Monday, July 27, 2020

A Yankee weekend of Frazier, Gleyber, Syracuse and - gulp - Trump.

Clint Frazier - aka "Red Thunder," the worst baseball nickname in history - is back in the Electric City of central Pennsyltucky, this time with a difference. This time, he cannot go into an 0-for-30 funk, being psychologically neutered by the Yankee front office. This time, there is no International League, no Governor's Cup, no Scranton-Wilkes Barre - just a shuttered Anthracite Museum, fewer takeout options in Moosic and less traffic on Route 81.

Once again, Yank fans should wonder what hath Cashman wrought for this poor guy. He would make most 25-man rosters, start for many teams and maybe even bat third for a few. For the Yankees, his only path to playing time involves the starters getting hurt. While injuries are inevitable, who wants to root for tweaks and strains? 

So Red is back in Scranton, as another season slips away. He turns 26 in September. 

Which brings me to 23-year-old Gleyber Torres - whose John Sterling Homer Holler - "And like a good Gleyber, Torres is there!" - is the worst since "Georgie Juices One," with its suggestion of chemistry. Gleyber's fielding at SS is starting to worry me. Yesterday, in the eighth, his botched grounder led to a bases-full crisis for Tommy Kahnle, who fanned two Nats to save the lead. In the ninth, he botched another. Then again, Gleyber's bat effectively won the game, so what do we do? 

Late-inning replacement? Right now, we have none. Neither Tyler Wade nor Thairo Estrada represent vast improvements with the glove. The closest to a MLB-ready SS might be Kyle Holder, who is hanging with Frazier in Scranton, or to send Cashman out to the MLB scrapheap, where defensive middle infielders are always lurking.  

In my fantasy world, Gio Urshela - a Gold Glove level 3B - moves to SS, a position he basically plays during overshifts. Gleyber moves home to 2B, and DJ LeMahieu to first. Which raises the fundamental question: Can Miguel Andujar play 3B? Did the Yankees give up on him too soon? It's a dream of mine, of course, and at times, we simply must assume the Yankees know what they are doing. But the perfect lineup has Andujar at third. He's wasted in the OF (and standing in the way of Red Thunder.)

Which brings me to - well - Syracuse, home of IT IS HIGH and true epicenter of the Yankiverse. This was revealed Sunday as Patrick Corbin - a Syracusan who grew up wanting to play for the Yankees - flirted with a perfect game through the first four. Two winters ago, the Yankees should have signed Corbin. Had they done so, they would probably be defending World Champions. 

But today, our great hope is Gerrit Cole, whose dad grew up in - yep - Syracuse! He was/is a die-hard Yankee fan, which is a huge reason why Gerrit is now a Yankee. Thank God we woke up. Let's hope Cashman doesn't whiff on the next Syracuse connection. (Remember: It's Syracuse, not Rochester, the home of lost first-round draft pick Cito Culver. And don't even think about Albany.) 

Finally, there's Trump. For some reason, he has pulled out of throwing the ceremonial pitch at a Yankee game next month. His excuse - that he's too busy fighting the coronavirus - is ludicrous, considering that he spent an afternoon this weekend playing golf with Brett Favre. 

Nope. I don't buy it. I think the guy can't throw. He's got a weenie arm, a rag for a shoulder, and he would make Doc Fauci look like Nolan Ryan. The guy can't throw a whit. He's big on bluster, a regular Mad Hungarian on the mound, but he can't throw. Sad.

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