Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Last night may have been the worst thing that could happen

For most of the last 18 months, the Yankees have bucked history: They have steadfastly - and uncharacteristically - ignored aging stars with bloated contracts and hamstrings the size of fan belts. We just said no to Jose Bautista. We hid from Bartolo Colon, didn't pick up the phone on Rich Hill. Somehow - the real Toms River Miracle, in my opinion - we avoided the Toddfather himself, Todd Frazier, while he danced in front of us all winter, shirtless. 

For the first time in this decade, Bud Selig's de facto payroll cap - created for no other reason than to destroy the Yankees' financial advantage - backfired. The "luxury tax threshold," a thinly veiled construction of corporate socialism, forced the Yankees to halt spending and grow younger. Since the summer of 2016 - with the exception of Billy Butler, Jaime Garcia and their annual midsummer reunion - the Yankees have gone cold turkey on old-timers.

And it's worked - dear God! - more gloriously than we could have imagined. Today, the Yankees not only field baseball's best lineup, but they could remain that way for three to five years... that is, unless they revert.

Imagine a recovering alcoholic walking into a bar, sitting down and staring at a glass of Crown Royal for three hours. That's what happened last night. Cole Hamels pitched seven innings, over which the Yankees only sent six balls out of the infield. Today, Gammonites everywhere will be spewing trade ideas like Trump does tweets, and every bad proposal will be a plan to knock us off the sobriety wagon - take a hearty swig from the bottle and revert to the days of Ike Davis and Chris Young. After last night, Hamels has now strung together four solid starts - he was cuffed around in April - and you better believe the Rangers - who not long ago, before trading their youth, looked like the Yankees do now - will go into a full-blown yard sale, desperate to ditch him before the 34-year-old arm pops a gonad.

Of course, this had to happen on the very night that Domingo German shits the rookie bed, and while Chance Adams in Scranton lasts only three innings, eliminating for now what dwindling hopes he once offered. We can see the planets aligning for Cooperstown Cashman to trade prospects for Hamels, a three-month rental, and we can read the stories in our minds - how the Yankees just "traded for a pennant" and gave up "low-level prospects," just as the courtier press always did during the bloat years. And once the Yanks start going all-in for this October, they're like the recovering drunk in the bar, who decides one little sip can't hurt... and always deserves another.

Will we hold the line?

Yesterday, another omen appeared, and I can't figure out how to give it context. The A's released Slade Heathcott, who for a few measly years offered us the hope of youth. The trouble with Heathcott was that the Yankees were always bottled up in the outfield - Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran - so whatever numbers he piled up in Scranton - they didn't matter. Like Brigadoon Refsnyder, we watched a guy come up now and then, get a few hits, and then return to Central Pennsylvania to rot on the vine. But I can't scream that Heathcott was ruined. Maybe the Yankee scouts were right. The guy bounced to the White Sox and now the A's, and - hey, wanna feel old? - he's now 27. This could be it for him, time to hit the community college or start selling cars. 

All I can say is what we say too often on this blog, this message in a bottle surfing on the ocean: Building a team is not about holding onto one or two youngsters. You need a wave of youth, and once you start draining your resources, you start listing against the tide. If the Yankees bite on Hamels - after holding the line for the last 18 months - well, last night might turn out to be the worst thing that happened: The moment we picked up the bottle and started chugging. Will we hold the line?

7 comments:

John M said...

It's early yet. German needs a little more seasoning. I won't panic.

I won't. I won't panic.

No panic. No panic. You're the panic.

Anonymous said...

MY SENTIMENTS EXACTLY.

AS THE ANNOUNCERS KEPT BRAGGING ABOUT HAMELS, I KEPT THINKING THIS IS ANOTHER GUY WHO SHIT THE BED EVERY TIME HE PITCHED AGAINST A RIVAL TEAM IN HIS DIVISION. (THE METS- WHEN HE WAS WITH THE PHILLIES).

THIS IS NOT, REPEAT NOT, THE DIFFERENCE MAKER WE NEED.

THE DIFFERENCE MAKER MAY NOT EVEN BE OUT THERE THIS YEAR, BUT TO PACKAGE OUR "RICHES" FOR COLE HAMELS COULD BE A DISASTER OF EPIC PROPORTIONS.

IMAGINE GIVING AWAY ANDUJAR AND CLINT FRAZIER OR MORE, FOR HAMELS???

I WOULD NOT TRADE EITHER ONE STRAIGHT UP FOR HIM.

JOHN M IS RIGHT.

GERMAN HAS GREAT STUFF.

THE TIME TO STICK WITH HIM IS NOW... LET HIM LEARN.

COMMIT TO GERMAN UNTIL YOU CAN'T ANYMORE.

SAY NO TO HAMELS.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Amen on Hamels.

I remember seeing that guy was starting against us in Philly in 2009, and thinking, 'thank you, God.'

That night they staked him to a 3-0 lead against an exhausted Pettitte, and he promptly surrendered five runs in fewer than five innings. I believe that Andy, wearing a parka or maybe a raccoon coat, got the game-tying hit.

This is not the guy to snatch up for big, clutch, postseason starts.

HoraceClarke66 said...

BUT...the fact remains that we do need pitching if we are to avoid just being a very good also-ran in the years ahead.

Our current starters are not going to get us over the top, and our current bullpen is starting to look very tattered.

Okay, so we can't work a trade for legroom and Cinderella. But we're going to have to get more pitchers somewhere.

And even an impulsive prospect-hugger such as myself has to admit that poor Refsnyder (1 ribbie in his last 154 plate appearances), Dustin Fowler, Jake Cave, Ben Gamel, and Jorge Mateo have not exactly set the world on fire since they departed from our realm.

That could still change for some of those guys, but Duque is right. There are an awful lot of Slade Heathcotts out there, sad to say.

Anonymous said...


Good point about Ref and the others. I'm generally OK with trading prospects (with certain major exceptions) to go for it and the team as currently constructed is in a position to do some serious damage for years to come.

So a move or two will be made. So here are a couple of questions/thoughts.

Hamels is held in low regard here. Is the fear adding him? Or is the fear the overpay? In other words if Red Thunder/Sheffield etc. are off the table. Would acquiring him for lesser prospects and giving the Rangers salary relief next year be acceptable. (I know that this creates an issue with getting under the luxury tax this year - making him our "major" upgrade. If the price was right would we want him? Or is he pitcher non grata?

Patrick Corbin: Free agent at the end of the year. Yankee fan The D'Backs are playing .521 ball and are 1/2 game back in a weak division. But it's take the division or no playoffs. If the Yankees offered actual prospects would it be worth it to us? I'm talking players that would hurt to lose. But the goal of the trade is to get Corbin (win the series) and then keep him as one of our big Free Agent signings for next year. Who would you give up?

Michael Fulmer: He's stinking it up this year. Anyone know why? Who would you give up for a cost controlled pitcher who showed greatness. Frazier + Sheffield + Elsbury? (I had to try. He should be in every deal! Double A player + Elsbury for who cares? What ever value deal Cash put's together he should be, "Do you want Els with that?"

Doug K.


Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


I'm sorry to inject my strange way of thinking on this, but I was under the impression that Domingo is a stop-gap between now and when Cessa, Warren, and/or Monty are ready to go.

The sitch might also lead someone (ABoone? Larry R? Cashmoney?) to consider giving Hale or Cole a 4-inning start.

That's 5 alternatives to Domingo; and, of course, the young guy himself might "find something" if they keep running him out there.

Are you really sure you want to say goodbye to Frazier (or anyone else) to add some reject from another team to this list?

TheWinWarblist said...

GLOOM!! DARKNESS!! BLACKNESS OF HEART AND NIGHT!!