Sunday, February 14, 2021

Jay Bruce: Yankee for a month? Or the new Gardy?

Yesterday afternoon, the word "Gardner" became one of the top trending topics on Twitter. No, Melania hadn't announced her giant Venus flytrap sanctuary at Mar-a-Lago. It was Yank fans, wondering if the signing of Jay Bruce signaled the end of Brett Gardner's time in Gotham. 

Most opined, no: The Bronx is big enough for two aging LH outfielders. They noted that Bruce - who failed to hit his weight in 2020 - signed a minor league contract. Thus, no harm, no foul. If Bruce struggles - well - we'll be riding out that night to case the promised land.

So... Bruce. Basically, he's the quintessential short-term slugger who peaks at 26, flounders at 30, falls off the boat at 32. (Take a good hard look, Red Thunder.) Now - 33 - he's one more 0-for-April streak from forced retirement. 

As you see, Bruce is a HR/K/BB machine, a graduate of the Gary Sanchez School of Lunging. In last year's Covid season, he reached a new level of dreadfulness - hitting below .200. He is not an everyday OF for a contender.

But but but... as a Yankee, Bruce would almost never face lefties. A full platoon hitter. Here are his career splits:

Not exactly Ron Blomberg, but better than Swoosh Sanchez. For the record, here are Gardy's career splits.

It would be nice to have a guy who absolutely crushes RH pitchers, but apparently, this is what the scrap heap offers, for now. 

So, why did they sign Bruce? Some theories.

1. The Yankees actually do plan to jettison Gardy. (I'll believe this when it happens.) 

2. They're playing mind games with Gardy in contract talks. (Won't work.)

3. They expect our Bermuda Triangle - Judge, Stanton and Hicks - to miss substantial time with injuries. (Do they know something? Last year, we found out in February that none were ready.) 

4. They think Bruce can play backup 1B? Because they need one. (In his career, he's played 51 games at 1B.)

5. They're doing this as a favor to Bruce or his agent. He gets an audition. (To mangle Sinatra: If he can't make it there, he can maybe still make it anywhere.) 

The 2021 Yankees will carry at least four backups. A catcher (Higgy.) An infielder (Wade or Thairo). A speed/defense OF (Green, Tauchman, or Gardy.) A solid hitter (Andujar, Gardner, Tauchman, Ford, Bruce?) Preferably a lefty.

Theoretically, there is room for Bruce and Gardy. If the Rays bring in a big righty, Gardy gets on base, and then Bruce smashes the HR.  

Yesterday's deal didn't necessarily end the Gardy Era. But the two Mikes - Ford and Tauchman - they should worry.


HoraceClarke66 said...

In this deal, we see the sheer brilliance of Brain Cashman at work.

Sure, he could've had Bruce for a song after his average plummeted to .223 with the Mets in 2018. But no!

With all the patience and cunning of a big-game hunter, Brain waited through .212 and .221 performances in Seattle and Philadelphia, respectively.

Then, in 2020, Bruce dropped below the Mendoza Line, to .198! YES!

Like a coiled jungle cat—to reverse metaphors—Brain was on him like Bruce was a hobbling wildebeest. (Hmm, could that be his Yankees nickname? The Hobbling Wildebeest? Or a garage band name?)

Now he is ours, for a song! Next up: Roger Repoz!

Anonymous said...

Are the Pavanos still on the team: Pavano Hicks and Pavano Stanton along with Arodis "Choke"man?

13bit said...

Since I cannot even fathom, let alone play, the kind of four-dimensional chess that Lord Cashman is a master of, I hesitate from even thinking about, let alone commenting on, this "move."

I am a simple moron who just likes to go to the ballpark and scream, who enjoys a good hit or catch, and *thinks* he knows about player conditioning and development, but clearly is not in the same league as the high Lord of Pinstripes, "he who rides a magic bat across the cosmos," the one and only, the haaaaaardest-working man in man business, Spidey On High! The one, the only.....look! up in the sky! It's a man! it's a god! IT'S CASH-THE-MAN.....

HoraceClarke66 said...

So, Paxton signed with Seattle today. Now, the Mariners will have both Justus Sheffield AND the guy they traded for him.

Will this help them? I have no idea. Paxton was certainly a waste of time for most of his stay in NYC.

But he cost only $8.5 million for one year. He wasn't worth THAT, with one last grab at the ring on the line?

2021 is going to be a disaster.

Carl J. Weitz said...

The minor league deal with Bruce isn't the worst thing. Cheap contract and insurance against all the OF tweaked gonads. But it lowers the kitty for signing someone who might fill a bigger need elsewhere. It is also an indictment on their farm system that they don't have a younger outfielder that can hit better than Bruce. Even now, I'd take Tauchman over Bruce.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Carl, I hear that Estevan Florial has a high ceiling.