Friday, April 9, 2021

For now, the Yanks have no SS but Gleyber, and why we should shudder over the fate of James Paxton

With the next nine games vs the Rays and Jays - as close to a season-defining week as you'll get in April - the Death Barge has no choice but to, as Old Rummy once said, go with the army you have. 

That means Gleyber Torres at SS, without hesitation or reservation. Damn the errors. Damn the bounced throws. Write him into the lineup, and don't look back. 

We have no Plan B.

Listen: Gleyber is a generational star, the most critical Yankee, a player who could lead this team for a decade. To toggle him around the infield - smack dab in the Gotham pressure cooker - could wreck his confidence and ruin his psyche. We can lament management's decision to ditch Sir Didi and put Gleyber in the Jeter slot - it was more about Hal saving money than winning - but that's history. What's done is done. For now, the Yankees must double-down and give Gleyber all the support they can.

That means moving Jay Bruce from first base. 

Sorry, Jay. It's not you. But we're kidding ourselves to think a 34-year-old, last-chance OF/DH can take over 1B, especially when a Gold Glove replacement stands 40 feet away. 

DJ Lemahieu should play first, and Rougned Odor - the oft-maligned, strikeout machine/castoff from Texas - should get a chance to resurrect his thread-dangling career at 2B. As a batter, Odor is basically another Jay Bruce. But his defense will be an improvement. 

And Gleyber must play SS. Were we to punt on Torres - (our options being Tyler Wade and the waiver wire) - it would not only undermine his confidence but create a logjam when Luke Voit returns. 

It's weird to write this, but the next nine games could have an actual impact on the entirety of 2021. If the Yankees dominate - or get manhandled - it would affect the trajectory of the season. Either way, we must stand by the most important Yankee. And that is Gleyber. 

On a secondary note...

Don't lie: Didn't we all smirk yesterday when stinking Seattle announced James Paxton will undergo Tommy John surgery? (Never forgiving them for Joginson Cano.) But swallow the grins, everybody, because Paxton is Exhibit A for why we should fear what's to come.

The line on Big Maple is an old one: The potential Hall of Fame career derailed by ligaments and tendons, things that should only be mentioned in 5th grade biology. Paxton is the classic soldier who seems to get hurt blowing his nose. For some reason - DNA or the juju gods - he goes from tweak to tweak. It's not that he's a malingerer. It's not his fault. But this injury might well furnish the epilogue on Paxton: 

Coulda been great, but for the tweaks.

Well, the Yankees have a staff of Paxtons - Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon and Luis Severino, to name a few. Jordan Montgomery has yet to pitch a full year, following TJ surgery. Jonathan Loaisiga has had his share. And let's not even mention the china dolls  who bat second, third and fourth.

That's the thing about oft-injured players. Some - maybe most - never change. Hide your smirks, folks. She's a long, long season, full of dark surprises.


Anonymous said...

Apparently the news out of Tampa is not good. The "general left side soreness" which Judge experienced was aggravated when he re-tweaked it while he restored his tray to the upright position prior to landing on the charter to Tampa.
He remains day-to-day, but Boonie said that it is day-to-day and they will not conduct any tests until sometime next week. He is expected to be back by the All-Star break and in the meantime Boonie said that there are really really good guys on the way and Odor is being converted to RF. "He's just a great athlete with some great AB in his past and we really feel lucky to have traded for him.," Boonie exclaimed.
On a more uplifting note, I adjusted my launch angle after reviewing film and just had a BM with an 88mph exit velocity. I did strain a colon muscle, but Nurse Debbie insists that massage therapy will work. [Really, this is good news when you are in your 60s.]
The Archangel

Doctor T said...

The problem with Torres at shortstop is that he has limited range, as well as dubious throwing skills. You can teach footwork and positioning, but you can't teach range. He's a much better fit for 2nd base.

Whatever hit to his ego may come from moving him back to 2nd, its far less damaging to his ego than putting him in a position where he may cost the team the game or the playoffs with his glove.

Wade may hit like my Aunt Nancy, but he can play anywhere on the field. When the game is on the line, I'd much rather see him at SS than Torres. Good as Gio is at 3rd, he's no SS and should only be used if Wade or Torres isn't available.

Torres may be the de facto SS for this season. But that makes Wade indispensable, like Higashioka behind the plate.

Odor is NOT AN OPTION. I have no idea why he's even on the alternate training site. He's fielding is substandard for 2nd base and has no MLB experience anywhere else. Indeed, he only has 15 games at SS in A ball and 2 more in the winter leagues. Plus, his hitting is atrocious. Sorry, this guy is a 2 true outcomes hitter (K/HR) on a team that is already deeply overdependent on 3 true outcome hitters.

Odor looks like the front office making the same damn mistakes they've been making for years, on the road to turning this team into a bunch of tape measure HR's, no pennants and the busiest IL list in baseball. He is not the answer to anything, except excuses come November.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I wonder if Torres' problems with the position have not already got in his head. He looks like a wholly different hitter—and has for two years now. First six games of the season: no ribbies, one double.

It's all in keeping with the general trend of Yankee players over the past five seasons: quick and mysterious decline, physically and mentally.

It's a trend, but somehow nothing is ever done about it.

Anonymous said...

1) Paxton

It wasn't so much a smirk as a sad sigh of relief. I always liked his performance on the mound and thought signing him was a good gamble. He was was ok for us. So now it comes down to were we wrong to give up Justus Sheffield?

So far... no.

Justus is now 25. Has started 18 games and has a 4.64 ERA. This year (Very SSS) it's 7.20 for the one game.

2) Lipstick on a Pigasus

Sure. Put Odor at 2nd and DJ at first. Might as well. It's the right move. At least until Gleyber goes all Knoblauch on us.

3) Judge

Not since Roy Bean has a Judge left so many people hanging. This is starting to really suck. Especially if they do the "Stanton in the playoffs thing' and keep him on the bench on the off chance that he comes back and can play in a few days. We will be one man down with two big series coming up. We saw how well that worked last time.

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

Doctor T,

There are no good solutions. You're right about Odor but if we move Gleyber to 2nd (which is the position he should be playing) and start Wade at SS we have no back up infielder and no speed off the bench. It's a no win.

What they should really do is trade, not for a washed up two outcome, marginal fielder but for a glove first shortstop. They exist. Then they can either start Wade or use him the way they have. Move Gleyber to second, DJ to first. We would take a hit on offense but at least we'd be solid up the middle.

Next year grab a free agent at SS and carry on.

But they wont.

Doug K.

Alphonso said...

Where the fuck did Duque get the idea that Odor is an upgrade to anyone in the field. He has been awful.

He is the one panic trade ( attempting to repair a flaw created by Cashman in the first place ) that might actually cost Cashman his job.

This guy is below useless.

And he has a shit attitude and a name to match.

The Yankees are now surrounded by bad Odor.

The first the Yankees should do is take this guy to a court and file for a name change. The second thing to do i stand him a plane ticket to Uranda and wish him a happy life. The third thing to do is fire Cashman.

Anonymous said...

Doug K, do I have your permission to use your Roy Bean- Aaron Judge metaphor and call it my own?
The Archangel

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