Sunday, December 10, 2017

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.


Anonymous said...

......the crowd is chantin’ for Stanton, Giancarlo hit one to tomorrow!


.......Stanton hit one to Scranton

13bit said...

Number 6 screams out. Who will set the table? What happens when they all go through their mini slumps and they are all reaching out for garbage pitches? Will any of these guys know how to hit a single or - god forbid - execute a bunt?

Blah blah blah.

I'm glad we got such a great deal and don't have to worry for the next 10 years. I'm glad we're staying the course. I'm glad our pitching is so strong.

Saint Hal! Saint Brian! Saint Randy!

I need a visit from the IBS Lady.

Carl J. Weitz said...

"It is is is GONE! Giancarlo hit that ball all the way to Stanton Island!!!"

Alphonso said...

Here is what John is more likely to be saying about Giancarlo:

" He struck him out. Oh, my. "Another Golden Sombrero for Giancarlo."

Alphonso said...

With reference to point #1:

I have said this 100 times so far. Clint Frazier is our next Jay Buhner. Count him gone. He will be a superstar on another team, and he will hurt the Yankees far more than Giancarlo ever helps us.

We should have stuck with the plan. But this horrible trade will put fannies into the seats, and grow Yankee haters on an exponential level. That will increase TV ratings.

This is about money, not winning. Though it is dressed up and packaged like winning.

We better hope Giancarlo can pitch.

Anonymous said...

It is high, it is far, it is...GIANCARLO! Ooooh, StanTON hit ONE a TON!

Carl J. Weitz said...

Stanton is more than a home-run hitter. And he has flawless choppers! He is a decent/serviceable outfielder but in the AL he should be mainly a DH and occasional OF/1B.
GIANCARLO STANTON SCOUTING REPORT (2009) While I can not say Stanton’s power was on full display, what I did see was enough for me to firmly cement him as the best power hitting prospect I have ever seen.
Physique & Athleticism: Stanton’s listed height/weight of 6’5″, 205 lbs. seemed on the light side as I would have pegged him at 220 or so. An awesome physical specimen, his future physical projection is off the charts as he has the frame to add significant size with extremely long limbs to boot. He towered over his outfield counterparts during the “National Anthem”.
Athletically, Stanton is still growing into his body and his movements can be a bit stiff and awkward; especially in the outfield. As he continues to mature, I expect his baseball movements will become more compact which should help in a number of areas including his swing.
Offense: With 68 minor league home runs before his twentieth birthday, Mike Stanton’s power in the low minors is of historic proportion. As somebody who saw the quality of “Sally” pitching first hand, along with the number of 18-year old prospects who struggle mightily because of it, Stanton’s 39 home run 2008 was truly jaw-dropping. Yes, the strikeouts are a concern, but I am confident the length of his swing can be fixed by a couple of minor tweaks. Stanton’s would benefit from keeping his front elbow tighter to his body during his swing. This will help him better stay inside the baseball and make for more repeatable swing mechanics. He also has a slight hitch in his pre-swing load which can lead to other timing issues.
In game action, Stanton worked a number of deep counts as pitchers were careful in working him down and out leading to multiple free passes. He did show some difficulty when pitchers followed up a curveball low and out with a fastball up due to his swing length. With his strikeout total, I expected Stanton to have less of a two-strike approach than what he displayed. Hits with two-strikes included a ground ball single back up the middle and a 410-foot, one hop double off of the center field fence off of his front foot.
Maybe even more impressive were the pitches he missed badly. I have heard people talk about “big league fly balls” as a demonstration of power in their own right. Stanton’s swinging under the ball and making contact towards the handle resulted in two rain-makers to the opposite field which the right fielder caught at the base of the right-center field fence. In the playoff game alone, Stanton would have had three home runs with 15-20 pounds of additional muscle. It is one thing for a player to take a ball over the fence when he hits it on the sweet spot. It is quite unique when a player has the ability to badly hit a ball out to any field. His raw power is a true 80 on the 20-80 scale and his in-game power is also an 80 making him a very rare prospect.
Defense: In playoff action, Stanton served as the primary designated hitter. He was in right field the first game I attended and looked a bit stiff moving around the outfield. Between the single game sample and rain-soaked field, it is hard for me to make an assessment of his defense at this time. I hope to see him again in 2010 and should have more information then.
Speed: Stanton showed good base-running ability as he nabbed a couple of extra bases on batted balls I felt he would be held up on. With seven stolen bases in two plus minor league seasons, it is easy to completely dismiss his base-running ability, but he has a good feel for it which should keep him from becoming a true base-clogger for awhile.
While Mike Stanton is not a polished product, he has the potential to be a power hitter in the Mark McGwire mold. However, his strikeout totals will determine whether he becomes a well-rounded hitter with the ability to chip in decent average/on base percentage totals, or just an all-or-nothing power threat.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I was thinking The Master should go all Civil War:

"Stanton on the warpath! That is a home run for the ages!"...but somehow, I doubt if we'll hear it.

I suspect it'll be something more along the lines of "the Stan-tino!"

Stang said...

Ugh, you're right. "The Stan-tino." Ugh.

JM said...

I think the Master may go the bilingual route. Something like "Giancarlo es muy bueno!"

Yeah, that kind of sucks. But I don't know much Spanish. There may be something there.

Sterling probably will do something with the guy's first name. That's more distinctive than "Stanton." Plus, since he already did the Giambino, I don't think he'll repeat himself with Stantino. It's too easy. The Master shuns such lazy coinings.

It is doubtless Sterling's winter project, assuming he returns next year. This is one of the great challenges of his career.

RJ said...

Give that man a Stanton Ovation

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