Thursday, May 27, 2021

Knockout blows? Or a test of grit? Yesterday's bad news could define the '21 Yankees... and Cashman.

For some time now, I've had this lingering suspicion that 2021 will be Brian "Cooperstown" Cashman's final stand.

It's now been 12 years since the Death Barge reached a world series, and the tribe has grown restless. For the first time since we've kept score, the fury tabloids of Gotham are devoting more back covers to the Mets - maybe even the Knicks. Mired below Boston and Tampa - our old and new rivals - the Yankees look unusually tired, dull and saggy, a funeral procession of strikeouts and rally-killing DP grounders. It's gotten so I cannot watch an entire game. Four hours of strikeouts, walks and HRs? No thanks. Who's flashing cleavage on Bravo?

Baseball did not age well during the shutdown. Its fathers are not only changing the nature of the ball, but using the minor leagues to field-test rule changes, some of which would negate the last 100 years of record-keeping. They think they can tweak their way out of this mess. They can't. 

Thus, if the Yankees continue to stumble, as they have now for their longest period in history, Cashman could be the biggest casualty. If we are truly facing a megadrought, Cashman will be our Salton Sea.

On that note, yesterday piled onto our GM's desktop a hefty - perhaps, impossible - challenge. In one day, the Yankees lost their No. 2 starter and 1B - this, one week after their CF went down. The rallying cries of "Next man up!" have vanished along with Thairo Estrada and Mike Tauchman. 

It's also worth noting that yesterday, as Corey Kluber was leaving for two months with a strained shoulder, two ex-Yanks - James Kaprielian and Michael Pineda - both shone. Kaprielian - the former first-round pick we traded for, ugh, Sonny Gray - threw seven shutout innings for Oakland, lowering his ERA to 1.53. Pineda - whom we let walk in 2017 - gave up one run over six innings with the Twins; his ERA stands at 2.62. 

To be fair, both pitchers have rattled around MLB for several years, and it's hard to imagine the Yankees still keeping them. But if either, or both, end up pitching in the All-Star game, NYC sports radio will explode with Piss Christ-level bile, and back pages devoted to the Yankees won't be what the franchise seeks. By then, Rudy Giuliani might be demanding "trial by combat," and we know where that goes.

Today, heading into a rain-out double-header, the skies over the Bronx look unusually dark. 

So, WTF should we do? 

In these moments, some Gammonites pointlessly scan MLB rosters for trades that might happen. One problem: The trades never happen. Whatever we feel about Cashman - and his lost decade of mediocrity - the man is relentless. If somebody's out there, Cash and his wonks will find him. But these acquisitions - despite what the Yankees tell us - are never cheap. We have drained our farm system to the point where our premier prospect - for two years now - tops the list without even having seen a professional pitch. Our rivals show waves of young talent at Triple A. We have a fairy tale fantasy who hasn't even reached the Gulf Coast League.   

Over the years, one issue is the Yankees' blind spot for their own prospects. The current 1B at Scranton - 27-year-old, 6'4" Chris Gittens - is hitting .323 with four HRs. He is said to have the best 1B glove in our farm system (which might not be much.) He bats RH; then again, so did Voit. Must the Yankees sign another Jay Bruce, when a stopgap solution might be right in front of them? 

What will Cashman do? Fukif I know. We'll probably see The Great LeMahieu play 1B with Rougned Odor - and his .165 average - full-time at 2B. It sure would be nice to Tyler Wade get a shot. But that's not how the Yankees operate.

As for replacing Kluber? We could elevate Deivi Garcia from Scranton, where he looked decent in his last two starts. But with Cashman, the next Sidney Ponson is always a phone call away. 

The fear about Kluber was always his health. That concern also haunts Domingo German and Jameson Taillon, neither of whom threw a pitch last year. Even if Luis Severino returns - (and until he's here, he's a setback waiting to happen) - does anyone not expect another starter to wither under the load?

This weekend, the Yankees will probably activate Giancarlo Stanton. It's worth noting that Stanton didn't return with the end of his 10-day injury list. When he was placed on the list, the Yankees pooh-poohed the extent of his injury and stressed that he would be back in 10 days. Now, we find he's running the bases. Too bad he cannot pitch. Right now, we need an infusion - not a full-time DH. 


Anonymous said...

"For the first time since we've kept score, the fury tabloids of Gotham are devoting more back covers to the Mets - maybe even the Knicks."

This and only this, because, "Hal's Bottom Line (TM)" has no bottom as far as where the Yankees sit in the standings.

It's all about... Attendance. YES Ratings. Merch.

In fact I'm guessing a Yankee team in 3rd place in the standings and in first place in attendance is his adolescent sibling rivalry addled fantasy.

If we bring up Gittens it won't be because he deserves it. It will be because he keeps the team under the luxury tax.

Hal's Bottom Line(TM) doesn't move until the fans reach the end of their line and get off the train.

Doug K.

Doctor T said...

I agree and go further, the lack of anyone in the Yankee baseball decision-making chain with ACTUAL BASEBALL EXPERIENCE (above manager) screams underneath all the BS about sabermetrics and can be summed up in the crappy performance of Gary Sanchez.

He is truly a product of Cashman's geek squad. His problems are the Yankees problems in a nutshell. Tape measure home runs (terrific exit velocity & launch angles, kid!), bad at-bats chasing the next home run, piss-poor defense, ZERO baseball 'smarts', situational thinking, fundamentals or hustle and nobody ever taught him the meaning of 'clutch' (because sabermorons can't quantify 'clutch'). Plus, an entitled attitude that must have annoyed every other minor leaguer around him, as he got the trust-fund-baby treatment in development and rushed on to the next level.

Entitled. Pampered, Unprepared. Didn't earn their promotions, but got the job anyway. Tunnel-minded education that ignored 80% of the game, but left them supremely confident they know more than everyone else.

Wow, sounds like the Ivy League twits that fill up Cashman's geek squad and the Yankee front office. Perhaps even Cashman himself.

God, how I miss Gene Michaels and Bob Watson!

JM said...

Garcia and King are supposedly going to pick up the pitching load. Remember that great appearance King had this season? You know, the one? That's the guy we need. Garcia still doesn't seem ready for prime time. As the commercial for Mystery Date used to say, will Severino be a dream...or a dud?

I don't get Odor. Why? Why not Wade, if hitting isn't a big deal? (And even there, Wade has been hitting better lately. Ya never know. Look at Urshela, he never could hit and suddenly, boom.)

It continues to be a stupid, bumbly franchise. But if we sweep the Jays today, I'll sleep happy.

ranger_lp said...

Thanks for the optimism el duque. Headed toward my liquor cabinet...

Celerino Sanchez said...

Thank god we held on to Luis Cessa. Next man up!

JimmyEatsHotDogs said...

Cashman will not be replaced because he has the foolproof Hal-abi... Who knew we were gonna have so many injuries this year? Bingo he stays as GM!

Alphonso said...

And probably Tyler Wade is our best defensive outfielder. The Yankees typecast people, so Tyler is never regarded as a starter. Not at second. Not at anything.

The Yankee thinking sucks.

How are all of our recent high draft picks doing?

I mean at Hooters.

Carl J. Weitz said...

2021 won't define Cashman. His track record has already determined his legacy. He won't go anywhere because Halligator doesn't give a crap about where the Yankees finish just how much money they make. Like a dispassionate owner of a widget factory. If and when the team loses money then Steinbrenner will dispose of Cashman and most of the Bloated Front Office, compromising pictures and incriminating financial documents not withstanding.

Carl J. Weitz said...

Alphonso....don't you understand that Cashman thinks Wade needs " more seasoning" before he plays full time as a fill in? I don't think Wade will ever hit consistently above .200. But on this roster he will hardly be alone.

HoraceClarke66 said...

That's it in a nutshell, Carl Weitz. He might as well be producing widgets—or nutshells!

That's why the Mets going big was our best hope. But now that they are wracked with injuries and the whole sport seems to be falling apart...

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