Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Your YBNH Halligators!—The Breakdown, Pt. III—Outfield!

Sorry for the delay on this, folks.  Even as we speak, more and more of El Duque's coin flips are being taken—and lost—on the 2019 Hallies.

And so we come to the outfield, where Coops imperiously informed the Knights of the Press Box that we have six, count 'em six players rarin' to go, and no need of some recent NL MVP still in his mid-twenties.

In fact—and as usual—this is an area where the Hallies are even more vulnerable than they were in 2018, when they started the spring with ten—count 'em, ten!—outfielders, and ended up with Shane Robinson and Tyler Wade walking upon the Bronx' mountain green, as it were.

The 2019 outfield is ridiculously, unnecessarily shaky even before we get started.

To begin with, Coops went out and pulled off another of his bizarre "coups" ("Coop's Coups"?  Wait, I had that for dinner last night!) by giving a 7-year, $70-million contract to Aaron Hicks, who the writers like to call The Second-Best Centerfielder in Baseball more often than we used to call James Brown The Hardest Working Man in Show Business.

This is still a hangover from the halcyon, first half of the 2017 season, when Hicks gave us a tantalizing  glimpse of his old, first-round draft pick promise, by compiling a .290 BA and .913 OPS with 10 homers and 7 stolen bases.

Alas, THAT Aaron Hicks has never been seen again, thanks mainly to the injuries which have plagued his career and led him to miss 25 games in 2018.

Hey, I don't mean to knock the man. He has been one of Coops' best trash-heap pick-ups, and if his being The Second-Best Centerfielder in Baseball is more an indication of how weak the position is right now than anything else, well, so what?  He is still a valued lug nut.

The trouble, to quote Eliot, is that while Hicks is "not Prince Hamlet, nor am meant to be,/ Am an attendant lord, one that will do/ To swell a progress, start a scene or two"...he's being paid like he is the big Dane, and it just makes me more and more melancholy. His $10 mill a year will not seem like such a bargain by 2021, never mind 2025.

Nowhere in the outfield, though, are the Hallies really secure.

It's very good that Aaron Judge is looking to make contact on two strikes now, because what he was doing last year sure wasn't playing in the sticks.  Don't get me wrong, I love the big guy to death. But his meltdown on the road last year—.212, .688, 9 homers and 22 ribbies—is a flashing dashboard light, as are his two serious injuries in as many seasons.  Much as it breaks my heart to (constantly) say it, a more canny organization would truly consider trading The Judge now, at his peak value.

That's not going to happen, though—and with Coops in charge, it's undoubtedly just as well—so all I can say is:  it's great to have at least one such mensch on a team run by momzers.

Turning to the other Twin Tower, Giancarlo Stanton...what's left to say?  It would be nice if he could at least play some decent outfield for us this year, but don't count on it.  He did carry us at times in 2018, and he put up with a lot of guff and kept his mouth shut, which is all to the good.

But let's face it:  the odds are much higher that he's going to repeat his horrible, un-clutch performance against the BoSox and maybe even set the season strikeout record, than that he will revert to Miami form.  What will be most galling is watching Hal use him as an excuse for passing up one great free agent after another over the next nine years.

Ma Boone has already informed us that our last, remaining big hope for the future, The Man Who Hates His Nickname But Can't Remember His Cats',  Clint Frazier, will probably be going down to Dunder Mifflin Land to start the season "so he can play regularly."

He should play regularly right here, in Yankee Stadium.  I know, I know: the big relief is that he seemsso farknock swan—to be physically all right.  But enough already.  Frazier is now 24.  Slug his big ol' potential into the lineup, and let's see what we got.

Instead, we will have to watch yet another season of Gardy starting out like a lion and ending up like The Slaughtered Lamb.

Again, the usual caveat:  I love Gardy to death.  Come to think of it, we have a pretty darned lovable outfield all-around.

But the Hallies have never been willing to accept the obvious, that Gardy is a man built to be a terrific No. 4 OF, but who just cannot take the wear and tear of a full season. Lifetime, he is a .274/.771 guy, with 67 HR and 149 SB in the first half; .243/.685, with 29 HR and 108 SB in the second.

He had his worst full season in the majors in 2018, hitting just .236, and the decision to bring him back as a starter was foolish.  Gardy will be making $7.5 mill; combine that with the wages Hicks, CC, and Gen. LeMahieu are making in 2019—none of whom will be vaguely worth it—and you're up to $37.5 million, or more than the cost of a Harper.

Speaking of crazy salary decisions, we're still only talking five outfielders here.  For somme reason the Yanks continue to keep Rashad Crawford, a man who can't run and can't hit for power around (now in his 8th pro season!), and while it has been good to see some signs of life out of Estevan Floral, it is far from certain if and when he'll contribute anything in the show.

But then, who IS that great sixth outfielder?  Tyler Wade?  Luke Voit?  Hmm...I keep wondering, but all I'm drawing is some wavering image of Fenway Park...


Anonymous said...

Good luck with Jacoby Hicks!

Parson Tom said...

Trade Judge? Best hitter on the team. Best all-round on the team. Top 10 player in baseball under team control for at least a couple more seasons. Ummm .... that aint gonna happen. Nor should it.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Actually, I think Andujar's the best hitter.

But I agree that it should not happen with who would be doing the trading. The trouble is, the Yanks have to devise some wa of getting him to hit better than .212 on the road for a whole season.

Anonymous said...

Hey, chilluns, what's dat sound,
Ev'rybody look what's comin' round

from off in the misty distance
comes a muffled, rhythmic sound

As it approaches, comes closer,
I fetch my opera glasses (a requisite for games in YSIII)

Why, it's the Gammonitic Glle Society,
They're chanting, "Zieg Hal!! Zieg Hal!! Ziiiieg HAL!!! LB (No J)

Anonymous said...

that's Gammonitic GLEE Society, dammit. LB (No J)

JM said...

Gammonitic Glee Society has a nice ring to it.

Btw, a nice ring is what we're not getting this year. Again.