Monday, July 30, 2018

Three-Dimensional Chess. Or Something.

I have to say, this latest flurry of trade deadline activity by Cooperstown Cashman has me bewitched, bothered, and bewildered.

So far, I agree with all sides.

Wouldn't we have been better off going with a rejuvenated Shreve—and maybe Cody Carroll and a Jolly Josh Rogers—if we're trying to win this year?  And why exactly are we getting rid of a Double-A reliever with a 0.62 ERA?

On the other hand, as a card-carrying prospect hugger—and as someone who has really soured on this year's team as constituted—I can't be upset at Coops for looking to pile up prospects whenever he can, even at the trade deadline.

And on the rather freakish third hand I possess that still disturbs my wife, can we really tell if a 16-year-old pitcher is going to be anything? Does his 96-mph fastball mean that he's going to be throwing about 115 by the time he's 23?  Or Tommy-John'ed by 18?

It is a puzzlement. I have my doubts about getting rid of guys who are currently killing it in Double- and Triple-A for a guys who have not thrown a single pitch in the pros. I also have my worries about teenaged millionaires, thanks to a certain, rotund catcher or two.

Is Coops really playing three-dimensional chess with all these moves—or just throwing all the pieces up in the air and hoping they land in a perfect, checkmate position?

All I can say is...can't we play the Royals everyday?


JM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JM said...

My first reaction to anything Cashman does is skepticism. Stanton? Skepticism. Happ instead of Eovaldi? Skepticism. (Though I have to admit, maybe Nate didn't want to come back and was thrilled to go to Boston and kick the Yankees' ass.) Drury? Skepticism. Gray? Skepticism. Walker? Beyond skepticism.

The real truth behind all of it, I think, is that Cashman knows he has to shake the bush so Hal and the rest of MLB know he's still there. He just makes moves, then makes more moves to correct the first moves, and so on and so on. If he just sat on his hands 90% of the time, the team would be just as good or better. Especially true when it comes to unloading kids in his never-ending pursuit of tinkering. Will Gallegos become an ace over time? Will McKinney be an All-Star outfielder? Will that kid with the 0.62 ERA become one of the premiere closers in the game, as Chapman fades and becomes more erratic than he already can be? All of the international money we've picked up is nice, but did we really need it? Or would we have been better off playing the hand we had, and seeing if the 20 and 22 year olds we had might just be worth a little patience, versus signing more 16 year olds?

I consider it a miracle that everything that happened early in the season resulted in Andujar and Torres nailing down the positions they should have had from the beginning, making unnecessary the signings of Walker (who we will never be rid of, it seems) and Drury (who I kind of feel sorry go from the starting Yankee third baseman to a yoyo and then a trade chip must have been traumatic). What the hell happened with Toe? That guy is a sparkplug, but Walker is preferred? I'm still kind of in shock that Judge and Sanchez and Bird were given a real chance. And I still have a feeling that Frazier would have been the better choice over Hicks, which means the kid doesn't dive into a wall in the minors, trying to regain a spot on the big-league roster. Stanton, Frazier, and Judge make for a pretty decent outfield, even if Hicks has streaks that make you go hmmm.

Having spent 40-plus years at different companies of various sizes, Cashman strikes me as one of those people who create a problem and then want glory for "solving" the problem they basically created. Lax management caused us to have a lame minor league pipeline, so he pulls off the Miller and Chapman trades, restocks us with promising prospects, then does his best to either block them or trade them. Same old same old. Meanwhile, he saddles us with gigantic contracts from A-Rod to Ells to Stanton that ultimately backfire over time. (The jury is still out on Stanton, but a couple of the hits he's been getting the past month would likely have made a difference in our W-L record if they had come earlier in the year.) I wouldn't be surprised if Frazier is dealt at some point after we spend a bazillion dollars on Bryce Harper and then spend years ruing his signing.

It's really sad how often the Red Sox manage to pick up some fine players that we don't even make a play for, and then build on that. We sign Neil Walker and play around the margins too much of the time. Every good move seems to get undone by a bunch of questionable or lousy moves. Every mistake takes too long to rectify and gets compounded by more mistakes that are meant to fix the problems created.

Just another reminder that baseball is a business, and executives know what politics to play so they don't get fired. Whether or not we get anywhere this year, that much is as plain as the nose on Chasen Shreve's face.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

From Newsday yesterday:
"Utility infielder Ronald Torreyes, who has not been with the Yankees since June 26 as he addressed a personal issue, has been reinstated to a minor-league assignment. He has been assigned to high Class A Tampa in the Florida State League. "

Personal issue is his wife's medical issue. She had twins over the winter and I think there were complications. Wishing him and his wife the best.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

I agree with John M. I've already written off 2018 as a W.S. year for the NYYs -- hey, I did that early in 2017, and look how well that (almost) worked out.

But in the offseason, there are numerous chances for Cashman to hamstring the team forever and make some REALLY bad decisions:

A. Happ is a free agent.
B. Britton is a free agent.
C. Harper is a free agent.
D. Machado is a free agent.
E. Sabathia's contract ends with 2018.
F. Ellsbury's contract goes on past my own personal expiration date.
G. Our AAA team appears to have zero catchers. Gary's vulnerability makes that tragic.

That's a lot of thinking for this one guy. I did not include the key decisions that must be made before the Rule 5 draft, because I honestly don't know how many of our prospects are eligible for that disaster.

[incidentally, Luis Torrens, the catcher SD claimed from NYYs in 2016 via Rule 5, is now playing for a High A team -- ]

My personal hope is that Cashman is cashiered right after the W.S. ends.

Duya think Hal would do it?

13bit said...

I'm glad Happ won a game - don't get me wrong - we need wins in order to pretend to vie for the one-game away wildcard.

That being said, Happ's win is the worst thing that could have happened. It's like Cashman caught a good hit off the stem and it made him feel good. Instant reaction: "I'm a fucking genius. Let me go trade my way to the world series."

Cashman, eat the dirt that I scrape off the floor of a Bolivian outhouse, you mongering schmo.

TheWinWarblist said...

Schmooing monger, is right.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I think you guys are all doing some first-rate thinking on this—better than goes on in the Yanks' luxury suites.

John M., you hit the nail on the head: Coops creates problems and then "solves" them. He is, above all, the greatest office politician the Yankees have ever had.

As Joe FOB points out, we are now told incessantly that we have such a great farm system—but it couldn't really come with even a good defensive catcher when we needed one this year.

Nonetheless, the injuries will all work in Cashman's favor. No matter where the Yankees end up, we will be told, 'What could he do with all those guys hurt? He has once again put himself in a perfect POLITICAL position—just not the team in a perfect position to win.

If the older pick-ups work out, he's a genius. If all these good-looking young players he is giving away end up, it will be a few years from now, and if anyone notices he'll say he had to do it to make up for the injuries.

(One small caveat: I think Clint Frazier was first hurt in a spring training game, no? But no doubt, he was going all out to "prove" himself to the big team.)

HoraceClarke66 said...

What's never addressed, too, are the greater, more fundamental problems with this team.

Above all, the lack of situational hitting. As I understand it, the Yankees have one of the worst records of hitting in the clutch in the major leagues. No, it doesn't just SEEM we are always loading the bases with fewer than 2 outs and not scoring. We ARE, because guys are taught never to adjust.

I've noticed that some of them—Bird and Hicks, for example—seem to be doing it on their own of late, which is a good trend.

Anonymous said...

Hoss, I can understand why you agree with all sides because it makes sense. Some of these moves will take years to manifest, good or bad.

They trade a guy with promise to get cash for a 16 year old with more promise who may never reach the bigs. They get a starter who could go all Aaron Small or might end up in Sunny Gray territory. How are we to know?

The one thing I do like though, is Cashman's commitment to Kaizen, to making incremental improvements to the team. Basically he's working with a 40 man and a 25 man and he just keeps tweaking.

What I have learned from being a big time Yankee fan for decades is there are no guarantees both good and bad. I thought Manny Banuelos was a slam dunk number one. Jesus Montero? Star! Gary Sanchez? Uh oh.

Sometimes they are right. Don't give the money to Cano. Sometimes they are wrong. Give the money to Jacoby. Trade for Arod! / Don't Resign Arod!

We don't know. We only think we do. I was once mad that they traded for Paul O'Neil.

For us as fans it is the journey and who we choose to take it with. For me it is a select group of friends, my late father, and all of you.

What makes this my favorite site in all of sportsdom is how articulate we are in our relative ignorance. Sure I could turn on the radio and hear "Sanchez Sucks!" but on this site we say it in Latin, or in rhyme, or as part of detective story, or as babble...

BTW I recently ordered "Rosetta Stone: Win Warblist" and I have to tell you after using it there are some very pithy remarks in there.So greetings and WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH to you.

I have to do some work so let me end with this.

The farm is depleted because all the good guys are up. The catchers are depleted because Sanchez sucks! If Frazier would stop banging his head it wouldn't matter that we traded away our outfield depth. Most of us are glad Shrive is gone (but we wish him well)and finally... one day left until the trade madness is over. I hope they trade for O'Neil.

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

In other words...

Gary Sanchez our catcher of late
Is a master of things at the plate
Sadly, he’s not a winner
Cause the plate is at dinner
And that’s why he might not be great.

Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Doug K., love the poem, and I could not have put it better myself!

I well remember feeling the same about O'Neill—and don't let them fool you, a lot of other fans did as well! Paulie had been something of a disappointment in Cincinnati, where Piniella tried to make him into a power hitter, while Roberto Kelly still seemed to have the potential to become a five-skill star.

So...the Yanks bring him to the Stadium, where he would seem tailor-made for the short porch, and told him just do your thing, don't worry about the home runs. And it worked! While Kelly gets hurt a lot and never quite fulfills his promise. Baseball is indeed a mysterious game.

So to write something I never thought I would, we have to give Cashman his props. Or at least some props. He does seem to have learned something in his time in the game, and I agree that it's good he keeps trying to pile up the bodies.

And you are right, the journey is the key. I sometimes forget that when we seem like we're getting too close to perfecting the team. "Just one more move, you idiot!..." But it can never quite be done—and we Yankees fans have been privileged to see so many more great ballplayers than most others.

Anonymous said...

I think that after all these trades we'll be in the ditch with flies buzzin' around our eyes

HoraceClarke66 said...

"They say I shot a man named Gray
And took his wife to Italy.
She inherited a million bucks
And when she died it came to me
I can't help it
If I'm lucky."

That WOULD be lucky. For us all!

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