Thursday, July 1, 2021

Have the Yankees hit rock bottom? Don't you believe it. There is plenty of space below.

Well, now, that was something. 

So much for Hope Week. So much for the vaunted Yankee bullpen. So much for trading Aroldis Chapman for a massive haul. So much for - well - 2021...?

Comrades, it's time to ponder our friend, The Abyss. Hold onto the rope, step to the ledge, and take a long, hard look into the darkness. Can you see Alvaro Espinosa? Matt Nokes? Jesse Barfield?

I'd love to believe in the "Rock Bottom" theory - that once a team hits absolute ground zero, no matter how shitty, it can only improve. Last night - when El Chapo walked the bases loaded and gave up a grand slam, killing a 4-run lead - well, you'd like to think that's our rock bottom.

But I dunno. These is the Death Barge, a special organization.

Here it is, the first of July, nearly halfway, and the Yankees have done what I never could have imagined: They have somehow created a toxic feedback machine, a workplace where nobody thrives, and everybody waits for the next gasket to pop. 

So, El Chapo blows a four-run lead. Come on, folks, didn't we see it coming? 

Once upon a time - not that long ago, in the scheme of things - the owner of the Yankees would blow sky-high over the recent collapse, as the team systematically drained hope from its fan base. Instead, we have an absentee heir, Hal Steinbrenner, who must be on his yacht somewhere, frolicking with the dolphins, wishing he had an Allen Weisselberg to take the fall.

Four years after tanking - something Hal said would never happen - the Yankees are facing another July 31 sell-off. But this time, they are so constrained by contracts and clauses that they can barely get off their backs. They don't have Andrew Miller to trade. They might not even be able to deal Chapman.

How did we get here? Nancy Pelosi should appoint an investigative commission. It's stunning to see how ineptly built the 2021 Yankees appear to be. 

Three years ago, free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper visited NYC seeking to play for the Yankees. Harper was famously a lifelong Yankee fan, and Machado's wife wanted to live in New York. In another era, Old George might have signed both. But his son just hid under the bed until they left. Hal had spent his money on Giancarlo Stanton, and he wasn't going to squander any more.

Look... we can argue pro and con about the Yankees decision to pass on Machado and Harper - I don't want to derail this conversation - I'm just saying that Old George wouldn't have let them go. He had a thing for stars who seek to play for baseball's marquee team. Which is what the Yankees were.

Not anymore, of course. That's the Dodgers, or Boston, or maybe Tampa Bay. The Yankees would be in the upper third, after - say - the Cubs, White Sox, Giants, Padres and Mets. Everywhere you look, you see a franchise in limbo. 

Take Clint Frazier... please. He looks completely ruined. Last night, he came out with dizziness. (Let's hope it's not serious.) He should be dizzy: For three years, the Yankees ping-ponged him back and forth from Scranton. Now, he looks permanently baffled. My guess is they'll soon trade him for nothing, and he'll have a decent career on another team. (Same for Miguel Andujar and Luke Voit?)

Take our once-praised bullpen. Other teams offer young arms who throw 100 mph.  The Yankees go with elders - Chapman, Zack Britton, Darren O'Day, Justin Wilson - and nobody stays healthy. (By the way, wanna bet that Chapman doesn't land on the IL soon?) What's galling is that Boston is getting more from Adam Ottavino and Garrett Whitlock, both of whom were cast away. Can it get any more embarrassing? 

Take our farm system. Are we supposed to be excited that 18-year-old Jasson Dominiquez, barely a week into his professional career, will represent us in the Futures Game? Frankly, that's horrible. MLB is basically saying the Yankees have nobody more advanced than an overly hyped kid with no track record, whatsoever. And I can't help but notice that Roansy Contreras - whom we traded to Pittsburgh in the Jameson Tailon deal - will represent the Pirates. Yeesh.

Everywhere you look, you see disaster. I'm not one for sugar-coating the George Steinbrenner era. He conjured up terrible teams for nearly a decade, before finally turning over the franchise to Gene Michael and Bob Watson. You might argue that Hal is simply going through Daddy's 1991 phase - like father, like son. If so, that means we're four years away from hope... in other words, hopeless. 

See that Abyss? Get used to it.


13bit said...

Every bottom has a trap door.

Anonymous said...

My cardiologist is a Yankee fan, (here in Florida), so he understands my blood pressure next appointment is in October......why does the thought of Chappy pitching skew a stress test?

13bit said...

Ultimately, this all goes back to Hal - the only person Brian answers to. The big question is, "What will it take to get Hal to fire Brian," as his dad would have done at least five years ago?

I don't know the answer to that, but I do harbor the belief that Hal is a shallow, money-driven moron. That's a big clue right there. What's it going to COST him to retain the services of the four-dimensional chess master known as Brian Cashman?

There's a price for everything. Hal has not reached it yet, but maybe the needle is inching in the right direction. I have to find SOMETHING positive to focus on here. Not praying for a tank, mind you, just the baseball equivalent of Yankees climate disaster.

ranger_lp said...

@13bit-Yanks had their attendance of the season last night...30,714. 17K seats still empty. Let's see what happens over the weekend with the Mets in town. That's what Hal is looking at.

Oh, Brian wont get sacked until end of season. Hal doesn't make changes in the middle of season on that magnitude. I think he was born under a fixed astrological sign.

ranger_lp said...

I meant biggest attendance of the season...

ZacharyA said...

I don't know if Chapman would've waived his no-trade clause anyway, so I never expected the Yankees to move him.

Could probably get a nice haul for Chad Green (1.5 years of control) and Jonathan Loaisiga (3.5 years of control), though I'll be sad to see either leave.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

I was a reporter on a newspaper in Binghamton NY a long, long time ago. Started out as a copyboy, got a promotion to "police reporter."

The job consisted of listening to 9 area police radios (installed right behind my desk) and jumping into a company car to drive to the scene of whatever it was.

My problem: I was a sensitive soul. I didn't want to see what I saw. My favorite thing to do was to interview a police officer about his ambitions, his family, his hobby.

But THAT was not the job. That's what I was supposed to in the afternoon -- it was a morning newspaper, the 'news' on my beat was violence and arrests.

My least damaging moment was when I drove up to the scene of a motorcycle accident in Vestal NY, got there just a bit late, and saw the ambulance attendant put something not-so-big into the unit and close the door.

"What was that he just put in the ambulance?" I asked the cop on the scene.

"That was the guy's arm" was the response. He'd sheared his arm off his shoulder on a stone fencepost on the side of the road.

There was worse. I won't burden you with it.

However, back then I was paid to NOT look away. The job was to look, see, and write it up. Try to get it right. Not flinch. Altho there was an informal company rule -- "no blood for breakfast" . . .

Right now, altho watching this team cope daily with the consequences of dumb trades and signings, avarice, and just plain idiocy isn't nearly as horrible . . . I can freely avail myself of the option to look away.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Yeah, Joe FOB, police/court beat is the worst, though I never saw anything like that, thank goodness.

Hilarious, Bitty—also, "God doesn't close a door, without opening a trap door under your feet."

As for HAL...I have no idea if he's a money-driven moron or a sensitive family man who just wants to spend his time with the wife and kids (or his kinky footwear collection).

But whatever the case, I think he just considers the Yankees one more financial holding. Even as such, he obviously doesn't understand the team's "brand"—going big, winning big in the big city.

But from his point of view, does it really matter? Considering MLB's brand of practical socialism, it will be very hard for him to lose money.

This is how it is all around the America where billionaire increase their wealth by 50 percent even when the economy shuts down. All the money that he has already, all the money that these players make, can we really expect them to care that much?

Would we?

Celerino Sanchez said...

Everyone talks about blowing it up, but outside of Judge who does anyone want on this team. Cole, Hicks, Severino, Britton, Stanton & Chapman cannot be moved, unless you are paying stupid $$$ or adding one of their "so-called" prospects. They'd be selling low on Sanchez(I guess), Garcia and Torres. Frazier, Wade, Tallion have no trade value. Green, Voit & Urshella might get you a AA guys, big f'ing deal. Someone might have interest in Montgomery, but he is the only pitcher worth keeping. This team is f'ked and you can thank HOF Cashman for that.

Anonymous said...

Although I am not the master of prose that many on this site are, I did write legal opinions and legal briefs for almost 40 years. That FORCED me to analyze everything thoroughly in order to not make myself appear to be an ass for all the world to see.
Let me make these observations;
We all agree that baseball has changed since the halycon days of our youth.
I think it is a large part because all players are looking for Willie Wonka.
Yes, it is very hard to play baseball and that has not changed, but now they expect to get fabulously rich and be able to retire at an early age. Take Judge for example. He is 29 and had already made 20.5 mil. Why play with "lower body issues" ? The Mick had to wrap himself up every day to make next years pay check.
I am not judging any of these guys because all of the owners are rich too, and I don't know how differently I would act. But the reality of the "fragility" of these players and then willingness to grind means their true shelf life is much shorter than their earning years.

That leaves me with this. Absolutely blow this up.
Trade everyone you can., other than players like Lasagna who have several years of team control/protection left.
Eat salary if you must. Trade Judge ala Mookie while he still has 1.5 years of control left for example.
Bring up guys who still have to find Willie's Golden Ticket so they run hard. What do you think Amburgey would do with a chance? He's appears t have mastered MILB.
No more extensions. Look at What Sevy and Hicks have cost the team in payroll vs. contribution.
The day of starting and ending with a franchise are over for exceptional players unless you hit on the rare gem like Trout.
Follow the TB and Boston model. Even Toronto is better at this than us. "Marquee" players who now are sub-standard do not move the needle.
The NY Rangers told their fan base that they were going to blow things up and the fan base both understood and accepted it. No more first round outs for them. How much more exciting are the Rangers now?
The Yanks can do the same.
If they do this type of thing, those four batters that Chapman faced may have been the most important of his entire Yankee career
I could go on and on, but your attention span and my stamina have reached an end
Thanks for letting me vent as always

The Exhausted Archangel

el duque said...


I started my newspaper career in the Norwich bureau of the Binghamton Press.


ranger_lp said...

@Archangel...Hal is NOT Jim Dolan.

We mostly agree on this blog to blow it up. Only Hal can make that decision. Hal doesn't make rash decisions. He's NOT George. We'll never have another George. The game is different now.

Anonymous said...

This is all the consequence of Cashman sitting on his ass for about 12 years and not doing hard things that needed to be done. Like putting old players out to pasture. Like admitting mistakes and turning around and fixing them before they become colossal millstones that no one can move.

Prince Hal has got to wake up and get a real GM. Put Cashman out to pasture or at least move him to a new position that has nothing to do with baseball operations.

If they had the balls for it, the smart move would be to trade Gerrit Cole before the trade deadline. Get 3 top prospects and 2 middle prospects. Trade Judge, get at least 2 top prospects and 1 middle prospect. Those are two guys who would bring back big value right now.

It's just fantasy though. I fully expect nothing to happen. Prince Hal won't fire Cashman. Cashman won't do anything big. The shit show will continue until these changes at the top happen.

The Hammer of God

13bit said...

Hoss, dear Hoss, you can be a money-driven moron AND a sensitive family guy at the same time. I don't see Hal as a complex soul, but those two archetypes are not mutually exclusive.

Anyway, WE are the idiots who sit around trying to divine the intentions of an ultra-rich thimble-head down in the Sunshine State. WE are the ones who gnash our teeth and beat our breasts over the baseball ignorance of a former intern who thinks he's smarter than Casey Stengel. We are the ones who must suffer. The players get paid, the owner and manager are making money. They don't have as much skin in the game as do we, who have invested out hearts and souls in these jackass man/boys for decades.

I need some pizza and green tea and then a nap. Need to kill the pain of existence. The Yankees used to be a good distraction, but they don't even fulfill their primary function anymore - entertainment. My god, if you're going to suck, suck with style and make it fun.

TheWinWarblist said...

"Let me go home.
Why won't they let me go home?
This is the worst trip I've ever been on."

Anonymous said...

ranger, I agree that Hal is not Dolan, but even Dolan changed for the Knicks and the Rangers.
I do differ about rash decisions. I think acquiring Stanton because of not getting Othani when you lived through the morass of Ellsbury and AROD is stunning, especially if toy will cry poverty and "tax" every year thereafter.
But, the franchise is clearly out of step with the realities of baseball today, for most of this contrary.
But the fans will speak by not going to games, watching YES AND not buying merhc.
The bottom line revenue must be broken.

And Hal just gave Cashman, Boone and his staff a vote of confidence.
Well they just made a trade to shake things up . Got Tim Locastro OF; RH; .178/.271 OBP/ .220 SLG/ .491 OPS.

The Hits Just keep coming

The Aggrieved Archangel

Anonymous said...

One last thought, What does Amburgey have to do to get a chance. Now, I just think Cashman is true an A-hole and I don't use that term loosely because, after all I am ,

The Archangel


HoraceClarke66 said...

Great comments, all. And Tim Locastro? We have been heard!!

JM said...

Jen and Jessica Steinbrenner should be running this team, not Hal. Both are general partners and vice-chairs of the organization. If Jen's marriage to that Swindal guy had worked out, he--and I do believe she'd be right there with him--would be running the show.

Hank was better than Hal but preferred to stay out of the spotlight. Jennifer and Jessica are better than Hal but...well, I don't know what. Is it because they're girls? And King George would never have let a girl control his team? I dunno.

But the only time I've heard Ms. Steinbrenner-Swindal's name in years was this week, when she was on the call that Cole and, I think, Cash and Hal (?) had with the heart-warming honorary ball girl (Or bat girl? No, that was Yvonne Craig.). Aside from that, I haven't heard her name connected to the team at all.

Well, whatever. But I'm not expecting much on the trade front, and not expecting anything at all if the Yanks manage to go off on one of their tears for a week or two after the break. Maybe not even if that doesn't happen. This is what we got, and I think we're stuck with it.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, there will be more Mets fans than Yankee fans this weekend and George's ghost will body slam his son into reality.
I have a call into him now, but he is busy talking to Billy Martin and Thurman Munson

The" Right Hand of the Heavens" Archangel

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