LIVE YANKEE IN-GAME CHAT: TONIGHT AT 5

LIVE YANKEE IN-GAME CHAT: TONIGHT AT 5

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

As the World Series turns, the painful questions unfurl

Watching Andrew Miller send the Cubs back into Hell last night, I burrowed beneath the couch and clutched my Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield juju icons, pondering the endless toppling dominoes of Fate. It is now universally understood that if Cleveland wins its first World Series in the TV age, it will have the Yankees to thank. It's cold under that couch, especially under the weight of essential questions:

When we traded Miller, did we sell our soul to Mephistopheles?

And if so, did we get enough? 


This we know: Nobody has an issue with trading Aroldis Chapman. On a team so riddled with holes, three all-star closers made absolutely no sense. Besides, El Chapo would going to walk this winter anyway, and Food Stamps Hal is still clutching every thin dime, because that's the metric by which he measures success. So, Chapman was always gone. But we had Miller for two more years, and he was the best of the trio, So this morning, writing this from under the couch, some big questions still loom.

If we hadn't traded Miller, could we have won the Wild Card?

And could we now trade him for more than what we got last July? 


Listen... what's done is done. I can't answer those questions. But I do know this: The Yankees were challenging until Hanley Ramirez hit that walk-off bomb, and if Miller were still a Yankee, he would have been out there instead of Dellin Betances, who was crumbling from overuse. The difference between Miller and - say - Blake Parker is the difference between life and death, heaven and hell, forever and never, and the record will forever show that there were games when we actually had Parker out there, chasing the final outs.

So... what's done is done. If the Yankees were now shopping Miller, would Cleveland still be in the hunt? Could we still score Frazier and Sheffield from them? And here's another question: Considering their play in August - (Frazier slumped, sorta) - would we still covet them so desperately?

Look... what's done is done. Me, I dunno. Nor do I know what Brian Cashman plans for 2017. But the Yankees are worried about last season's marked decline in attendance, and the fact that Comcast held the line in its dispute with YES. In their fourth year of nothingness, the Yankees have to be feeling kicks to the groin. That means something is coming - good or bad - this winter. A bomb is about to go off in the Yankee roster.

Right now, to send last year's team back out there would be a marketing disaster that not even breast pump stations and a kiddie playground can overcome. We still don't know Gary Sanchez's baseline production - the season ended before his average stopped dropping. We still don't know if Aaron Judge is a future star or a giant strikeout machine. We still don't know if Luis Severino is a starter or a finisher, or anything in between. And those are the hopeful question marks.

Either Hal buys a free agent or two, or we must rebuild through trades. Nobody wants to give up good young players for over-the-hill veterans with bloated contracts. If we were now shopping Andrew Miller, would we get more than we did... or less? I dunno. What's done is done. But I'm telling you, it's dark under that couch.

(Final note: I just did something I almost never do: I read through this a second time. Before pressing "Publish," I feel compelled to add that I favored the trade of Miller last July. It's easy to look back and wonder. But I supported it all the way. What's done is done.)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

ULTIMATELY, MY ANSWER WOULD BE "NO", WE WOULD NOT HAVE MADE THE PLAYOFFS IF WE KEPT MILLER......WHY?...... 2 REASONS....... REASON #1.) WE STILL COULDN'T HIT - AND REASON #2.) THE WAY GIRARDI USED MILLER, HE JUST WOULDN'T MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN ENOUGH GAMES TO PUT US OVER THE TOP........ GIRARDI'S BOOK FOR HIM (WITHOUT CHAPMAN) WOULD BE 9TH INNING ONLY! ........... I HOPE GIRARDI IS WATCHING THESE INDIANS POST SEASON GAMES, WATCHING HOW MILLER IS BEING USED...... MAYBE HE IS LEARNING SOMETHING?....I DOUBT IT.

KD said...

Girardi smirks, knowing Francona will eventually crash due to binder and conventional wisdom under-use. Ignore the binder at your peril, Joe chortles. EVERYONE knows you don't use your closer unless you're leading in the ninth. even when the Schmindians win this series, Joe will still be comforted by the binder. The binder predicts such rare events, don't you know.

How much would IBM charge the Yanks to use Watson as manager? We could keep Joe around for clubhouse pep talks and such.

John M said...

What those guys said. Girardi would have found a way to lose, it's what he does.

For the record, I thought we should have kept Miller and traded Betances, and said so at the time even though I had to grudgingly go along with the trade because I had no power to stop it. I still think that was the righter move.

None of this matters, because while the new Stadium has always been a suburban theme park version of Yankee Stadium...which so much of the city is now...the new changes make it even more so. Hardnosed fans are not welcome. We are chasing the squish.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

The reason to keep Miller -- beyond his performance -- was his contract. For a team that is supposedly pinching pennies, having a guy of this quality for $9 million in 2017 was a steal.

Maybe the prospects will pan out.

Maybe . . . not.

rogerc said...

Miller can be used as Francona uses him when you are in a post season scenario.

You couldn't expect any manager to be bringing him in the fifth inning over the course of a season. You would burn him out. That seemed to be what Smoltz was suggesting in Game 1 of the Series

Time will tell on Frazier, who is the key to whether this trade is a success or not.