'98 Yanks rally to tie All-Time Yankee series with '51 team

Series tied: 2-2
Knobby, Jeet, sparkplugs!
Gil takes El Duque downtown!
In dramatic appearance, Joe D ignites stadium!
Mo flubs lead, then comes through!
Billy fails!
Next up: Vic Raschi v David Cone!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Did the pandemic season of 2020 kill all the catchers?

I was compiling hilarious punch lists for Brian Cashman - you know, things to do immediately after D.J. LeMahieu finally decides where he'll play in 2021. For example...

If DJ stays, our Monument Hall-bound GM should: 

1. Call Gleyber, tell him our prayers are answered: He'll play SS!
2. Beg Hal for more money to sign Tanaka. Remind Hal of "the photos."
3. Call Eric Kratz and see if he wants to unretire.

If DJ goes:

1. Call Gleyber, tell him our prayers are answered: He'll play
2. Call Sir Didi, say our plan worked; make an offer.
3. Beg Hal for more money. See Tanaka and show barnyard photos.
4. Call Erik Kratz...

Okay, what's my deal with the 40-year-old Kratz? No, I'm not his agent. No, we're not a "thing." Aside from the fact that he seems to be a truly delightful man, who functioned as  as a de facto player/coach, there's this: 

The lost 2020 season has created a catcher-desert, not just within the Yankee Death Barge, but across the vast tundra of the game. Without the minor leagues, dozens of young catchers last year missed out on the seasoning, the game experience, it takes to reach the show. 

We can stew over the decision to keep Gary Sanchez -biggest Yank disappointment since Kevin Maas - but, frankly, what were the alternatives? 

Our organizational depth chart shows two - (2), that's dos (Spanish), deux (French), ithnain (Arabic) - catchers: Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka. Two. A pair. A couple. Bookends. Peas in a pod. Brooks & Shields!  The Mets recently spilled $40 million upon James McCann, a middling talent who happened to be the second best free agent catcher on the market. The top guy, JT Realmuto, will be so expensive that Yank fans don't even bother to fantasize him

The Yankees' top catching prospects spent 2020 in goat yoga, English classes or cryogenic freezers - with no game experience. Most were too young to even get sent to the Yankee summer camp in Moosic, Pa. Thus, we saw the bonanza for ancient warhorses like Kratz, who seemed poised to retire two years ago. 

According to mlb.com, our best catching prospects remain years away from eyeballing Scranton's Route 81 skyline. Each missed his chance to call a game, learn to frame, or hit a slider. Here's what we have, as catchers. Keep in mind, these rankings are basically frozen in place from 2019. 

1. Austin Wells, 21, our 1st round pick last June, (ranked 6th overall in the franchise.) He has yet to see a professional pitch.

2. Anthony Siegler, 21, our 1st round pick in 2018 (ranked 16th.) In normal times, he might have reached Double A last summer.  

3. Antonio Gomez, 19, (ranked 22nd) a moog, barely beyond the Gulf Coast League. A long, long way from High Single A.

4. Josh Breaux, 23, (ranked 23rd) 2nd round pick in 2018 who unfortunately missed much of 2019 with injuries. This year, if lucky, he'll shoot for Triple A.

The usual suspects, last seen in 2019 at scattered locations throughout the Yankee system: Ryan Larnaway, Ryan Lidge, Kellin Deglan, Francisco Arcia, Eduardo Navas, Jorge Saez, Francisco Diaz. Take a pick. Instant Lottery. But how do they improve without playing?

Last October, even with a 28-man playoffs roster, the Yankees didn't add a third catcher. 

So... whadda we do? Clearly, Bri-Cash has some trips to the MLB scrap yard ahead of him. The Yankees need backstops, and some might be driving for Grubhub. Let's not delete Kratz's number, and hold onto those photos of Hal. If something happens to our Big Two, we're going to need them.


JM said...

Too bad we don't have this guy named Romine who I've heard about. He sounds pretty good, certainly better than Sanchez has been lately.

On the other hand, we could go the King Solomon route and just get a third catcher by splitting Sanchez in half. His defense would doubtless improve and neither half would be swinging for the fences on every pitch, since it's tough enough to stand on one leg. One-armed singles would work, and hopping to the base wouldn't be any slower than he is now as a whole Sanchez. And we'd have Kyle, at least, to pick up some playing time if need be.

Just an idea.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

Q: Did the pandemic season of 2020 kill all the catchers?

A: No.  I can think of one who was missed.  Passed balls will continue to be an issue.

DickAllen1964 said...

January is always the worst month of the year for me. I’m depressed mostly because there not only is no baseball to speak of, but also because there is only talk of contracts and money. I can’t even muster any outrage when none of our stars have swung and missed yet another pitch bouncing in the left batters box.

And while Brain climbs out of his cardboard box in Hell’s Kitchen, Harold remains a cipher. If you keep your head down, you can’t get hit, can you?

And not a creature was stirring. Not even a mouse. And I in my cap settled down for a long winters nap.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Some men look at Austin Romine and ask why. I look at Austin Romine and ask, why not?

HoraceClarke66 said...

From the late 1940s-1950s, the Yankees obtained or developed:

Yogi Berra
Elston Howard
Johnny Blanchard
Gus Triandos
Sherm Lollar
Hal Smith
Clint Courtney
Aaron Robinson
Ralph Houk

At times, literally half the league was starting current or former Yankees at catcher.

Today, we can't raise a one, no matter how many we draft.