably will start him in Scranton anyway, rather than let him accrue service time towards arbitration.) Is Ronald Torreyes the answer? Tyler Wade? Thairo Estrada? Do they need to sign another Brian Roberts or - gulp - Stephen Drew? Dear God, save us from a Drew II. But we should not soft-soap the loss of Starlin Castro.

6. On a team built around the homer, who sets the table? Obviously, Gardy should lead off, a .350 on base percents - but then what? Do we go four straight batters swinging for the fences, until Didi comes up, batting sixth. (And his OBP - .318 - is lame, considering that he hit .287.) If we're talking about getting on base, are we tethered to Chase Headley and Ellsbury? For all the power we've assembled, are we in danger of mounting a one-dimensional offense?

7. Do we become the hated bullies from New York? We spent last year mocking the 2017 Redsock Hall of Fame Super Team of Destiny (TM); do the Yankees now take on that mantle - "the Golden State Warriors of baseball?" Because the NY media can still bear its teeth in the face of disappointing teams. (See JERSEY GIANTS, 2017.) Remember the horror-filled days of Bobby Bonilla on the Mets - with Saberhagen's squirt gun filled with Chlorox? Remember how Boston turned on Bobby Valentine, or how the tabs eventually took down Saint Joseph himself, Joe Torre? The only thing NYC loves more than a team on a high pedestal... is pushing it off. How do we avoid a bad start?

8. Can we afford a LH backup catcher and bullpen lefty? Two days ago, they would be simple matters. Now, will tax issues get in the way?

9. What will The Master's home run call be for Giancarlo? I've been wracking my brain - nothing. Best I got, playing off of "All Rise" for Judge: "Stand for Stanton!" Not good. This could be trouble.