Friday, January 8, 2021

With Lindor, Carrasco and - gulp - more to come, 2021 looks like a Mets year in NYC

Weeks ago, the major networks projected the Yankees as winners of the 2020 NYC Tabloids Back Page Buzz Race, as they've been since this blog began keeping score in 2017.  Wednesday, the numbers were certified and approved by Vice President Mike Pence. 

Write this down: The Yankees won't win in 2021.

Nope. We're entering a new era, a period when Met billboards  shade the interstates, Met caps dominate the streets, and hairy Met faces sell the carbohydrates of civilization. And the Mets shall rule the back pages of Gotham. 

Last year, the Yankees tallied 152 tabloid covers - down by 60 (practically a month of newspapers) - in 2019. Surely, Covid played a role, but then again: no sports franchise escaped the plague. And if the misery Mets had reached the MLB playoffs, they might have won the back page contest anyway. For four years, Yankee tabloid supremacy has eroded: 152 (this year), down from 212 (2019), 242 (2018) and 286 (2017.) Four years ago, they scored nearly twice as many pages. 

What in mid-2016 looked like a future Yankee resurgence has sputtered and crashed; we are a perennial wild card contender, good enough for a post-season cameo and a new pinstripe tradition: The season-ending, walk-off, gopher ball from El Chapo.

Well, yesterday, the Mets made a stunning move, one whose repercussions will last years. They obtained one of the game's rising stars, Francisco Lindor, who will presumably sign a long-term contract. For Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco, they surrendered a middling package of prospects which - had the Yankees tried - they could have beaten. 

Wait... did I say "Yankees?" I almost forgot them. (Get used to this.) While the Mets have been adding stars lately - (watch out: George Springer may be next) - the Death Barge is struggling to maintain its 2020 AL East Silver Medalist lineup, thanks to owner-imposed austerity. 

While Lindor was moving, the Death Barge treaded water in the D.J. LeMahieu contract talks, which seem to have become a staring contest. As a way of "honoring" LeMahieu - (without upping the offer, I guess) - Brian Cashman has vowed not to cut any deals until D.J. decides. Thus, Lindor went to the Mets for a "meh" handful of youngsters.  And if LeMahiue walks - the world champion Dodgers are circling overhead - it will leave the Yankees without the option Lindor once offered. (And the Georgia recount hasn't yet certified whether Gleyber Torres can play SS.)

(Okay, that's the last political reference - no, wait - except this. I ask you to close your eyes and recall that Randy Levine - our  Bozo-haired Randy Levine - was supposedly on the short list of candidates to be Donald Trump's chief of staff. Now, this might have been bluster, Levine burnishing his resume. But you have to wonder how the last three years would have played out with Levine running the White House. Any ideas... class?)

For the Yankees' current self-paralysis, as usual, I blame ownership. Honestly, I have nothing personal against Hal Steinbrenner; I'm sure he's a jolly-good fellow, which nobody can deny. But "Food Stamps Hal" has ruled over the most inept period in Yankee history - a decade characterized by one single-minded, full-blown, up-all-night obsession: To avoid paying luxury taxes. 

Every winter, that's the first thing we hear. Breaking news, everybody! This just in! The Yankees need to control their payroll and avoid paying luxury taxes! 

These days, the franchise and its surrogates - the terrified, hoping-for-retirement, job-insecure, Gammonites of NYC - often blame the Yankee situation on the massive contract of Giancarlo Stanton, (for which they once praised the team with great fanfare.) Listen: It isn't Stanton's fault. The Yankees willfully assumed his financial bloat. But now, Steinbrenner punishes the Yankee fan base for his mistakes. 

The tired Yankees - currently without a solid No. 2, 3, 4 and 5 starting pitcher - look ready to pursue another wild card. But it won't be the same. 

Write this down: 

The Yankees have lost New York.


TheWinWarblist said...

I remember 1998. The hitting and fielding was good, really good. But the pitching was even better. The staff's ERA, the entire staff mind you was 3.82, best in the league. BB Ref has the staff ranked number 1 in 7 other pitching categories. But you don't really need pitching. You do if you want another dynasty of excellence, but if you're a gutless soulless crabbed miser of an oozing boil that's in it for the money? Then, no, pitching is just another "unnecessary expense."

Die Hal. I want you to die. Hank should have lived and you should be dead and buried and forgotten. I will wear a red suit to your funeral and spit on your grave.

TheWinWarblist said...

Also, I received the second dose of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID 19 vaccine yesterday. Stay safe. Get vaccinated.

Anonymous said...

It begins...

1) Compare and Contrast

a) Mets acquire 2nd best available catcher in FA for a VERY reasonable 40M for four years.

Yankees double down on failed prospect with limited self awareness.

b) Mets trade (using their admittedly weak farm system) for one of the best SS in the game. A guy on a HoF track who will admittedly, have to get paid. You know, using financial clout to build a winner. As a bonus they add a potential #2 pitcher.

Yankees need a shortstop and a potential #2 pitcher. Badly. do nothing. Even if they sign DJ it does not solve this.

c) Mets still in the hunt for George Springer. Their owner would PREFER not to go over the luxury tax threshold. (But don't you get the feeling that he will because it's only money and this guy wants to win and become a legend in the process.

Our owner has made not going over the luxury tax a dictate. Because it isn't only money... IT'S MONEY!!!!!! The ONLY important thing.

2) Spin Rate

No, not Brain explaining away the Yankees lack of progress this off season... Today's NYP Yankee article is about out only good pitcher and how his spin rate "magically" increased in Houston. Lordy they have texts.

3) Uh oh...

We know what's next. The Yankees will react by making a stupid signing. Red Sox sign Matuzaka we sign Igawa. We "lose" Cano to Seattle we sign Jacoby. Mets get Lindor we...

and Last,

4) "But you have to wonder how the last three years would have played out with Levine running the White House. Any ideas... class?)"

Uh... Pretty close to what we got now?

More "amenities" for the wealthy.

Ignoring major problems that are clear to everyone else.

Wishful thinking.

An overall lowering of product quality.

A reduction of health standards in the name of profit (EPA, FDA, rats in hot dogs...)

The unchecked rise of rivals.

Incompetent trade deals.

I could go on... but I want to leave some for the rest of you.

Doug K.

ranger_lp said...

Tommy Lasorda passed. RIP to the "Baseball Wizard".

Carl J. Weitz said...

Doug....I've said for a few years that the Astros had no special pitching guru that made every pitching acquisition suddenly increase their spin rate significantly even when past their prime in age. No, Verlander, Charlie Morton and Gerrit Cole didn't suddenly learn a new trick other than the special blend of resin and pine tar applied to a baseball. Just more cheating by the Astros.

Celerino Sanchez said...

You guys are way off base. While the Mets were all consumed with making the Lindor trade. Cashman swooped in and signed this years Sergio Mitre: (Yankees sign pitcher Jhoulys Chacin to minor league contract). It goes to show you how a HOF GM can change the complexion of the AL East in one fell swoop.

DickAllen said...

If Randy Levine had gone to the White House, the Yankees would be MUCH better off. One less toady in Harold’s inner circle might actually be an improvement.

I can’t imagine the Team Formerly Known as the Indians would have dared to make that trade to the Yankees - can you imagine the howling that would have caused? It’s bad enough Lindor and Carasco have suddenly left the TFKI bereft of talent, but trading those guys to the Yankees would have resulted in ANTIFA conspirators storming the team’s offices. But sending them to the Mutts eased some of the pain - at least they won’t have to see those two faces in pinstripes.

And how many times in our own backyard have we seen high-prices acquisitions fall flat on their faces? The Mutts have made quite a splash with their new regime, but it guarantees nothing except more headlines. Which is bad enough.

PS: what are the odds of the season actually starting on time and in an orderly fashion?

The Mutts look better on paper but, as the saying goes, they still have to play the games and it’s important to remember they are still the team that plays in an area called Flushing. They only win as the direct result of an Act of God.

Meanwhile, our Toady-in-Chief scours Goodwill dumpsters looking for “high-priced talent.” The times they are a changing.

Unknown said...

george's biggest mistake was not wrapping it up before he felt the old "urge to merge" before hal was conceived.....

JM said...

We have met the enemy, and it is us.

Or is that enema? Something along those lines.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I say this without any deeper political meaning:

If Randy Levine had been an advisor to the president for the past four years, the world today would be a glowing, radioactive wasteland.

HoraceClarke66 said...

And by the way, who was it who predicted the Indians would change their name? Huh?

That's right, baby. You read it here first.

TheWinWarblist said...

I love you Hoss.

Kevin said...

There is a very interesting post by Dave Pinto on where he talks about spin rate. The post is from 1/6/21. Check it out, most of you will be surprised.... I've spent the past 46 years being a rabid Yankee fan, and have devoured over two hundred books on baseball. Like many of you, I'm not a kid, and gnashing my teeth into crowns isn't something that I look forward to in the future. Put another way, ownership needs to cut the bullshit and make their product worthy of their fans. Look what happened to Pan Am, Eastern Airlines, Sears, GM, and other companies that were both bigger and more important to people than the Barge (Death Dock?). I don't remember when exactly Levine came on board (was he brought in because he knew how to brown bag officials to get the Stadium built?), but it seems as though the Team Culture of investing "whatever it took" ended as his power grew. This is only my impression, please enlighten me.

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