Monday, February 1, 2021

Dept of Unfinished Business: Yanks still eyeing 2021 without a LH bat

We survived the Kyle Schwarber trade rumors, which made no sense. Then came the "Return of Sir Didi" rumors, crushed by DJ LeMahieu's signing. We still hear scattered Brett Gardner whispers and - frankly -his return is probably inevitable; we're just waiting for the mating dance to end. 

So, as much as we all love Gardy, the notion of a 37-year-old backup OF who hit .223 last year does not move our slugger needle too far. Imagine a great Yankee team without at least one big and scary LH hitter. Go ahead, close your eyes, try... 

Impossible, you say? Well, gulp, you're right.

On that note, the mighty Yankees last year hit 14 HRs - fourteen - from the left side. Fourteen.

Check out the 2020 Yankee LH HR Leaderboard:

Gardy 5
Aaron Hicks (switch, from left side): 4
Tyler Wade 3
Mike Ford 2

Crazy, eh? Luke Voit, alone, hit 22. 

What's even nuttier? Nothing has changed.

Right now, the Yankees will open 2021 without an intimidating LH slugger. The Yankee front office is poohpoohing this. It claims great hitters - in the LeMahieu sense - handle all pitching, left or right. 

To that, I ask: Then why did the Yankees just sign Darren O'Day? He's a RH sidearmer who has reached age 38 because he handles one task: In late-inning situations, he comes in from the bullpen and curdles the blood of righty hitters. 

In the close games, baseball often becomes a chess match. Teams bring in their RH or LH specialist, forcing the offense into a counter-move. 

From the left side, Aaron Boone won't even have a pawn to play.

(By the way, switch-hitting Aaron Hicks - our lone everyday lefty - batted .218 last year from LH side. Just sayin.')

(Oh, and here's something else: In 2009, last time the Yankees won it, they presented this LH arsenal: Johnny Damon, Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira (S), Melky Cabrera (S), Nick Swisher (S), Hideki Matsui and Gardy.) 

Of course, the Yankees still have time to make a move. I'm just surprised by their inactivity.  For months, I assumed Brian Cashman would scrounge a LH bat from somewhere. I didn't think Hal Steinbrenner would hold the spending line so firmly. I figured Hal would study his $210 million roster, see the glaring LH hole and burst into laughter, saying he was just joking about austerity, and yes, of course, he'd approve an extra $10 million! I mean, who would spend all that money on a team only to enter the season with such an obvious deficiency? Who, who,who would do that? 


13bit said...

I have dim, misty memories from my childhood. Memories of reading ancient scrolls that said Yankee Stadium was designed for a certain left-handed hitter...that the dimensions of this hallowed field, though they have been changed over the years, causing the great DiMaggio to turn over in his grave at lost opportunities, favor lefties.

Why is Cashman so baseball-ignorant? Why is he so arrogant? Why does Hall allow him to continue?

They won't change things until the money stops flowing in. If I hear "luxury tax" one more time, I'm going to pull out my ukulele start to sing about socialism.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Bitty, it's in keeping with a baseball establishment that asserts everyday that all the wisdom of the game, from 150 years of experience, is meaningless now.

EDB said...

Why bring in a lefty bat. The Analytics Geeks that Genius Cashman follows religiously, have convinced him that the Yankees right handed hitters go to right field. Bringing in Gardner will save pennies for Cheapskate Hal. Unless there is a left handed hitter that costs pennies, The Genius won't do anything.

13bit said...

Hoss, I know. I know. But I cannot stop myself from blurting out these things.

I still cannot accept that the powers-that-be have strayed so far that they won't even PRETEND to pay homage to tradition. For the sport that is most tradition-bound, it's a bitter pill to discover that the 21st century has finally gotten its greasy tentacles on the national pastime.

Call me a moldy fig...

DickAllen1964 said...

Bitty, you are an moldy fig.

But you got it exactly right: baseball is the national past time.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I think, Bitty you dear, beloved MF, that all sports, and much of our society is devolving in the same way.

The addiction to mathematical solutions—algorithms for all!—keeps pushing it this way.

Football and basketball are also much more simplistic than they used to be. It's less noticeable because both games are faster. But there are all sorts of plays in football that simply aren't run anymore, and you will never again see a team in basketball winding its way in mesmerizing fashion to get an open shot, as you did with the old Knicks.

It's the same everywhere. Cars basically all look alike because somebody decided that was the best possible aerodynamic design. Is it? Damned if I know—but I miss cars.

I miss baseball like it used to be, too.