Saturday, June 22, 2019

And suddenly the Yankees have no outfield depth

A year ago, around now, the Yankees didn't know what to do with all their outfielders. They roamed the Bronx like feral cats in a trailer park. There were the Aarons - Hicksie and Judgie - Gardy, Giancarlo, and then the B-Team: Neil Walker, Jace Peterson, Clint Frazier, Billy McKinney, et al. It was like the waiting room on Mount Everest. So deep was the larder that Cooperstown Cashman dealt McKinney to Toronto and jettisoned Peterson. And then, one day, suddenly, they were all gone.

Come the stretch run, the Yankees traveled to Fenway with Shane Robinson, a career minor leaguer, in RF, where they were swept away. (To his credit, Robinson drew a dramatic late-inning walk in one game, which could have inscribed him into Yankee lore, if Aroldis Chapman held the lead.) All those outfielders... poof.

Listen: The weather changes quickly in June. And last night, we caught a glimpse of the 2018 bugaboo. In a span of hours, the Death Star disclosed a nagging shoulder injury to Hicks, which might account his dismal hitting. (He's seeing Mr. MRI.) And halfway through the game, Cameron Maybin - Mr. June - limped onto the I-ELL(sbury) list with a strained calf. He's officially out for 10 days, but don't you believe it. He'll probably be gone through the all-star break, at the least. 

So, here we go again? 

Last year at the solstice, we stood in first place, two games up, with a record of 50-22. (We are now 5 up in the loss column, at 48-27.) Last year, we were sitting in the catbird's seat, just like today.

Well, this afternoon, to replace Maybin, Cashman will either recall a pitcher or another OF: Mike Tauchman or Clint Frazier look like the main candidates. The career minor-leaguer or the stud prospect. After Frazier powered the Yankees through May, you'd think he'd get the call. (If you want to drain him of hope during Hope Week, ignoring him is a fine way.) But the Yankees will probably opt for Tauchman, the expendable journeyman, the type who'd get sent to put out the fire at Chernobyl. 

Listen: I'm a Frazier fan. I want to watch his narrative play out on the main stage. He is one of the most interesting Yankee players in the last 10 years. He could be a great hitter. He could be a future punch line. This is why we become fans - to see what happens to our favorite characters.

That said, I steel myself for the trade that converts Frazier into a pitching rental. When the Yankee owner grabbed his hamstring and limped out of the bidding for Dallas Keuchel, we basically tweeted our plans for Frazier. He's fodder... good as gone.

Or, he was... until last night. In that brief span, the juju gods last night served notice: In a world of over-shifted defenses and over-sized biceps, the landscape changes quickly. When the Yankees do trade Frazier, they'll be a tweaked gonad away from another Shane Robinson - or in this case Ryan McBroom (having a nice year in Scranton, by the way.) We can look flush in June, dead in July. 

Funny thing about all those cats. They have a way of disappearing. 


ranger_lp said...

Yanks have depth in the broadcast booth. Why isn't Michael Kay on the 10 day EL? Sounded like he swallowed a chain saw last night...

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