Tuesday, November 20, 2018

"NO JUSTUS, NO PEACE! NO JUSTUS, NO PEACE! NO JUSTUS, NO PEACE..."

Somebody once said, "You can't predict baseball, Suzyn." Then again, as Casey Stengel once said, "They say a lot of things, but sometimes, it isn't always so."

Well, one thing you can bank on: Time after time, season after season, Brian "Cooperstown" Cashman will trade away a concrete pillar of the Yankee future in his relentless, Holy Grail quest for the baseball equivalent of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl - the so-called "power arm." From Jeff Weaver to Sonny Gray, from Javier Vazquez to Michael Pineda, from Humberto Sanchez to Ed Yarnell, Cashman will always take a gleeful bite of a baited hook. And yesterday, the Yankees traded their best pitching prospect in recent years for James Paxton, a 30 year-old lefty who was twice on the disabled list last year.

Listen: They say the devil is in the details. In baseball, the devil is in the clock. Once again, the Yankees are trading the future to win now, and there is always peril in that equation. Surely, Cashman must know another Sonny Gray debacle could permanently sabotage his record in New York. The Yankees haven't won donkey dick in 10 years, and if this deal goes south, the vultures - (like me) - will be circling.   

Today's headline says the Yanks acquired Mariners "ace" James Paxton for three prospects. Well, let's look under the hood... 

1. Paxton was Seattle's "ace" in the way Luis Severino qualified for it on the Yankees: He was the best starter on a staff of Venus de Milos. His ERA last year jumped by nearly one run per game, and the Mariners were all but listing him on Amazon Prime. Is that how a team treats its "ace?" (See: Mets de Grom.) At 30, he's already thrown a lifetime of pitches. And the Yankees today note that they'll have for two years at a relatively modest price. (A chilling question: Was money the consideration? Are we still playing to the salary cap, so Food Stamps Hal Steinbrenner can buy the YES Network?)

But but BUT... they say Paxton - "Big Maple," he's called - is a rock-ribbed, vice-gripped infantry commando. He threw a no-hitter last year. Late in the season, he shut down the Yankees. If he succeeds, considering Sevy's backsliding, Paxton could easily be our best starter in 2019. That's not nuthin. Is he an "ace?" Fuck if I know. For me, Ace is the place of the helpful hardware man.  

2. The Yankees just punted on another top prospect, Justus Sheffield, and one of these days, instead of nosing the red button and getting a food pellet, they're going to receive an electric shock. Still, why am I not surprised? For some reason, they were never all in on Sheffield last season. They went through the second half searching for someone - anyone - but still overlooked Sheffield.

In August, they tried Chance Adams. In September, long after his soil-sheeted bed was made, they tried Sonny Gray. Over and over, they tried Lance Lynn. At the end, for reasons it would the Mueller investigation to explain, they yet again tried Luis Cessa. But they never gave the ball to Sheffield. How do you explain that, other than to conclude that somebody - Cashman, Rothschild, the ghost of Billy Connor - had simply decided Sheffield wouldn't make it. 

But but BUT... here's the rub: Someone in Seattle thinks otherwise.

3. Eric Swanson is one of those spare change prospects the Yankees will claim they had to deal, or else they'd lose him in the Rule 5 draft. That always makes a trade seem palatable, even when we give away Ben Gamel. Swanson rolled through Double A last year, then hit turbulence at Scranton in 13 starts. He's 25, big as a hospital, and could be a nice bullpen piece. Guys like him hit age 26, add 3 mph to their fastball, and throw lights out for a season. (See Mean Chad Green.) Brace yourselves: This guy will probably come out of their bullpen some night and strike out our side on 10 pitches. But he won't be an ace.

4. Dom Thompson-Williams, 23, had a surprisingly good year down in the A-ball netherworld - hitting .299 with 22 HRs and 20 stolen bases. He hit .290 at high-A Tampa, a notorious pitchers' league. You didn't find him in our "prospect rankings," but Seattle probably chose him from a list of bonus babies - the Dermis Garcias, the Nelson Gomezes - who have drawn more ink. If the Yankees got him in a trade, today's tabs would feature at least one Gammonite suggesting the deal will someday be considered "the Dom Thom trade." You can't predict baseball. You can predict news. 

Listen: I don't what to make of this. It's not the defining element of our winter. It's just the first rock thrown. We can only judge it by what happens next. But long haul... if Paxton turns out to be another pitcher beyond his sell-date, Cashman better cancel his reservation at the Otesaga Hotel for the 2030 induction ceremonies, because his trip to Cooperstown will get shut down by fan protests. Cars won't be able to make it due to the pile of human arms that are stacked in the middle of Route 80. It'll be like one of those Saudi social events, you know... when instead of a bottle opener, somebody brings a bone saw. 

15 comments:

John M said...

A bone saw. I like this idea.

This will be terrible. Sheffield is better than Paxton, and younger, so even if both are injury-prone, Sheffield was the one to keep.

Paxton's ERA in away games is terrible. Every game at Yankee Stadium will be an away game. He may pitch once in Seattle. We can look forward to that.

It's getting really hard to root for a team led by executives as stupid and incompetent as ours.

Anonymous said...


Gotta disagree. Maybe Sheffield pans out maybe he doesn't but at least they're trying to get proven pitchers with upside.

Undeniably Cashman has shown a lack of ability to trade for pitching in the off season. Actually that's too kind. He flat out sucks at it. However let's look at the trades Duque mentioned. All of the pitchers listed were failures in NY. But Let's see what they gave up.

Jeff Weaver - Ted Lilly and two Class AA prospects, the right-hander Jason Arnold and outfielder John-Ford Griffin. So two stiffs and Ted Lilly. Lily then put up ERAs of 4.63, 4.06, 5.56 and 4.31 over the next four years . So Meh.

Sonny Gray - Fowler, Mateo, Kaprielian Fowler hasn't done anything yet (Jury is still out) Mateo seems like a bust and Kaprielian may never pitch. So Meh. Plus we don't know what the return will be on Gray. Who knows? Not Me.

Javier Vazquez 1 - Nick Johnson, Randy Choate, and Juan Rivera. Meh.

Javier Vazquez 2 – Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn, and minor-league pitcher Arodys Vizcaino. My understanding was that Cabrera, who is actually good, was Cano’s party buddy and had to go. Cano became Cano after he left so addition by subtraction. Vizcaino turned into a quality reliever. Mixed trade. Then again we did get Boone Logan. I kid. I kid.

Michael Pineda - Jesus (the original ice cream sandwich) Montero Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Humberto Sanchez – Gary Sheffield (The last three years of his career HR 25, 19, 10 AVG .265, .225, .276 (107 games, 52 games, 44 games) Uh… Meh!

Ed Yarnell - Mike Lowell. OK this was a horrendous trade. Stupid beyond words. Epic fail!

So one one hand Cashman’s off season trading record for pitching hasn’t been good. But Aside from Lowell he didn’t really give up anyone that mattered.

His in season pitching acquisitions on the other had seem to have worked out. (I can’t prove that right now – I’ve got stuff to do.) We will have to see how this one pans out but at least he tries.

Doug K.







TheWinWarblist said...

The Tiny Ben Gamel, despite being left handed, on offense is barely better than replacement level thus far. And oh boyo, can he stink it up in the field!

He's so cute and little. But he's not a good major leaguer.

13bit said...

Thus endeth the juju.

Anonymous said...

SO LETS RECAP OUR MOVES SO FAR FOR 2019.

RESIGNED CC (AWFUL MOVE#1) $8 MILLION
RESIGNED GARDY (AWFUL MOVE#2) $7.5 MILLION
PICKED UP HANSER ALBERTO (???) ?
TRADED FOR JAMES PAXTON (AWFUL MOVE #3)-GAVE UP OUR #1 PROSPECT AND MORE AND DIDN'T GET ANYTHING NEAR AN ACE IN RETURN. KLUBER WAS THE GUY WHO WOULD HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE, NOT THIS GUY.

IN MY OPINION, SO FAR, CASHMAN GETS AN "F" THIS OFF-SEASON.

THERE IS STILL TIME TO IMPROVE IT TO A "C-".

....BUT HE HAS TO WORK HARD...REAL HARD.

I'M NOT GETTING THAT WARM FUCKING FUZZY FEELING.

TheWinWarblist said...

I'm going to listen to "Born to Warble" over and over and over ...

Anonymous said...

ALL CAPS,

Not trying to be the resident contrarian I promise. :) but...

Sabathia was an easy, sure go ahead for me. 8 million is the going price for what? Pretty much nothing as far as starters go, and Sabbathia will pitch fine as the number five.

Plus, and not that I give a crap if the Yankees make money on it but it makes sense for them because he has several milestones coming up. Let him do it as a Yankee. Great clubhouse guy and I have to tell you the giving up 1/2 million bucks to throw at a guy went a long way for me.

If he falls apart he falls apart. The goal here is to have enough quality starters so that he is a true number 5 and, as a number 5, they could do a lot worse. The kids will get their shot because there's a lot of fragility built into the rotation (sadly). Totally good with it.

Same with Gardner. Hicks can be fragile and we have NO ONE to back him up in center. Gardy generally has a good 1/2 year in him. With rest maybe more. Again the key is for him not to be a regular. Good FOURTH/FIFTH outfielder and an actual centerfielder not some guy who we say can play center but really can't.

The goal is to put someone else in left (Harper, Frazier, hell Stanton doesn't suck out there and should be more used to it this year. If Gardy is leading off on opening day that would suck. $7.5 is also bupkis. Great clubhouse guy. Totally good with it.

Good with Paxton too. See my above post. My guess is that the price for Kluber or Corrasco included Gleybar or AnDUjar. Paxton is one level down and so was the price. Right now he is going to be in the rotation instead of Gray (if everything else stays the same) and that's a HUGE upgrade.

Hanso Alberto is AAA fodder as far as I can tell.

So --- We haven't signed a free agent (or two, or three) yet and we've solidified the back end of the rotation, upgraded our frontline pitching, and got a back up for Hicks who we know can deliver for the most part. Without really spending (Yet). Freeing up resources for the real kill.

If we don't spend I will be royally pissed but these moves are perfectly reasonable to me.

Doug K.

13bit said...

I'm in a blah blah blah state of mind...

Anonymous said...

....BUT DOUG.....

DO WE REALLY WANT TO SEE CC PITCH AGAINST THE RED SOX, A YEAR OLDER, MULTIPLE TIMES NEXT SEASON?...IN FENWAY?...IN SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER?? ...AND IN THE HOTTEST WEATHER, CC SWEATS PROFUSELY AND LOOKS EXHAUSTED BY THE 3RD INNING.

I REALIZE CC IS A TEAM LEADER, PLAYER FAVORITE, AND BORDERLINE GREAT YANKEE, BUT AT THIS POINT, I FEEL LIKE WE HAVE ALMOST NO CHANCE TO WIN WHEN HE PITCHES LATE IN THE SEASON AGAISNT THE RED SOX, (ESPECIALLY IN FENWAY).

IN A POST A WEEK OR 2 AGO, MR. DUQUE POINTED OUT HOW WE CAN'T WORRY ABOUT BEING SO "LOYAL" TO OUR FAVORITE PLAYERS IF THEY ARE NOT PRODUCING THE SAME. WITH THE RED SOX, IF YOU DON'T PRODUCE, YOU'RE GONE.

WHILE OWNERSHIP IS NOBLE TO SHOW "LOYALTY" TO OUR VETERAN PLAYERS, IT IS THE COLD, BUSINESS LIKE, RED SOX THAT WIN THE PRIZE BY CUTTING TIES WHEN THERE LACK OF PRODUCTION.

HoraceClarke66 said...

ALL-CAPS, I love "that warm fucking fuzzy feeling"!

Doug K., I don't mind signing Gardy and CC in and of themselves so much, as I mind what they indicate.

They ain't signing anybody. That's what CC (and Paxton) mean. The rotation next year will be Severino, Tanaka, Paxton, CC, and Who Knows—maybe Cessa, maybe whoever we get for Sonny.

Gardy will be patrolling left field, along with Jacoby. (Frazier is not coming back, poor guy.)

No Harper, no Manny. No Corbin.

Hal needs money for buying out Fox, and maybe his Pigeons venture.

We will be lucky if CC gets out of spring training without a major knee injury. Gardy will be down to about .210 by September. But as we will be firmly ensconced in third, that won't really matter.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Oh, and by the way, on Paxton: 23 home runs in 2018.

He had never allowed more than 9 before in a season. Then, just last year: 23.

Also, get this—and you may have to sit down first:

Of those 23 home runs, Paxton allowed 12 at home.

TWELVE.

In other words, Paxton not only allowed 155 percent more home runs than he ever had before in 2018. He ALSO allowed 33 percent more IN HOME GAMES ALONE. In a pitcher's park.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Anonymous said...

ALL CAPS,

No I don't want to have CC on the mound with the season on the line in Fenway etc. He needs to be a number five. You wouldn't want ANY #5 on the mound in the circumstance you described. Not Abreu or Johhny Lasagna, or Johhny Avacado.

I see him and Gardner as supporting pieces not regulars. I don't want Gardner leading off in that game either. I want Gleybar! The key to the off season comes down to Hal's next moves which takes me to ...

Hoss,

I can't imagine that Hal doesn't go hard after at least one of the big three. (Harper, Machado, Corbin) Duque just wrote about the Paxton trade in the post after this and there's a sabermetrics case that Paxton was a great move.

I don't know about this newfangled fancy math but I do know this, Paxton >>>>> Gray. Because right now that's who slot he is taking. All pitchers come with risk. And, to be fair, I thought the Gray move was good one at this time last year.

Clearly I was wrong. But according to my own DougKbermetrics I'm only wrong 23.6% of the time so I am due to revert to the mean by getting this one right.

Should we add Corbin we would have four, count em four number one/two type guys as Corbin was AZ's #1 and Paxton was the M's #1.

Sevi
Corbin
Paxton
Tanaka

As I like to say, not too shabby.

I think Hal is pissed. I don't think that Steinbrenners like to be mocked. (Which is probably why he never comes here.)

We shall see.

BTW I read over at RAB that the money the Yankees pay in luxury tax, for all their talk about not wanting to line the other owner's pockets turns out to be not that much per team. It was in an answer to the mailbag.

Last,

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who write on this blog. I can't begin to express how grateful I am to have a place to share my thoughts and to read yours. It's always one of the best parts of my day.

Doug K.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Very funny, Doug K., and happy Thanksgiving to you, too!!

I didn't think the Sonny Gray trade was SO bad, in that I thought he would at least be a serviceable, No. 4-5 starter.

What I objected to was the young guys the Yanks were giving up.

Well, turns out I was wrong on both counts. Sonny Gray—the human song lyric—turned out to be one of the worst head cases this side of Steve Sax, while the kids we gave up haven't shown a thing. (That last could change in a heartbeat, of course.)

Paxton, on the other hand, has every warning light on the dashboard flashing: frequent trips to the DL, no great track record, crazy numbers of, first, wild pitches and then home runs over the last 2 seasons. Bad road record. Everything trending down, not up, in the second half of last year.

As for our other number 1-2s....

I think they're very iffy.

I still think there's a 1 in 3 chance Sevvy ends up drug/alcohol rehab this off-season or next year. If not, he's still a major head case. Who can't show up on time for the biggest game of his life? A more imaginative GM would have traded his ass already (then again, a more imaginative GM would have made sure he was surrounded by some competent coaches and manager).

Tanaka's arm continues to hang by a thread, and Corbin...where is Corbin?

This off-season should be a snap—IF we want to sign anybody. Allegedly, the big three out there—Corbin, Harper, and Machado—are just dying to be Yankees.

Why aren't they already? Why aren't we at least hearing constant rumors of their trips to New York, the offers going back and forth, etc?

Why are we wasting even reduced money on Gardy and CC if we're about to crowd up the outfield and starting staff?

This is like the dog that didn't bark. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Anonymous said...


Hoss,

I suppose they could have waited on CC and Gardner. It's not like teams were lining up for them. So you may be right. I may be crazy. (and you know everyone reading this fills in the rest of the lyric.)

Speaking of... really liked "All about the bucks bout the bucks (no pennants)".


Doug K.

ranger_lp said...

@Horace...so next year's side bet is who will give up more HRs...Tanaka or Paxton?