Saturday, January 16, 2021

Kluber is a start, but the Yankees still face huge questions

Let's not bury the lede here:

Bravo to Hal, Cash, and whatever wonky office schlub pushed the Yankees into signing Corey Kluber yesterday, just hours after retaining DJ LeMahieu. 

It was a golden Yankee day! the kind old George used to give us, breaking up an otherwise dead January. For hours, the Yankees trended high on Twitter. Last night, they became the talk of baseball. All eyes on our team! 

The way it used to be... 

Way to go, chief! Hip-hip! Hip-hip! Hip-hip!

But... if I may, some questions: 

Did all that money spent on LeMahieu and Kluber just crush the team's free agent fund? 

Have we more to spend, or are we tapped out by self-imposed austerity?

Was yesterday the beginning of a pennant year, or a half-court shot from a graying team?

For now, let's focus on Kluber. We hooked him for one year at $11 million - higher, I suspect, than originally anticipated. (That suggests at least one another bidder. Someone else saw Kluber's upside?

And make no mistake: The upside is real. If Kluber returns to form, the Yanks will win the AL East. Seriously. He won't be our No. 2. He'll be our ace. He was that good in Cleveland, three years ago, before the injuries. 

Ugh. The injuries. Kluber didn't suffer tweaks. He suffered breaks. A fractured pitching arm. Yikes. Thus, the Yankees yesterday did what seems impossible: They made a fragile roster even more fragile. 

You thought James Paxton a china doll? Well, at any moment, Kluber could grab his shoulder and vanish... forever. Any ache or pain will likely send him to the IL. Last time we rolled the dice like this, it was Troy Tulowitzki... great player, big upside, fine character... couldn't stay on the field. This could be that. 

So... now comes the hard part. Brian Cashman will once again chase his white whale, the stud pitcher that has forever eluded him. For trade chips, he's got Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar and the prospects he kept last July. But he cannot land another Paxton, Gray, Pineda, Vazquez, Eovaldi, Pavano, Igawa, et al. This time, we need a keeper. 

And here's the rub: What GM trades an ascending young starter, unless it's an absolutely incredible package, or he secretly suspects the guy is ready to break? And who sends him to the Yankees, where any success will get hyped every night? Good luck to Cashman. Trading for a good pitcher: It's almost an impossible task. 

So... bravo to the Yankees. Now, what? Well, seems to me, they need a Tanaka-like pitcher - you know - an innings-eater, a big-game guy, somebody who can handle NYC, a fellow who fits into the clubhouse - the way, oh, the way Tanaka did. Yep, a Tanaka clone. Someone with Tanaka's character, Tanaka's work ethic. Anybody come to mind?

17 comments:

ranger_lp said...

Rumor is that the Yanks want to trade for Luis Castillo...

Magnus7319 said...

Klubot + Tanaka would be great. Klubot at the expense of Tanaka sucks.

I'd be more worried about Kluber's shoulder tear from last year over his arm fracture off a freak line drive from 2018 btw

Anonymous said...

Ranger,

I read that as well. He would be a good pick up. I guess it comes down to the cost. I don't see the Yankees trading Frazier. I think he's our starting LF. Unfortunately AnDUjar doesn't have a position. Particularly since DJ can play 3rd if Urshala gets hurt and Stanton has DH wrapped up.

They need to clear spots on the 40 man roster soon so they will probably make a trade using multiple players that are on the 40.

I hope they hang on to Monty, Schmidt, Garcia, Yajure and Gil. Maybe they can trade German who probably needs a fresh start somewhere. Would a package of any three of German, AnDUjar, Ottavino, or Abreau get it done. That would solve a lot of problems.


Magnus,

Good point about Kluber's arm fracture.

He didn't require surgery on the tear but it is definitely concerning. At least he did his rehab with the Yankees coaches so, while nothing is guaranteed at least he comes with a stamp of approval by people that have something to lose if they are wrong.

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

LeMahieu has had an OPS BELOW .800 for seven of his ten major league seasons. He's been above .900 only two times. Do you know which LeMahieu you're getting? Are you SURE about that as his body leaves its physical peak farther and farther behind with each passing year? Cashman, awash in recency bias, has no idea how about serious overall player evaluation. Now you're going to have two expensive DECLINING millstones crushing this franchise from here to eternity. You get the losing team you deserve when you slaver over idiotic contracts like this.

13bit said...

Yes My Heart Belongs To Daddy
So I simply couldn't be bad
Yes I'm gonna marry daddy
Da-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ad
If you feel romantic laddy
Let me warn you right from the start
That My Heart Belongs To Daddy
And my daddy belongs to my heart

Anonymous said...

In case any of you geezers don't know how to interpret OPS as referenced in my post just above, that means that for 70 percent of his MLB career LeMahieu has been a mediocre player. And the laws of biology tell us that he's likely to revert to that norm during the entirety of his Yankee contract. THIS IS GOING TO SUCK BIG TIME. You read it here first. You'll have only yourselves to blame for your mindless cheerleading of this idiotic move.

HoraceClarke66 said...

LeMahieu has been an extraordinary player in Yankee Stadium...where, of course, he will now be playing half his games for the length of this contract. Whatever he did in other places and other times, his OPS was .893 in 2019, and 1.011 in 2020. Which led that league.

He is also a superb fielder, at several different positions, making him especially valuable on a team that suffers constant, debilitating injuries.

Is he a superstar? No. Is $15 million a year superstar money today? No. Is anyone in place in the minors to step into his shoes? No. Is Francisco Lindor still available? No.

Are the Yankees committed to a "win now" track that will require them to have as good as possible in 2021? Yes.

Is basic logic better than spewing dimwitted insults in thrall to a blinkered addiction to certain statistics? Well, you be the judge.

Anonymous said...

Dimwitted insults? You mean as in citing FACTS, as opposed to relying on your superannuated seat-of-the-pants bullshit, time after time after time, devoid of logical or empirical foundation? In case you didn't notice, MR. BLOG ORACLE, six of LeMahieu's crapola sub-.800-OPS seasons occurred in COLORADO, where the home park is even more batter-friendly than the new Yankee Stadium. in two of those seasons, his OPS was sub-.700, which is just DREADFUL in a launching pad like that where pitchers can't even get a decent break on their sliders and curveballs--and most of those crapola seasons occurred in his twenties, at his biological peak, a peak that is now in the rearview mirror and getting more distant by the minute. So you're telling me that one-and-a-half above-average seasons playing half his games in Yankees Stadium, heading into his thirties, trumps seven mediocre seasons playing half his games in an even more hitter-friendly park. Sorry, HC66, you're just a blubbering old bluffer who can't muster a shred of factual or logical ballast for your "analysis"--which is just so much wishful thinking with a few diversionary personal barbs thrown in for the edification of your fellow band of cognitively and factually challenged tribesmen. Nice try--but your ignorance and petty malice are showing, a diverting on one from your tendentious hash of apologetics for what will turn out to be a horrible signing, over which you will be leading the chorus of wailing when this turkey regresses to his career norms over the LONG course of this contract. I, of course, will be back to smack my lips in satisfaction.

Anonymous said...

"Certain statistics"--you mean his actual batting performance for 70 percent of his career? LOL! What statistics do you rely on? The amount of pure crap that you pull out of your tuchis on this blog?

Anonymous said...

"Win now"? We've been hearing that forever. But the Yankees "win never"--as in not for eleven years, despite trying to "win now" every year with the same old reckless profligate signings. See the pattern?

ranger_lp said...

@Hoss...Yanks couldn't get Lindor because he would be asking for a huge contract...at least $25 million minimally but more like $30-35 million a year.

Yanks already have two contracts like that...Cole and Stanton. Judge will be up for that type of money starting in 2023. No team can afford 3 of those contracts...not even the Dodgers. The Yanks did this right showing fiscal responsibility (they don't want the huge luxury tax but can deal with the smaller one). They were lucky that DJL gave them the hometown discount to make this work.

13bit said...

I'm glad to be done with Pauline Hickey and am grateful for moderation on this blog. I'm especially glad that, in the spirit of the old "Fairness Doctrine," now long dead in other arenas of public discourse, we continue to allow StatBoy to publish his sad, humorless tirades, excoriating us for being "mindless cheerleaders," as well as "blubbering old buffers" and other assorted niceties.

It's good to be reminded every day how grateful I am to not be a numbers-driven drone who doesn't believe in magic, can't laugh at himself, and is positively obsessed with how the community see others. For years now, it's been a blessing to witness someone else's pathological behavior and hatred and be reminded that it's not me. I don't have to live within the confines of that tortured cranium.

Thank you!!!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Always willing to argue facts, Anon. And you bring up some relevant ones.

The "dimwitted insults" referred to just that: referring to people you disagreed with as idiotic, mindless, and slavering.

Also, geezers. Though I don't take that as an insult, and am in fact proud to be a geezer.

HoraceClarke66 said...

ranger, I can certainly see an argument against grabbing Lindor—who I suspect as well would have been much, much more expensive for our boys, a contender in the same league as the Cleveland Napoleons.

I'm just saying that, once he was gone, it became all the more important to sign DJ.

Also, I could have seen going a whole other way, and not even signing DJ. But there was no plan. There never is. There is only the strange and almost ubiquitous deterioration of every young player the Yankees bring up—such as The Gleyber, their shortstop of the future, who it now seems cannot play shortstop. Or hit!

I always prefer building for the long term. But because of the inexplicable decline of nearly all the mainstays in The Dynasty What Never Was, the Yanks find themselves locked into a "win-now" strategy. I do agree that it is unlikely to happen. But if they're going to play it that way, they should not let their best player walk for nothing.

13bit said...

The "win now" strategy could change with, for lack of a better description, "political will."

Ditch Cash and get a real baseball guy in charge
Don't tank, but slowly float around and not make any big moves while rebuilding the farm.
And, most difficult - be patient. This actually is not rocket science. It's not all stats - you still need to consider temperament and chemistry, as well as that elusive thing known as "clutch" playing and the ability to handle New York - along with stats. But it's nothing a good baseball person can't do.
We are locked into "win now" for other reasons, I think, having more to do with keeping the yearly profit percentage at a certain number. The Gammonite are enlisted to sell the lie every year and most people buy into it because life is too painful to not have hope, even if some shithead is serving it to you from a flaming cauldron of diarrhea.
"Win now" is a deliberate decision, but for the wrong reasons. It would be great, I'm sure, for them to "win now," but they need to keep propping that up so that they can "sell tickets now" and "keep the fantasy alive now," among other things.

~Stupid Geezer Number 11

Anonymous said...

Hey HC66--the volume of hair-raising objurgation on this blog directed in all directions--from you and duque and others toward Cashman, "Gammonites," the Steinbrenners, toward other commenters, is all fine with you--as long it isn't directed even in part against your windy inept bloviations. In point of fact, you are not "always willing to argue facts." You answer none of the copious facts that I have mustered. You dodge them with your customary whining about tone. Why don't you give up your parson impersonation and discuss the substance?

Anonymous said...

13bit--I guess HC66 approves of your witless, frustrated invective--no hypocritical sermons for you from the blog Emily Post! Just for people who point out that he has no idea what he's talking about. Curious, that. As for you--you have no grasp of anything pertaining to actual BASEBALL. OPS is not an advanced stat--it's a combination of on-base percentage and slugging percentage. On-base percentage is an amalgam of batting average, walks, HBP--all traditional measurements, and seemingly all too abstruse for you. How do YOU evaluate player performance--by the number of times you whack off to the player's baseball card? You're a sad specimen.