Friday, August 25, 2017

With an influx of returning players, the Yankees must somehow find a place for Ronald Torreyes

If this were a war, they'd call it "an impending troop surge." By the end of this weekend - maybe even today - the Empire will liberate Starlin Castro and Doug Bird from the Stygian depths of Scranton, adding two sluggers - for better or worse. 

Both bring high hopes and potential short-term consequences, due to all that time missed watching Netflix in the Jacuzzi. Be glad you're not Joe Girardi, because over the next six weeks, if there is such a thing as accountability in the Yankiverse, his and Brian Cashman's billiard balls should be squarely secured on the anvil. For all the positives they inspire, there are no guarantees that Castro, Bird or even the zombified Matt Holliday - currently fanning himself somewhere in the 110-degree South of Single A - will return with any fury in their bats. (Case in point: Aaron Hicks, who has flat-lined since his re-entrance.) 

The chart shows Yankee production since the All-Star break (or in Aaron Judge's case, since the Derbyapolypse.) You don't need to be Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes to discern that two Yankee lug nuts of the last month - Chase Headley and Ronald Torreyes - will see reduced playing times due to the Surge.

Of course, Headley could return to 3B - though there is that back-of-the-mind concern that his improved hitting resulted from not fearing his throws to first base were sailing into the Hudson River. If Headley moves to third, it pushes out Todd Frazier - the official IT IS HIGH 2017 rented whipping mule - whom, to his credit, has played well lately. (Last 7 games, he's hitting .316 and handling the glove.) Wouldn't you know it? As soon as Frazier settles in, will he disappear?

The Big Question is simple: Could Bird go on a monster tear, as he did last March against the Wally Whitehursts and Manny Banueloses of Bradenton and Fort Kissmyass. We've waited two years for Bird. He's like that last blue Viagra pill, which you've been waiting to pop for the Game of Thrones finale, but now you're wondering if Melasandra will be around? Not long ago, Bird would have replaced Chris Carter, which would be like replacing a head cold. Now, he'll must supplant one of our hottest hitters. Like I said... be glad you're not Girardi.

One other note at first: What's striking about those post-All-Star totals is how well the no-names actually performed - Choi, Tyler Austin and Garrett Cooper all crushed the ball - and then disappeared. It's injuries, of course, though a lingering critique of Girardi - right or wrong - is that instinctive sense that he never lets young hitters stay hot. If a kid up from Scranton goes three for four, it's as if Girardi feels compelled to reassure competing veterans that their jobs remain secure.

But the real key to the Surge is Castro, who shall soon - rightfully - take over at 2B. Trouble is, Ronald Torreyes has become a Yankee spark plug - shades of The Scooter himself - and one of our best clutch hitters. After six lost weeks, can Castro do better? 

Next Friday, September 1, just in time for our last series against Boston, the rosters will explode. Suddenly, we'll have Holliday, Clint Frazier, and maybe the Gi-Man himself. (I hope so; the guy deserves an encore.) Our bullpen will expand to the size of Rhode Island, though our third catcher, when Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez serve suspensions, might have to be Joe. The Surge is coming - for better or worse. 


Local Bargain Jerk said...

The revelation for me on that chart is that Judge, batting cleanup yesterday and in the #3 slot until recently, is hitting .188 since the All Star break.


HoraceClarke66 said...

And meanwhile, to return to the "Arms and the Man" question for the future—bring in established pitchers or go with the organization—here's how we did it in the last dynasty:


Andy Pettitte—Home grown
Jimmy Key—Free agent
David Cone—Trade from Toronto for Marty Janzen, Mike Gordon, Jason Jarvis (are you kidding me?)
David Wells—Free agent
Hideki Irabu—Trade for rights from San Diego, for Ruben "The Glove Burglar" Rivera, Rafael Medina, $3 mill (also acquired Homer Bush)
El Duque—Free agent
Roger Clemens—Trade from Toronto for Wells, Bush, and Graeme Lloyd


Brian Boehringer—Trade from the White Sox for Paul Assenmacher
Jeff Nelson—Trade from Seattle with Tino Martinez and Jeff Mecir, for Sterling Hitchcock and Russ Davis
Graeme Lloyd—What turned out to be trade from Milwaukee with Ricky Bones, for Gerald Williams and Bob Wickman
David Weathers—Trade from Florida for Mark Hutton
Mike Stanton—Free agent
Ramiro Mendoza—Home grown
The Great One—Home grown

In other words, it was easy: Bob Watson and Gene Michael (who really should be in Cooperstown), just went around and robbed other teams blind. Or signed choice free agents. Relatively few Yankees pitchers were grown on the farm.

Do we have a GM who could replicate that today???

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