Monday, December 4, 2017

The Japanese Babe is a West Coast kind of guy, so the hell with him

Make no mistake: This is a setback, the worst Yankee moment since Ronald "Big Toe" Torreyes wandered a step too far from second base in Houston. For most of the last three months, every report on Shohei Ohtani - "the Japanese Babe Ruth" - included a mandatory note that the Yankees would probably sign him. They had the tradition. They had the market. They had the young team. They had the money. Done deal. He was destined for pinstripes. Over and over, that's what they told us. Imagine that: The Gammonites didn't know a galddamn thing about what they were saying...

Apparently, Ohtani prefers ocean breezes, legal pot and the chance to die in an earthquake. He wants a West Coast "small market," which - translated from the native Japanese - means San Diego or Seattle. Considering that the Padres are still in Year II of their Philadelphia 76ers Tankathon, and that Ohtani might want more than throwing to 20-year-olds plucked from the Rule 5 Draft, that leaves Seattle. And let's face it: Amazon City is the perfect place for an unproven rookie who demands a chance to pitch and hit. For one thing, he can save wear and tear on his body by jogging out grounders. Also, he can utilize the knowledge of that great sports agent, Jay-Z. Let's face it: There's always room in Seattle for another diva. 

Listen: We wanted this guy not because he's the best pitcher or hitter out there - the Gammonitic hype was always too good to be true - but because it would make the sports world once again revolve around the Yankees. Whether he soars or flops, Ohtani will be one of the most intriguing stories of 2018. It would have been fun to have him, and it certainly would have been the franchise's best $3.5 million expenditure since Randy Levine's most recent Brazilian wax.

So... now what? We can take that $3.5 million and buy some 16-year-old Latino lover boys, a program we launched three years ago, which has yet to bear great dividends or be declared a boondoggle. (Dermis Garcia, the most expensive signee from that 2015 class, is wandering through low Single A, striking out way too often. But he's not ready for the glue factory, either. At age 18 last year, he hit 17 HRs and batted .249.) There is also a handful of ex-Brave prospects who were pried loose after Atlanta was caught cheating in the Caribbean slave trade. One is 18-year-old Kevin Maitain, a SS currently ranked 38th on MLB's prospect list. Yeah, it's a bullshit ranking, but signing him might lessen our pain.

This also lessens the pressure on Cooperstown Cashman to trade Jacoby Ellsbury, the man and the contract, for a bag of dope. (In a perfect world, he would team with Podunk Ohtani next year.) If no decent deal for Ellsbury can be wrangled, the Chief can be our lefty DH and - who knows - maybe mount a comeback season and play himself back into the lineup. It means more at bats for Ellsbury, Clint Frazier, Glyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, young players who might have been blocked by Ohtani's demand to pitch and hit. 

There is also less pressure on the Yankees to commit both sides of their team - the rotation and batting order - to an unproven commodity. Who knows what Ohtani can bring? He might pitch well but fail to hit a MLB breaking ball. Would he accept being sent to the bullpen or benched as a hitter? The two-way player offers great advantages... but a new kind of potential hassle. It's no longer our problem. 

Now, we simply must re-sign CC Sabathia, recommit to the group of young pitchers - Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield, et al - boost the bullpen and stay the course. Last year, the Yankees' greatest move - almost unprecedented in modern Yankee times - was to commit to Greg Bird even though he looked like a dog. At the end, Bird was our best hitter, our great hope. Can anyone imagine old George sticking so long with a kid? I believe in 2018, we must do the same with Frazier - he of the "legendary" bat speed - and the others. They might not hit at first. But now that Ohtani is out of the mix, our young players should more of the chance, and that's a good thing. After all, he might just be the Japanese Rick Ankiel. You know what? We might have just dodged a bullet.


13bit said...

Yes, I will sleep well at night, know he and Joggie are hanging out together. All your points are good. We actually don't need to do anything besides, as you said, kneel down and pay CC for another year of yeoman's work.

I still harbor mixed feelings, at best, about Boone, but the reality is that I - and the rest of us - have no choice. So, we have to go with it, talk about it, not talk about it, watch, celebrate, prognosticate, pontificate, bloviate and blowhard our way through the next 12 months, at which point we can maybe talk some more and come to some kind of faulty consensus that means nothing in the short or long run. Nothing. We have no choice. We never did.

The only wildcard, which will never happen, is if he were to not last the season. In the days of Mad King George, that was always a possibility and, at the very least, it made for some good drama and even better back pages. That doesn't happen any more, though. We have gotten more civilized, maybe, but not more civil.

I now have to make it through the day trying to erase from my mind the image of two huge Russian women pulling wax strips off of Randy Levine's groin and stomach while he screeches like a stuck pig. Fun times in Greenwich Village.

Honey Barnes said...

The only problem with your conclusion is that to employ that plan does nothing to burnish the Cooperstown Creds for Cashman. A cluster fuck deal is still to come. Guaranteed.

Anonymous said...

I read today that young players in Japan stay in dorms. Perhaps NYC was a little too daunting.

If he signs with Seattle they can be Can-o and Oh-No. (And we all know how the last Ono worked out for a team.)

If he ends up being great we can always give him a 1.5 billion dollar 15 year contract when he's a free agent in 2025.

Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

"Hate New York City
It's cold and it's damp
And all the people dress like monkeys.
Let's leave Chicago to the Eskimos
That town's a little too rugged
For me and you..."

—Randy Newman, "I Love L.A.", or in this case, Seattle.

Yeah, it's a bummer, considering the guy's potential.

I didn't care so much about the baseball world revolving around New York again. As a self-involved New Yorker, I simply assumed that everything already revolved around New York, period.

What I loved was the fact that the guy consistently threw over 100 mph, and could maybe golf a couple dozen balls into those right field seats.

But the more I think about it, the more it is that the sheer narcissism of Wonder Boy's actions make me think we're well rid of him.

Disapprobation poured down upon Lebron James' head like water because he dared to make a TV show out of his choice, with all the proceeds going to charity.

He didn't force every GM in his sport to dance around in a circle, holding one foot in their hands and singing "Hava Nagila." This is essentially what Wonder Boy did, only to immediately turn around and tell them that he would not even deign to meet with them in person, much less visit their towns.

Imagine how bad it will get if he actually has, say, a good week in the major leagues.

As El Duque so eloquently put it, let's get back to this very fun ride we were already on. Let's restock the farm system with about half-a-dozen of liberated Braves and others, let's look at those young pitchers and see what our young hitters can do, and let's run off a few more championships.

Ohtani? Well, let's just call him the Japanese Clint Hartung. I hope he enjoys pinch-running for Jogginson over the next few seasons.

JM said...

Aaron Fucking Boone. I still can't believe it. If they wanted somebody who would just answer the phone and do whatever the stat boys say, they could have at least picked somebody with entertainment value.

I've wanted Girardi gone for so long, and this is what happens.

Still glad he's gone, though. At the very least, we have a different irritating boob.

JM said...

Oh, and what Horace said. 100% in agreement on the pan-fried prima donna.

Anonymous said...





ranger_lp said...

Ohtani=Chicken Teriyaki

HoraceClarke66 said...

Yes, ALL-CAPS, it would be nice to get an ace. I think that will be our biggest shortage in the playoffs.

Still, Kluber and Kershaw both failed to get it done for their teams this fall, so who knows?

KD said...

Advice my father gave the young KD about women seems to apply here: If they don't want you, you don't want them. Now, that doesn't mean you don't try. But when I tried and failed, the advice allowed me to move on. So you guys all have the situation nailed. let's all move on from this twit who doesn't want to win, much less win a ring. In fact, we probably dodged a bullet.

13bit said...

I agree with you, KD.

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