Saturday, December 14, 2019

To Sir with love

Take my word for this: In a comic book universe, nobody ever dies. The head-wound may look fatal, the death ray might have landed squarely, and the inter-dimensional porthole may have closed behind him, but trust me here: He'll be back. They all come back. Heroes, villains, in-between... doesn't matter. They all come back.

Within the Yankiverse, a similar force of resurrection exists. Andy Pettitte came back. So did Ruben Sierra, Tino Martinez, Mike Stanton, Nick Johnson, Roger Clemens, Tyler Clippard, Aaron Boone, Nick Swisher (to the minors, anyway) and (ugh) Javier Vazquez. Now, this doesn't happen to everyone. Joba never returned; nor have Ian Kennedy or Phil Hughes, the once-upon-a-time trio of future Yankee greats. But here's the thing: They will.

Some sunny Sunday afternoon, maybe five years from now, they will amble gingerly from the dugout, bald and buttery, and jog onto the field, waving to the crowd. It will be Old-Timers Day, and if the Fates allow us to be watching, we'll wipe away tears recalling the kids who came up from Columbus, or Albany, or Scranton, or in the case of Sir Didi Gregorius, the Arizona desert.

Someday, Didi will return. Maybe it will be for a pennant stretch. Maybe he'll play 3B, or be a fat DH. Or maybe he will have white hair and a tapered stride. But we will recognize the smile, effortless and everlasting, and our hearts will ache from remembering this weekend long ago... the day Didi left.

On that day, we will be reminded that Didi did the impossible: He replaced Jeter. Moreover, before Didi, the Yankee "Sir" was Sidney Ponson. At least that's off our backs. 

But today, we face more than simple reflections on a great ex-Yankee. There is rightful concern to the danger of letting Didi go. It means the future face of the Yankees, Gleyber Torres, moves to SS. If it works, no problem. If it doesn't, well, it could unleash a series of dominoes. 

Moving Gleyber means DJ LeMahieu plays 2B. No problem there. But it leaves two question marks at 1B: Luke Voit (who, frankly, fell apart in the second half) and Mike Ford (who hasn't been around long enough.) Neither will win a gold glove, and a poor-fielding 1B can undermine an entire infield.

It almost begs the question of whether the Yankees should keep LeMahieu at first, use Miguel Andujar at 3B and move Gio Urshela to 2B. But can Miggy play 3B? Can Gio play 2B? As problems go, this is not a team-crusher. The Yankees should be able to figure everything out by late May. But simply stated: Didi is no small loss. The man who replaced Jeter won't easily be replaced by Tyler Wade or Thairo Estrada.

But but BUT... let's be real here: If the signing of Gerrit Cole meant the loss of Didi, so be it. I wish the team could have given Didi a qualifying offer; a draft pick would be nice. But I'm not going to squawk. We just signed the most expensive pitcher in history. And on that future summer day when Didi steps onto the field, as the fans shout and shutter their tears, who knows? Maybe Cole will be warming up. 

Between now and then, thank you, Sir. We had our ups and downs. But you always brought your smile, and more often than not, you gave it to us. We will never forget you. And we will await your return.


Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

Assuming Urshela can still hit in 2020 -- not a sure thing -- an infield of Miggy, Gleyber, Gio, and General LeMay at first at least is going to do a lot of hitting.

Even if that happens, and even if it works, I am going to miss Didi's smile.

Anonymous said...

Nothing to add but this...

Doug K.

JM said...

Didi will be back and will be missed in the meantime.

Just as Romine could be back after a few more seasons of mental errors, .220 hitting, and endless injuries via ICS. That is going to really hurt in the meantime.

You know a player has really stumbled in every way possible when you actually want him to suck, as bad as it is for the team. I've basically reached that point with Sanchez.

Of course, I will change my mind if he comes out in 2020 and hits .300 with 40+ HRs and a .350+ average with RISP. But that's simply dreaming large.

Anonymous said...

@ JM, yeah Sanchez has been an enigma, aside from his first half season in the majors. He sure looked like a .300 hitter. From there on, he has been incredibly streaky. He's either very good or very bad. He did greatly improve on the passed balls this past year, so I am willing to wait another year. Some players develop very slowly. Can take five years easily. In Sanchez's case, I think he spoiled us with that great first impression. Then came injuries and inconsistency. So far, he simply hasn't learned how to hit situationally. He is another "swing for the fences, on every swing" guy. I don't think that it's all his fault. It appears to me that Yankee management and coaches actually encourage all their hitters to take that approach. (Must be the stupid nerds with the computers calculating their numbers who think that approach maximizes the total runs scored. What the dopes fail to realize is that it does not maximize World Series championships.) So if we did trade Sanchez, say to Washington, I think he would immediately turn it around and hit .300 with 30 homers and 100 RBI en route to a WS chamionship there.

The Hammer of God

Carl J. Weitz said...

I hate to be the pessimist regarding the signing of Gerrit Cole. Don't get me wrong-it was a great signing. But let me temper that with 2 words from the 1970's that came back to haunt us royally after signing one of the biggest pitching free agent contracts of the day with us, 6 years at 2 million. Those 2 words? DON GULLETT.

For those too young to remember, Gullett was a hard-throwing left-hander with 4 above average pitches including a fastball that touched 100. Sparky Anderson thought he was the best in baseball and a can't miss HOF. Said Sparky of Don Gullet in 1976:

" Barring another injury,” Anderson said, “I figure Don’s a cinch to win 20 or more this season.” In 1974 Anderson said, “It’s the only Hall of Fame battery active in baseball today.” The manager was speaking of Johnny Bench and Don Gullett. “Barring an injury, (Gullett) is almost sure of making the Hall of Fame. With Gullett’s body and the way he stays in shape, I know he’s going to pitch until he’s at least 35. So, doing that you know he’s going to win at least 250 games with the start he has. And anything over 250 has to rate a pitcher serious consideration for the Hall of Fame.”
Sparky had the one caveat—barring injury. And injuries would eventually keep Gullett from attaining the career victory total Anderson predicted. Anderson had good reason to expect great things for the young left-hander. The three best southpaws of the previous generation—Warren Spahn, Whitey Ford, and Sandy Koufax—were in the Hall of Fame. When Gullett celebrated his 25th birthday in 1976 he had already won 91 games—many more than Spahn (8), Ford (43), and Koufax (53) had won by that age.

However, Gullett could never avoid injury, be it hepatitis or being hit by a line drive. And he suffered numerous freak accidents. He was the Carl Pavano of the 1970's.
On May 20, 1976 he suffered a muscle spasm in his neck, which kept him out of action until June 5. In late July he came down with neck and shoulder miseries that sidelined him until the end of August. An inflammation between his left shoulder and his neck bothered him all season. Despite these difficulties, Gullett won 11 games and lost only three in 1976.

After the Reds swept us in the '76 WS, the Reds balked at giving a pitcher a six-year contract, so he signed with us. A dozen clubs bid for his services, and the New York Yankees prevailed with a six-year two-million dollar contract). They recognized that the pitcher had a history of injury problems, but noting that the young man had the best winning percentage among active pitchers, they were willing to gamble on his health.

Carl J. Weitz said...


On April 10, 1977, Gullett made his debut as a Yankee. The Two Million Dollar Man, as the New York Daily News dubbed him, pitched well but gave up a pair of home runs to Sixto Lezcano as the Bronx Bombers went down to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers. The injury jinx reared its ugly head again just over two weeks later. Pitching in Baltimore, Gullett slipped and fell, spraining his left ankle and pulling a neck muscle. At the end of July he missed six weeks with a sore shoulder. Still, he managed to win 14 games while losing only four and led the American League with a .778 winning percentage.

The Yankees won the AL East and faced Kansas City in the ALCS. Gullett started the first game for New York and lasted only two innings, giving up four runs in his short stay on the mound during a 7-2 loss. Yankee manager Billy Martin said that Gullett had a shoulder injury and probably wouldn’t pitch again in the series. The Yankees came back to defeat the Royals, three games to two and earned another trip to the World Series.

To the surprise of many, Gullett started the first game of the Series against the National League champion Dodgers. With the Yankees leading 3-2 in the ninth inning it appeared Gullett had a great chance to win the game. However, after he allowed a hit and a one-out walk, Gullett was taken out. Sparky Lyle relieved and allowed a single that the tying run. Lyle shut the Dodgers down the rest of the day, with the Yankees winning 4-3 in 12 innings.
The Yankees won three of the first four games of the series. When Gullett faced the Dodgers in Game Five, his club needed only one more win to clinch the World Series. In the fourth inning Steve Yeager hit a three-run home run off a forkball that stayed high, to make the score, 5-0. Gullett was removed with one out in the fifth and eventually charged with the loss. However, the Yankees got their fourth victory and the 1977 world championship by winning Game Six.

An aching left shoulder limited Gullett to only eight appearances in 1978. Before he could make his first start, he was placed on the disabled list. After coming off the DL on June 3, he won four of his first six starts, and pitched two complete games. On July 9 he faced the Milwaukee Brewers and could not get out of the first inning. He allowed four runs on three hits and four bases on balls in two-thirds of an inning and was charged with the loss. It was the last time he ever pitched in the majors, his playing career over at the age of 27. On September 29 he underwent surgery for a double tear of his rotator cuff. Although unable to play in the 1978 World Series, he was on the Yankees’ roster. Gullett is one of the few men in the history of baseball to be on the roster of four consecutive World Series champions—Cincinnati in 1975 and 1976 and the Yankees in 1977 and 1978.
After the surgery Gullett was unable to pitch again. The Yankees released him on October 30, 1980. He closed out his career with 109 wins and 50 losses, for a winning percentage of .686, second only to Whitey Ford (.690) among all left-handed pitchers with a minimum of 100 wins.
So as Horace mentioned a few days ago, the Yankee fans have to walk on egg shells for at least 5 years with Cole because you never know what will happen to a player. Especially after the Yankees sign them.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Great history, Carl. And yep, pitchers get hurt, just like thoroughbreds drop dead. They are both fragile creatures.

The one difference is, I think, that the Reds really overworked Gullett at a young age, at least by the standards we have today. They were constantly pushing him hard, very young, watching him get hurt...then pushing him again.

In 1971, for instance, his first full major-league season, Gullett, just 20 years old, threw 217 2/3 innings. He was great, winning 16 games...but by 1972 he could go only 134 2/3, won only 9 games, and his ERA went from 2.65 to 3.94.

When he seemed to regain his form the following year, the Reds—who always had the starting pitching shorts in those days—pushed him all the more. He started 30 games, and relieved in 15 more, picking up 7 complete games and 2 saves. The year after THAT, in 1974, he was almost exclusively a starter, but threw 243 innings.

He was 23, and after that, he never worked as many as 160 innings in a season again, and never had an ERA under 3.00 again.

Gerrit Cole, by contrast, was taken up much more slowly by the Pirates and Astros.

He's never exceeded the 212 innings he pitched last year—a figure Gullett had already surpassed 3 times by the time he was 5 years younger.

To this day, Cole has never made a relief appearance in the majors. And his very young years were spent in college.

Sure, he had his own arm miseries, in 2016-2017, but they were nothing like Gullett's, and now he's probably at the age when he can begin to throw more innings in a season.

And hey, if he helps us win 2 rings, as Gullett did, that will be terrific!

Automatedcardsonline said...

Get $5,500 USD every day, for six months!

See how it works
Do you know you can hack into any ATM machine with a hacked ATM card??
Make up you mind before applying, straight deal...

Order for a blank ATM card now and get millions within a week!: contact us
via { (on Whatsapp,+1 929-279-3894 on Whatsapp}

We have specially programmed ATM cards that  can be use to hack ATM
machines, the ATM cards can be used to withdraw at the ATM or swipe, at
stores and POS. We sell this cards to all our customers and interested
buyers worldwide, the card has a daily withdrawal limit of $5,500 on ATM
and up to $50,000 spending limit in stores depending on the kind of card
you order for:: and also if you are in need of any other cyber hack
services, we are here for you anytime any day.

Here is our price lists for the ATM CARDS:

Cards that withdraw $5,500 per day costs $200 USD
Cards that withdraw $10,000 per day costs $850 USD
Cards that withdraw $35,000 per day costs $2,200 USD
Cards that withdraw $50,000 per day costs $5,500 USD
Cards that withdraw $100,000 per day costs $8,500 USD

make up your mind before applying, straight deal!!!

The price include shipping fees and charges, order now: contact us via
email address::{ or (on Whatsapp +1 929-279-3894)

Scottish Yankee fan said...

Ah the above post it all makes sense now

The Cole contract is being paid for by Hal going all around New York with hacked ATM cards withdrawing $500 a time

TheWinWarblist said...


Carl J. Weitz said...

Good point Horace. Back then inte "olden days" if you were a kid with great stuff combined with control, they didn't restrict the number of innings you could pitch. Perhaps their attitude was who cares about burning a pitcher out after 6-7 years. Contracts were cheap and pitchers replaceable. Today, with massive contracts like Cole's, they are considered an investment. Something to get the maximum benefit from regarding their cost. Actually a smart idea. That's why teams have variations on the "Joba Rules" which they hope avoids overuse and therefore injuries. Personally, I think the Yankees go to far in that direction.

Yes, the Reds did overuse Gullett but I think he also had bad luck or a body not meant for sports.

Carl J. Weitz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Isiyku Abdulahi said...

I really want the world to know about this great man who brought back happiness into my life again after my husband left me and the kids 3 years ago for another women online when i contacted Dr Believe he cast a love spell for me within 48 hours my ex husband start calling me and begging for forgiveness for everything that have happened between us. I was so happy to have my family back together with love again here is the email of Dr Believe via a man with the great powers you can also call him or add him on Whats-app: +2348156148821
God bless you
I am very grateful for your help in my marriage.