Thursday, April 15, 2021

Signs, signs, everywhere, signs, breakin' up the scenery, blowin' my mind...

Late yesterday, after Corey Kluber once again failed to reach the Daily News Fifth - (ah, memories!) -the YES team assumed full Fyre Fest mode, assuring the Yankiverse there's nothing to sweat, all is fine, go home, no problem, move along... 

Over the years, Kluber - our 35-year-old, big-ticket, winter free agent acquisition - has traditionally underperformed in April. His career ERA for the month: around 4.00.

Unfortunately, it now stands at 6.10. 

And as Suzyn Waldman pointed out repeatedly, Kluber's fastball was hovering around 91 mph. Not enough. He might be passed his sell-by date.

Ah, yes, those adorable omens of gloom, the kind we neglected with Stephen Drew, Brian Roberts, Greg Bird and the cast of Glee, whenever spring blinders felt more comfortable than reality. He impresses us in March. This is his breakout comeback year. Then he starts off slowly. No problem, we say. Then... it's July...

Look... it's not July. It's April. The Oscars haven't been awarded yet. The NFL hasn't drafted yet. Mitch McConnell hasn't had his spring erection. Andrew Cuomo hasn't -  fukkit, insert joke here for political balance - but the signs, signs, everywhere signs... 

1. I don't like beating on a veteran, but I increasingly don't see the reasoning behind Jay Bruce at 1B. He isn't a good fielder. He isn't hitting. The Yankees didn't sign him for this. Bruce is 4-for-34, one of our many sluggers with a fondness for GIDPs (we are leading the league.) Last year, he hit .198. In the last five years, he has never finished above .223.  These aren't new signs.

We know where this is headed. Soon, the Yankees will waive Bruce. I cannot help but wonder why Mike Ford or Chris Gittens - honorary Scrantonians, like Joe Biden -didn't get a shot. Each is - get this - an actual 1B, not a displaced OF. Two years ago, Ford looked like a hitter. Gittens had a nice spring training. Now and then, the Yankees should ask themselves: What would Tampa do?  Well, the Rays don't let aging players stand in the way of youth. 

2. Our bullpen is frying, right before our eyes. Fans see a reality that Yankee management does not seem to accept: That both Kluber and Jameson Taillon might not make it back. Both missed sizeable parts of their careers, and neither seems capable of a 1-2-3 inning. 

Of course, the Yanks have no choice but to keep pitching them and hope for the best. But here's where April works against us: At its current workload, the bullpen cannot hold. Did it start yesterday with Mean Chad Green? The dialythium crystals are coming together, Captain. The ship, she's gonna blow... 

3. The Yankees are absolutely terrified - ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED -of losing Aaron Judge. Yesterday, he waved at a sinking liner, which then bounced to the wall. Michael Kay actually backed the move, saying there's no reason to risk getting hurt with a dive. The other day, Judge's throw to the plate seemed all arm and no body. 

He hit two HRs yesterday. Great. But if he's playing in pain, something is wrong. And without Judge, the Yankee lineup reverts to a pumpkin. Again, it's only April... 

4. The other day, we played a Picasso infield - everybody out of place. At 1B was Bruce, the career OF. At 2B, the newly obtained Rougned Odor. At SS, Gio Urshella, a 3B. At 3B, DJ LeMahiue, a 2B. You'd think they were kids on a sandlot, calling out positions. 

These things happen in the dog days of August. But it's April. Yeesh. Do this, don't do that, can't you read the signs...


TheWinWarblist said...

Our bullpen is frying. True. We shall have delicious bullpen confit by June. They'll be able to open a new concession stand in the food court.

Anonymous said...

Long haired hippie freaks need not apply !

The Yankee philosophy seems to have been reduced to "beards not allowed." Over the years they've been OK with drunks, wife beaters, cokeheads, convicted felons, drug cheats and over-the-top anger issues. Some of these behaviors can be rehabilitated but would nonetheless bar individuals from most places of employment. The Yankees rationalize and look the other way while hypocritically maintaining the never explained and seemingly pointless policy. In fact, the rule has galvanized opposing players, most of whom have beards. Clearly NYY players don't like it since many grow beards once reaching their next team. Another organization with a no facial hair mandate is the Mafia, a similar group of hypocrites. If I hadn't become a Yankees fan, this rule would have made being a hater even more of a pleasure.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

We've got an injured giant (Ajudge) that we really can't afford to keep, and another injured megahuman (GStanton) of whom we cannot shake loose.

This is one heck of a pickle. As someone with Sicilian grandparents, it seems to me that current-day Yankee fans are paying for 1996-7-8.

The sins of the idiots (signing Clemens and A-Rod) are being visited upon us.

The only answer is to sacrifice a goat. I am not saying HalS is a goat, but...

JM said...

It is hard to believe that the man/men/morons who concocted this lineup are actually paid. Anyone on IIH could do better, and do it for free, just for fun and to stop the pain.

Why is the Bruce experiment continuing? Where are the promising kids who play first? Why did we need Odor instead of Wade, who can play short and allow Gio and DJ to play their actual positions? Why is Frazier riding the bench? Why is Hicks batting up in the lineup instead of ninth (eighth, if they keep it up with Bruce)? Why did Cashman let Tanaka go back home and pin hopes on the tired retreads? Or as Tom Jones once put it, why, why, why, Delila?

What an embarrassment.

Carl J. Weitz said...

If you ask King Cashman, he will say the infielders are not out of place. They just have a flexible roster. That can't field or hit. The last few nights, I've had vivid nightmares of the 1965 Yankees sullying my psyche (led by the other Horace Clark).Tonight I will attempt to block all dreaming with a bottle of Remy Martin XO.

Carl J. Weitz said... unintended result of "no beards allowed" is that Bess Meyerson has been banned from Yankee Stadium.

Platoni said...

Every fucking time Stephen Drew is mentioned, I get tremors, my eye starts twitching and I reach for "the Blanket" to hide under. I hated that guy with a passion and have PTSD from those long months he hunched as he walked towards the dugout.

And then... and THEN, I'm reminded of Chris Carter and it starts all over again.

Thanks for bringing him up.

Celerino Sanchez said...

How does a team with a $200 million payroll have so many holes? I realize the Dodgers have a bigger payroll but they have Bauer, Kershaw & Buehler as their top 3 starters and David Price out of the bullpen. The Stanton trade set this team back 5-7 years. If Cashman is not allowed to spend 3/4 of billion dollars, he can't win. He has no concept of how to put together a balanced lineup and bring in pitchers that actually can throw 5-6 innings a start. Show me going forward how this can be fixed. There are no pitchers coming up, and please I don't want to hear about Devi Garcia. I'll leave you with this, Garret Whitlock (who was left for the Rule 5 draft) is now up to 6 scoreless innings with the Sox and they kept Nick Nelson, enough said.

Scottish Yankee fan said...

I try not to comment too much on here as I have never seen a baseball game in real life and am afraid of coming across as uninformed

But for me, JM's post above is bang on I don't think any other team in the league would have made the moves that the Yankees have. All these infielders moved out of position for 2 players that should be nowhere near being regular starters

In addition to the Bruce and Odor moves which I think this early on we can say have little chance of working the staring rotation just amazes me

How was it a good idea to have Cole then 4 pitchers who have not pitched properly for 2 seasons?

Does nobody in the organisation speak up when such a stupid move like this happens?

What was the thinking behind this? As I said I doubt any other team in the league (especially with 200 million dollar payroll) would do something so obviously high risk and let's just say for instance Kluber and Taillon pitched really well how many innings could you really expect from them after such a long layoff. When it came to the playoffs their arms would be falling off.

Not picking on them they are doing their best but for a combined $13 million dollars salary we really should be doing better I refuse to believe bringing back Tanaka for $7 million and $5 million for another starter would be much better.

I am amazed the GM gets away with making the same mistakes over and over for every good move he does he seems to make 2 stupid ones.

I can see the first losing season since I think 1992?

Anway rant over I don't mind if you think I'm talking mince as I said I have never been to a major league game in my life but I feel I had to vent at what I see as absolute madness and nobody part from on here seeming to think anything is wrong

Anonymous said...

Got it...

1) For the next month take Kluber and Tallion and start them in the same game!

This will do two things:

First it will reduce the bullpen issues because Kluber goes 3-4 and Tallion goes 3-4. that's 6-8. If one of them is pitching well he can go as long as he can. If they both suck then we're getting blown out in one game instead of two.

If they both start pitching like they are supposed to - split them back up.

2) Then bring up Devi to take the other day. and do a Devi into King day. Same deal 3-4/3-4

3) Jay can't play.

Gittens! It's time. I suspect this is a service time issue but they are being idiots. Gittens CAN'T do worse and will be better.

Also, JM - Tanaka is hurt. We actually lucked out there.

Doug K.

Alphonso said...

I have an alternative idea; Let Kluber play third, put odor at shortstop, Taiillon at second and German at first.

Why the fuck not, Aaron?

DJ can pitch
" fly me to the moon...and let me...among the stars....."

The Yankees will gain today by not playing.

HoraceClarke66 said...

You have a good idea, Doug K. If the Yanks are going to play by the Tampa Bay concept of the game, then they ought to adopt Tampa tactics: a staff of everybody throwing hard for 3 innings, trying out the young players, etc.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Judge is obviously hurt, and/or trying to avoid getting hurt. I know, I know: if he hit two home runs every game, we'd have no worries in the world.

But late in yesterday's game, on a key force play, he went into second base like a man trying to avoid some dog do he just discovered in his garden. C'mon! Can NOTHING be done to keep this guy healthy?

HoraceClarke66 said...

But basically, you guys don't understand the real purpose of every Yankee season: It is to make Brian Cashman look like a genius.

Had we just signed or traded for a big arm or two, that would have been like every other general manager. Kluber, Taillon, and the rest of our Invalid Corps? Why, they have the potential to make Brain look like a baseball savant!

Same with Bruce and Ragnar. In the past, they have hit 30 home runs and all. Any outburst like that again, and Cashie could have started polishing his plaque in Cooperstown.

Conversely, if none of these guys work out, he can blame it on injuries—and he can point out to HAL just how much money he saved him. It's win-win!

The only trouble is, the one nemesis that Brain can't simply explain away is rising to the east. Some rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward Flushing, waiting to be born.


Anonymous said...

Here's how bad the Cashman-Boone ineptitude is: it's beginning to smell like 1991.

Kevin said...

Let's face it, Gio runs like a man in cement shoes, and HE's the backup shortstop?! Just one of the signs that things aren't going to go well. As I've written before, Torres needs to be traded while he still has real value. We NEED a real shortstop! I'd like to keep Torres IF he plays second base, but with management trying to fit the proverbial round peg.... DJ could be the deluxe utilityman. Oh, it wouldn't hurt to get rid of Hicksie, replace him with someone who's more hard-nosed and talented. And for God's sake, why can't we get a decent backup at first base? Blame it on nickleback Hal. Even Cashman can't be this dumb. Jay Bruce for backup at DH. Hahahahahaha!

Anonymous said...

Kevin--exactly right. You watch teams like Toronto and Tampa Bay and you see a lot of young, athletic, explosive talent--a lot of speed and power and dynamism. Gio is a slow, lumbering type, as are LeMahieu, Stanton, and Judge. If Stanton and Judge hit up to expectations, that would be less of an issue--but they can't stay healthy, and their bats seem to be made of swiss cheese. LeMahieu is a very good singles hitter, but really lacks enough power to compensate for his lack of speed and athleticism. Gardy can run and catch the ball, but he can't hit and his arm is mediocre. Hicks is a near-total bust--decent speed and can catch the ball, but can't hit and can't throw very well anymore. Bruce is a negative entity on all counts. Odor is a joke, and, as others have noted, his presence is inexplicable given the availability of Tyler Wade. And the one player who embodies youth and athleticism and power and dynamism--Frazier--gets jerked around and most likely buried to the point that he will have to ask for a trade to save his career--at least I would at this point if I were in his situation. So really close to a complete disaster, from a GM who should be in therapy for a serious cognitive deficit disorder rather than running a major league baseball team.

Cashman's strategic approach is to trade, demoralize, or bury his best young talent is favor of pushing aging rejects and fading veterans so he can say, when things go bust--as they surely will--see? I went with the safe bets, the "name" veterans. If the Yankees stumbled with youth, he feels his ass wouldn't be covered as well. For Cashman, it's all about anticipatory ass-covering with sportswriters and fans and Hal Steinbrenner-Randy Levine types who are even dumber than he is.

Anonymous said...

@JFOB "The sins of the idiots (signing Clemens and A-Rod) are being visited upon us."
"...I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me...." Deuteronomy 5:9

@Scottish Yankee fan You're spot on, this team is now the biggest joke in the major leagues.

I still can't believe the stupidity of hitting Judge second. So every time he hits a home run in the first inning, there is ZERO possibility of it being a three run home run. If the probability calculations I learned in grade school are correct, you have about a 66.6% chance of at least one man being on base in the first inning when Judge hits third (assuming both hitters in front have an on base % of .333). So when he hits second, the chances are reduced to half that, about .333. I know the argument that Judge will come up more times during the season, but what about the 162 games that you gave up the possibility of Judge hitting a three run homer in the first inning? What about all the other innings that he comes up, and there's no one on base, because you have even worse hitters at the bottom of the lineup who are making out before Judge comes up to bat?

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