Tuesday, August 1, 2017

What's done is done. Now, it's all about Sonny, Jaime and Todd (Oh my)

I'm typing from the ice bath. It'll take days, weeks to recover from the self-inflicted bruises. It happens every Aug. 1.

The trouble with trading prospects is that one tiny miscalculation - one eency-weency glitch - and you lose a generation. You watch Fred McGriff go out the door, and while everyone is celebrating the deal - (Tom Dodd and Dale Murray!) - poof: Twenty years later, he's entering the Hall of Fame, and you still wonder what the hell happened? 

I'm not saying that's what happened yesterday. We seemed to keep our future intact. At least, it looks so to the naked eye. I do like that we received $1.5 million in international cap spending - MLB's version of trading for a top draft pick. I do not like the fact that our Top 30 MLB prospects list now includes a 16-year-old Latino who has never played a game. That's a bad sign, no matter how you slice it. (Along with that renewed feeling of "why bother; he'll get traded anyway.")

Wanna judge yesterday's trades? Forget it. It's like making scotch: You need 15 years. That's why I barf when writers - who clearly know better - instantly slobber praise over a move. In our modern media, the Yankees basically cover themselves. We want to think of Jack Curry and Michael Kay as independent voices, but they are employees who answer to Brian Cashman just as much as Trudy, the receptionist. (By the way, that's why I cut John Sterling so much slack; he never hides his unabashed Yankee loyalty, which is akin to the love that a moose has for his flying squirrel.) When an institution or government no longer faces outside criticism, it eventually collapses under its own hubris. What what better way to describe the Yankees in this millennium. 

Ah, but why scream at the mountain? It doesn't listen. What's done is done. As Rummy once said, you go to war with the army you have. Today, we have six starting pitchers, with Jordan Montgomery - the most pleasant surprise of 2017 - likely to be sent to the bullpen or Scranton. (Also, so long Garrett Cooper! Let the record show that you outlasted the Mooch!) Forget the "Baby Bombers" marketing slogan. This is once again a team of former all stars. When Aaron Hicks returns, the outfield will overflow. If Greg Bird ever dares to show his face, what then? The September roster expansion is a month away. But Boston is 10 days away. A lot of water will soon flow under the Sonny Gray Memorial Bridge. 

Still, I'm having trouble with baseball's annual massive Aug. 1 restructuring, which is now the norm. The season is split into BEFORE and AFTER the trade deadline. You can see in the standings a big red line between contenders and teams that have punted on 2017. Good grief, Minnesota is barely 5 games out of the Wild Card, but they lost a few games and went home. If the Yankees had been swept by Tampa this week - as they were last year at this time - would we have been buyers yesterday?  

Games are way too long. Who can devote four hours to watching TV. Moreover, they have evolved into boring strikeout/walk/homer marathons. And here's the rub: It's the same with the season. Why follow the team from April 1 to August 1, when it will simply undergo a total transformation at the deadline? For me, the Yankees are not just stars but a cast of characters - Tyler Austins and Giovanni Gallegos - whose successes and failures give a sense of humanity. Why bother, if they're just going to replaced by a bunch of veteran stiffs?

Ah, but what's done is done. Why yell at the mountain? Yesterday, the writers celebrated how Yankee management, by obtaining Gray, "sent a message" that to the team "is all in on 2017!" Well, I don't buy that. The greatest GM in modern history, Pat Gillick, was famously called "Stand Pat" because he refused to trade prospects at deadlines. He built the Blue Jays (World Champs 1992 and 93), the Orioles (solid in late 1990s), the Mariners (single season win record 2000-2003) and the Phillies (2008 champs.) Gillick's teams understood that, by standing pat, he was showing faith in them. Why has rearranging all the furniture become the form of showing support? 

Oh, by the way, Gillick's the guy who snared Fred McGriff from us. We celebrated that day. Tom Dodd and Dale Murray! Just a thought.


13bit said...

Pass me the IBS lady, I mean, pass me the IBS meds...

13bit said...

Do you think they were separated at birth?


el duque said...

It's going to take me a long time to get over those photos.

ranger_lp said...

You're right...the games are too long...and it's not just the stepping out of the batter's box. It's the changing of baseballs....every time a baseball hits the ground it's thrown out of play. If you took away the absurd baseball changing, you would save 20 minutes right there. Keep the batters in the batter's box, another 25 minutes. Then games would go back to 2 hours 35 mins. Take away the 4 mins of commercials each inning.....lol

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

Cutting the commercials (to one every inning, period) would reduce the game length. Disallowing hitters from constantly re-fixing their batting gloves between pitches -- even if they didn't swing (Jeet did this, as did A-Roid -- and many, many others) would work, too.

On the other hand, if MLB got rid of just some TV spots, no one would pay Bryce Harper $400 million to stand around in the outfield, hit like a crazy person, and throw tantrums on a regular basis. He'd probably make only $2.5 million a year -- chickenfeed. He'd probably abandon baseball and move over to Chess.

Such a development would surely lead Aaron Judge to walk away from the Yankees and pursue a career with Uber, I'm sure.

So: Instead of doing something about the commercials, they reduce the international walk from 4 pitches to Zero. Whoopee!

el duque said...

To speed up the game, I think they should not make players run out homers. When the ball leaves the park, the next batter should simply step into the box.

John M said...

Now that we've added Cy Gray and Big Train Garcia to the rotation, the pundits say we're a lock for the division and have the pitching to actually win the World Series. (Why do I think one or both of them are headed for classic Yankees mediocrity?)

I would have gladly waited a couple years and kept Mateo and even Fowler. Plus, I'm going to miss Monty, who isn't quite ready to be a solid number 4 or 5, but will now never see the rotation again in this lifetime (just a wild guess).

However, now that M&F are gone and destined to kill us wherever they end up in the majors, maybe we could speed up games by simply putting them on second base every time they come to bat against us. That should save a good 30 minutes per game.

Leinstery said...

I don't know Duque, tough to lionize Pat Gillick when the Yankees beat those Orioles, Mariners, and Phillies teams. And they were in the midst of beating the 94 Blue Jays when the strike happened. It's not like Cashman got paid in prospects and immediately began overpaying for shit. If this was 2014 and the Yankees then were in their current position, guaranteed that his opening bid for Gray is Clint and Florial. However he kind of did win the stare-down with Billy "Participation trophy" Beane. Unless you are the Mets and you're trying to sell rental garbage, the seller usually has more leverage, and Cashman refused to bend and give either Clint or Gleyber. He also refused to let Beane tack on a player (Alonso) that he desperately wanted to give away and the Yankees didn't want.

Win or lose, I do like the new look Cashman where teams try to squeeze the top talent out of him and he just hangs up the phone. I believe that is all we wanted from him in the first place. He does have to make some trades, can't be an isolationist in today's baseball where MLB tries to hamstring large market teams left and right.

I also like the Padres GM AJ Preller. He couldn't make a trade this year because his asking price for everything was laughably high. I saw an anonymous gm say that he was asking more for Brad Hand than the Dodgers would ask for Kershaw. I think he was asking for the #1 of every team and the #2 for a reliever that is having his best year and little track record to prove he can sustain it.

Anonymous said...

Here's a game-extending disaster that I seldom see mentioned: constant catcher visits to the pitcher's mound for lengthy consultations about whether to throw a slider or a fastball. Baseball limits managers' visits to the mound per inning--so why not the same for catcher's visits? Why does every other pitch require a Yalta Conference? This is one of the most dispensable of baseball's time-consuming follies.

Anonymous said...

Jaime Garcia = Esteban Loaiza Circa 2004 = MEH!!!

Local Bargain Jerk said...

I was busy with work and couldn't offer a comment here that would change the course of mankind, so I sat silent.

I've now had a little time to reflect on this trade and I'm actually ok with it.

Here's what we had: A player logjam.

Here's what we needed: Pitching and a first baseman.

So, what did we do? We gave up one otherwise healthy prospect, a guy coming out of Tommy John surgery, and another kid who may or may not ever be the same after testing out some Chicago plumbing fixtures with a reasonably important body part. For these three, we got:

1) A proven major league pitcher who is

2) Under contract until 2019, and we also got a

3) 1.5MM Latin recruiting credit as a sweetener.

This all makes sense to me.

Shoot, Gray isn't a 3-month rental, we've got a good pitcher locked up for 2.25 years. And we didn't give up any of out top-tier kids.

If we give up 1-2 more prospects in the offseason to get a decent first baseman, I'll be a reasonably happy guy. (Face it: Bird will never be back; he seems to be the love child of Nick Johnson and Carl Pavano at this point.)

So, I'm actually ok with this.

My only regret this year is that we didn't get more for Refsnyder. It seems like we just gave up on that one. I'm also less thrilled with Cashman's warm-up trade that got us another .207 hitter, but on balance, I'm looking forward to the second half.

My $0.02.

joe de pastry said...

"Games are way too long. Who can devote four hours to watching TV. Moreover, they have evolved into boring strikeout/walk/homer marathons."
And why does Sanchez walk to the mound 100 times a game? To apologize for all his passed balls?
My way of dealing with the boredom is to put the game on tv with sound muted and just glance at the screen now and then while I'm reading. If the game is reasonably close in the late innings I'll set my reading aside and turn up the sound.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Fun fact, IBS lady's official name is Irritabelle.

Explaining how she got the job: