Monday, June 4, 2018

Yes, the rotation is in tatters due to the weather, but what's the long-term plan?

Thanks to climate change, the Yankees for the next month will need a six-man rotation, with the final man being Insert Name Here. It could be David Hale. It could be Cole Hamels. It could be Keyser Soze or Anthony Scaramucci. Somehow, the Yankees must Frankenstein a starter every sixth day, while hoping none of the current battle-weary five eat some tainted romaine lettuce or do a Henry Cotto with a Q-tip. 

Clearly, between now and Aug. 1, Brian Cashman will trade for pitching. Because a hallmark of the Cashmanic management style is to never - ever - flag a future trade, there's no point in speculating who he will target and who he will trade. Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be. And, frankly, considering the state of the Yankiverse, the front office deserves respect. In the past, we could look at a lineup of Pronk and Vernon Wells and instinctively condemn every trade, but that door swings both ways. Cashman hasn't made a massive, extinction-level blunder in recent years; maybe he learned his lesson? 

Today, though, let's ignore the ongoing crunch (the weather) and ponder the distant future - (the climate) - that is, 2019 and 2020, because, hey, we don't want just one ring; we want a handful. Let's think long term rotation. Here goes.

1. We have a legitimate ace in Luis Severino. At 24, he may be the best young pitcher in baseball. He could win a Cy Young. He's making only $604,000 this year. Next year, he hits arbitration. We have him until 2023. Goddamm!

2. We have a question mark in Masahiro Tanaka. He's 29, with the stretched ligament thingy, and he's ours through 2020 (at $23 mill per season.) His great October last year obscured a disappointing regular season. This year, it's getting harder to ignore. He's becoming a five-inning, four-run starter. Ugh.  

3. We have another "?" in Sonny Gray. He's ours through 2020, though next winter, he'll hit arbitration. He's only 28. Frankly, I dunno what to think about this guy.

4. This is the final roundup for CC Sabathia. It's hard to imagine him returning, though - hey - Bartolo Colon? You never know... but... nah.

5. We have a potential lugnut in Jordan Montgomery. He's 25, returning from his first injury scare in pro ball. He's throwing off a flat surface, could return late this month. Right now, Montgomery looks like the fulcrum on which the future rotation could pivot; if he heals and returns, he's a legitimate 3rd or 4th starter for the long haul. If something happens, well, uh-oh.

6. There is Domingo German, 25, who intermittently reminds us of a developing Severino - and who then promptly gets cuffed around. Let's drop the Sevy comparisons. Yes, they're Latinos and right-handed; after that, they're entirely different. Plus, German is older, and guys like Severino don't come in bunches. One thing, though: Over the next six weeks, we should have a good idea of what German can do; he's going to get a full shot.

7. We have several prospects, some of whom might see arrive this season. Highest on the list is Justus Sheffield, who was seriously ripped by his former agent in a story this weekend. The story coincided with perhaps his worst start of the season, and I wonder if the two are linked. There are other prospects of note, but most are in the low end of the farm system. 

What's missing here? Obviously, we are at least one pitcher shy of a championship rotation. The mystery pitcher would be 31-34 year-old, a veteran on his final incarnation. Maybe he has two years left. Preferably, a wily left-hander. 

And, folks, no matter how we slice it, the name at the top of the list is Cole Hamels. His contract gives the Rangers - or whoever has him - a $20 million team option for 2019. (Also a $6 million buyout, plus incentives.) 

I don't think anybody here gets jolly over Hamels - I don't - but he's a clear fit, and with any trade, the devil is in the details. The Rangers won't give him away. If a bidding war ensues, I'd rather see Railriders. But Hamels fits both the two-month and the two-year plan. 

Could it happen? The Rangers recently got whacked by a Dallas beat reporter for their handling of Dillon Tate, a former golden boy that they traded to the Yankees for Carlos Beltran. They're probably still smarting from the words, and no Texas suit wants to be seen as cozy with us damn, uppity, liberal, Jesus-hatin' Yankees. Can Cash get it done? Forget the storms from global warming. The trade winds are blowing, and those are the clouds on our horizon. 

3 comments:

HoraceClarke66 said...

I'm for picking up Cole Hamels if the Rangers are willing to accept any combination of Tyler Wade, Mike Ford, Neil Walker, Kyle Higashioka, Chasen Shreve, Jonathan Holder, and Jacoby Ellsbury (we'll even pick up the salary).

I might—MIGHT—be willing to consider throwing in any combination of Ryan McBroom, Aaron Hicks, Billy McKinney, Chance Adams, Luis Cessa, and Tyler Austin, though I'd want a couple minor leagues arms for that as well.

I know, I know: nobody is going to give us an experienced major-league starter for our old junk. Which is fine by me.

Trouble is, these teams always seem willing to take somebody else's marginal players—hence the Houston deal for Gerrit Cole. They lay in wait for the Yankees, and I don't think we should give in, even if it means missing out on a ring this year.

Stop competing. Keep building.

TheWinWarblist said...

Here here, but I think we need Hicks for the time being. Once a team gets to the playoffs all bets are off, any team can win. And the Yanks are definitely going to the playoffs this year. No way we should sell the farm for this year alone.

Anonymous said...

lie in wait

lay in wait would be the past tense

Pundits should know their basic tenses.