THE WRONG EARTH, written by Mustang and published by El Duque, is out now!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

New Yankee Terror Alerts: Global warning and - gulp - a healthy Chief

Last night, the Yanks and O's put on a pro wrestling exhibition worthy of the late, great Vern Gagne - dark master of the "sleeper hold." By the third inning, the Evils had the Masked Buck in their nefarious neck grip, cutting off oxygen to his brain, until the ref lifted his lifeless wrist and let it fall to the canvass. The bell rang, and the Yanks took possession of the AL East Championship Belt... in first, a half-game behind Boston!

Our two biggest concerns: Global warming and the health of a certain OF currently wandering the steam rooms of the George Steinbrenner Mar-a-Laga weight room and spa. 

Concern #1: Rising sea levels.

Thus far in 2018, the Yankees have played 53 games, tied with rainy Minnesota for the fewest in baseball. Already, we have played 5 fewer games than the Redsocks.

This sets up the months of June and July as a grueling, Roman chariot race. The Yankees will play 29 games in the 30 days of June. Then, leading to the three-day all star break, 14 games in 15 days... and coming out, 11 games in 12 days. Brutal.

Already, the rotation is filled with TBA's, minor leaguers summoned from Central Pennsylvania. The problem isn't warm bodies; we have plenty. The problem will come when a starter gets bombed - destined to happen - draining the bullpen beyond recognition. We need another closer. We need another 8th inning man. We are going to need a second pitching staff. Who'll stop the rain?

Concern #2: Ellsbury's health.

Lost in the 2018 talent surge - which has Clint Frazier, Brandon Drury, Billy McKinney, Tyler Wade and Ronald Torreyes all playing below their skill level - is the eventual return of Jacoby Ellsbury. 

I know it's fashionable to use the "Ell from Hell" as a punch line. But we cannot accuse the guy of faking. He's hurt, one injury after another, and he must be going crazy in Tampa. Frankly - and I know this is unpopular to say - Ellsbury deserves sympathy, not condemnation. It's not his fault that the Yankees gave him a terrible contract. Was he supposed to say, "No, Mr. Cashman, I can't accept these terms, because they would put the future of my family in front of Mr. Steinbrenner's temporary financial discomfort. If that happened, I couldn't live with myself." 

But here's the problem: What happens when Ellsbury heals? Any day now, the Yankees could announce that the Geritol worked, his gonad is untweaked, and he is launching the required 20-day minor league rehab. Then what?

Well, he'll hit the already crowded Yankee roster like a cluster bomb. Who gets sent down? Neil Walker? Tyler Austin? A relief pitcher? (See Concern #1.) Do the Yankees waive Ellsbury, eat his contract and let him go anywhere - say, Boston - to face us in the playoffs? Do we want that? I don't. 

As for Clint Frazier and Billy McKinney, they might as well take up hockey. They'll be lucky to see time in September. Throughout the system, young outfielders will be jammed up. We'll have to trade Frazier... and keep, gulp, Ellsbury? Fuck me

We make fun of Ellsbury's ongoing injuries. But thus far, they have spared us from a roster explosion. The fear is that they're done. Coming soon: Yankee Ragnarok?


TheWinWarblist said...

Oh I do love waking up to your "analysis."

Anonymous said...







TheWinWarblist said...

Soooo ... Jacoby always gives us his best effort, but he's only had one excellent season, at age 27. He's now 34. And frequently and extensively injured. He will play hard and give us his everything he has left in the tank. But he's gotta be running on fumes now. He will clog up the outfield position and delay the elevation of our minor leaguers.

Pitching? I don't worry about pitching. Pitching is always heartbreaking. Why worry?

TheWinWarblist said...

I'm pretty sure we can send Neil Walker down and no one will notice.

HoraceClarke66 said...

First, Walker has to go. And our greatest priority has to be to save Clint Frazier.

Thing is, I wonder if Clint will really bring that much in the market just now. And just what viable
pitchers are even out there? Would even Coops really be stupid enough to deal him for Cole Hamels?

Here's another concern: not only did Miguel Andujar not play yesterday, but Sanchez was taking ground balls at third. Hmmm...

HoraceClarke66 said...

And meanwhile, the Sox put both Mookie Betts and Pedroia on the DL.

I really do hate to see any player injured—at least since Jason Varitek retired—but this is not good for them.

Anonymous said...

Hoss - I feel the same way. The Hamster is becoming their Jacoby eh?

All, I just voted for the All-Star game and the talent level in the AL is off the charts.

I did

and Trout in the OF

Torres (just being a homer - really it should be Altuve)
and Ramierez around the horn
and Sanchez as Catcher. He really is the best choice.(Slim pickins)
Matinez as the DH.

I know it's an All Star Team but that's a serious team and way better than their NL counterparts.

Doug K.

David in Cal said...

The money remaining on Ellsbury's contract is a sunk cost. It should be ignored in making a decision. Whether or not to release Ellsbury should be based only on his current skill level vs. others.

But, can the Yanks' front office really pretend that Ellsbury is owed nothing? Or, will they feel compelled to keep him, because of all the money he's earning?

Rufus T. Firefly said...

AnDUjar is playing today.

Maybe they're considering playing Sanchez at third to give AnDUjar a day off after they release Walker.

Alphonso said...

I think Andujar is fine, otherwise, " the swan would be circling."

Booney stuck with the game plan for the rainout. Same pitcher, same everything. He intended to get Walker into the game because: Bird was taking all his reps; it is hard to take out Torres, wALKER CN'T PLAY SS; ANDUJAR DID GET COLBBERED IN THAT PLAY AT THIRD. ( sorry for the fat thumb crap).

Camera shots of Andujar in the dugout showed a guy ready to go.

Ne t'inquiet pas.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Apparently the swan took a little trip to St. Botolph's town this week. Nice work.

John M said...

Ells, sadly, should probably be released to make room for Clint. Hicks, Drury, Walker, Wade, Austin, McKinney should all be sacrificial trade chits. We're overstocked. Everything must go. OK, not everything, but at least half of that list in whatever configuration. I hope to God Didi and Sanchez come out of it.

We'll never trade Sonny because he has great stuff.

TheWinWarblist said...

I hope The Swan craps all over the fen.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I'd like to save Drury, in case we need to do the SS-Gleyber, 2B-Drury thing. Plus, he and Toe would make pretty good backups even if Didi is fine.

There is room for at least 1 of the 3—Hicks, Austin, McKinney—as a back-up. Austin plays OF as well as first, and maybe McKinney can, too. Hicks, on the other hand, plays CF, which we need.

Walker: trade him for lottery tix, the sooner the better.

Tyler Too, sadly, will probably have to go. But no need to rush that. It's nice to have yet another backup in Triple-A.

HoraceClarke66 said...

And of course the swan is in Boston. They have a whole park ride devoted to it there!

TheWinWarblist said...

David in Cal, very few of us here care about the money billionaires spend on their employees. I'm happy for Jacoby and his family.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

This is my guess, but Cashman was quoted last week as saying this about Ellsbury: "Everything that he’s got has been diagnosed legitimately by a doctor."

That struck me as an odd thing for a GM to say since saying nothing, or saying something meaningless such as "We continue to monitor Ellsbury's status and look forward to his return to baseball activities" or something similar would have been more expected and customary. Aren't the Yankees supposed to be masters of the "Move your lips in front of a journalist but say nothing" game?

I am guessing that Cashman made such a statement because the Yanks are at this point being compensated by an insurance carrier for some portion of Ellsbury's salary for as long as he's "legitimately" injured ... i.e., for as long as he remains on the DL and verified as needing to stay there by physician(s) appointed by the insurance carrier. Cashman intentionally going on public record as saying Ellsbury's injuries are "legitimate" would seem to support this.

If my guess is correct, Ellsbury being injured and out of the line up is now only costing the Yanks by increasing their exposure under the "luxury" tax ... that's all. As long as Ellsbury remains on the 60-day DL, it doesn't even cost them a spot on the 40-man roster.

All of the above would also mean the Yanks have zero reasons to release Ellsbury outright. In fact, releasing him would likely end their insurance payments (if my guess is correct), and would therefore cost them money.

If you recall, the O's kept Albert Belle on their 40-man roster for three years following his "retirement" due to a hip injury ... because doing so allowed them to be reimbursed for Belle's $13MM annual salary by their insurance carrier.

Seven figure insurance payouts often make people and organizations say and do seemingly weird things...

It's all just a guess, however, prompted by Cashman's unusual statement. The only question I have -- and the thing that would weaken the foundation of my guess -- is why any underwriter would be dumb enough to insure Ellsbury given his history of injuries before he got to NY.

TheWinWarblist said...

El Conquistador!

TheWinWarblist said...

LBJ, DL insurance policies? Is that a thing? The premium on a 30+ year old ballplayer would be collassal, no?

Local Bargain Jerk said...

LBJ, DL insurance policies? Is that a thing? The premium on a 30+ year old ballplayer would be collassal, no?

It's very much a thing. In fact, they are commonplace in the MLB due to 1) the size of the salaries, and 2) the fact that the contracts are guaranteed (a scenario that is more or less unique to baseball).

The risk is normally underwritten by someone like Lloyds of London or AIG. It's analogous to when Betty Grable insured her legs for $1MM back in the day. In her case, it was more of a publicity stunt but the root objective is the same: I make my living using my body and, should I get injured, I want to be compensated. The insurance carrier effectively bets on the health of the athlete or performer involved.

The policy premiums *are* enormous, but not as enormous as the prospect of paying 7 figures to an athlete and getting nothing in return. I would have to think that a club builds in the price of an insurance premium into their cost accounting as it relates to the player's overall compensation package. It's just part of what they have to pay, in other words. I'm sure there are also cases where a player's history might render him un-insurable (or prohibitively costly to insure). There is no doubt that this would be factored into the size of any offers coming a player's way.

The most famous case of which I'm aware is the Albert Belle one. Belle was on the O's roster for several extra years after his degenerative hip condition forced him into retirement just so the O's could collect on the policy each year.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

Another player who famously ran into this situation was Aaron Boone. When Boone wrecked his knee playing pickup basketball, his contract was voided and the team was off the hook for his salary because he had engaged in a "prohibited activity" (i.e., pickup basketball).

You can bet your bottom dollar that the list of "prohibited activities" in his contract was more or less a pass-through from a similar list outlined in the team's insurance policy covering the player.

TheWinWarblist said...

Carney Lansford nearly killed himself racing snowmobiles. I remember that was a prohibited activity. And Mattingly want allowed to do hardly anything for fear he'd wreck his back.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Interesting stuff.

I know that back in the day, the Yanks forbade Ruth to do almost anything after awhile in the off-season, even play golf.

This was foolish, in that for all the Babe liked to booze, eat, and carouse, he really did work out a good deal in the off-season—went riding, golfed, worked out with trainers, etc.

The Yanks' edict supposedly led to his legs atrophying prematurely—though considering the fact that he played until 40 and was a star until about 38, I don't suppose it took TOO much time off his career.