Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Hot Stove! Pitching!

I was going to separate this into starting pitching and relief pitching, but like a badly cracked egg, it doesn't really separate.  And boy, is this egg cracked.

2019 SHOULD have demonstrated that the Big Bullpen does not make up for a team almost bereft of starting pitching, at least not in the postseason.

One of the things we should give Ma Boone his props for is using the pen judiciously.  None of the Yanks' Big Five of relievers—Chapo, The pitcher formerly known as Zach, Hanging Chad, Mr. Zero, and "I don't know how to spell my ordinary Irish name" Kahnle—exceeded their career-high innings totals for a single season.

And none of them were particularly overwhelming in the playoffs.  Even in the regular season, they were far from "The Greatest Bullpen Ever" that the Gammonites kept insisting they were.

Hey, that's baseball.  Particularly now that The Great One has left us.  Relievers are capricious, jittery creatures, rather like race horses.

That's why you need more starters.  But who?

El Duque has already basically covered this one.  Next year, the Yanks are likely to have a rotation of:  Maple Sapling, Tiger Tanaka, and Happless.

Yep, that's it right now.  And frankly, if this were 1871...we still wouldn't be in particularly good shape, considering their performances and innings pitched last year.

Will the German Investigation be over by next spring?  I understand MLB now has investigators combing through Ukraine, looking for evidence.

What about the free agents out there?  What will Sevvy be able to give us?  How about Deivi Garcia, our 20-year-old wonder boy, who made it all the way to Scranton this year?  Or my favorite dark horse, the rejuvenated Mike King?

The conventional wisdom out there seems to be that Coops will trade for another starter which, if his track record is any indication, will be disastrous, sooner or later.

Yes, I'm looking at you:  Jeff Weaver, Kevin Brown, Javier Vazquez, Javier Vazquez, Randy Johnson, Lynn Lance Lynn, Cory Lidle, Sonny Gray, Chad Gaudin, Michael Pineda, and Nathan Eovaldi.

Or even, much of the time, signing them as free agents—say Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright, Jose "The Bronze Giant" Contreras, Kei Igawa, and Sidney Ponson.

So, how does our present grab bag of mutt, loose bolts, assorted marbles, and possible diamond or two in the (very) rough sort out?

What I would do:  Go big for the free agents, of course.  Start with Cole, then Strasburg.  Word is that Cole is a lock for Southern California and Strasburg is going back to DC, but like Michael Corleone, I would make them an offer they couldn't refuse.

If they still wouldn't budge, I'd go for Bumgarner.  I would also sign Will Smith, that lefty reliever who had a terrific season with the Giants this year.  You know that somebody in The Greatest Bullpen What Ever Was will break down this year.

If the Yankees actually want to win before The Dynasty That Never Was expires, they need to risk money on established, free-agent pitchers.

But of course we all know that HAL is not going to do any of that. might be time for the six-man rotation, which I still think is a better idea than the "opener."

Paxton, Tanaka, Severino, German, Happ, and Mike King—if they can all go.  Cortes might be able to fill in for one of them.  Deivi was not so wondrous in Scranton—5.40 ERA—but it might be possible to put him in the pen.

I would also see what Toonces would sign for, and bring him back if he's not outrageously expensive.  And, hey, who knows what Montgomery might still have?  The Afrika Korps couldn't beat him.

WWCCD?  First, look for the Yanks to sign the one free agent they shouldn't sign, just because he's cheapest, and because it will enable HAL to look like he's really trying to win (when he's not).

That's right:  Zack Wheeler, fresh from the Culture of Mediocrity out in Flushing.

Wheeler actually took a big step backward last season, after a very good 2018.  His ERA shot up from 3.31 to 3.96, he allowed 196 hit in 195 1/3 innings, and his home runs allowed went from 14 to 22.

What's more, he was a considerably worse pitcher outside of the Stadium That Should Still Be Known As Shea.  He's also 29, and has already missed two seasons in his career with injuries.

Oh, yeah.  You know he's right in the Coops/HAL wheelhouse.

So look for a staff of Paxton, Tanaka, Wheeler, Severino, and German next year, with more "openers" from Greene.  I think King is too good to be left off the team entirely, but he'll probably be relegated to the bullpen, at least for awhile.

Or traded, in some jaw-droppingly stupid deal.  Yes, this, too, is probably yet to come and we can only cringe in advance at what mediocrity we will obtain in exchange for a really promising young player.

Hey, maybe it will all work out.  Or maybe, with Tanaka's operation, a Sevvy who may not be recovered, a suspended German, a still hapless Happ, and a Paxton who has absolutely no ability to play with the small hurts, Chance Adams will get his 45th chance to show what he's got come July.

This will be rough.


13bit said...

"Jeff Weaver, Kevin Brown, Javier Vazquez, Javier Vazquez, Randy Johnson, Lynn Lance Lynn, Cory Lidle, Sonny Gray, Chad Gaudin, Michael Pineda, and Nathan Eovaldi.

Or even, much of the time, signing them as free agents—say Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright, Jose "The Bronze Giant" Contreras, Kei Igawa, and Sidney Ponson."

Instant PTSD, Hoss, instant...

HoraceClarke66 said...


Anonymous said...

Outstanding column.

It's so much fun during Hot Stove season to dream of what could be, yet so depressing knowing that none of it will come to pass.


Billy Barule said...

I’ll call it now: Mike King, Albert Abreau and Estevan Florial will all go in a trade for Robbie Ray. That’s the kind of batshit crazy trade we can expect from Cash

HoraceClarke66 said...

Thanks Brett...and Billy Barule, comment like yours make me glad that Coops never reads this site! You're right, he's all too likely to do exactly that.

Anonymous said...







JM said...

I'm rooting for Monty. The big comeback, as James Brown sang.

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