Saturday, July 31, 2021

HoraceClarke66: On the One Hand This, On the Other Hand That, and On the Third Hand HEY LADY!

 From the desk of HoraceClarke66...

On the One Hand This, On the Other Hand That, and On the Third Hand HEY LADY!

First, I wish to dispel any and all rumors that my absence from this wonderful site coincided with Shark Trade Week, and that I was busy doing Brian Cashman’s bidding, and going around the circuit putting together these amazing deals.

 WRONG! There is no truth to the rumor that I am Cooperstown Cashman’s assistant. There is even less truth to the rumor that I am The Brain himself, psychotically masquerading as a fan who hates him in order to gather telling details about you all for my crazed revenge.

 NO! Not true! Mrs. Calabash and I simply took a leisurely jaunt around parts of New England to visit assorted (and sordid) friends and relatives. 

 On the way, news of the various deals trickled through to me in dribs and drabs. I have read all of your astute commentary on the same, and to be honest…I don’t know what the hell to make of it.

 In the great, ongoing debate of prospects v. veterans (originally decided by one of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.’s lesser decisions), I tend to go with Duque and favor prospect-hugging. 

 But who knows? With Cashman, his judgement on current major-league players often stinks. On the other hand, the Yankees’ prospects so often flop. I remember keening like a mourning bird over many of the guys Coops sent out to acquire the likes of Sonny Gray during the 2017 pennant run…only to see most of them fall on their faces. As did the guys we got in return.

 Is the latest batch dispatched to the hinterlands Dustin Fowler—or James Kaprielian?  I really can’t say. And neither, I suspect, can Cashman.

 It does seem to me that, when it comes to addressing the Yanks’ biggest immediate concern, which is its bullpen…they didn’t address it. Clay Holmes and Andrew Heaney are classic innings-eaters, whose feasts will leave us all nauseous.

 If the Yanks had some wizard of a pitching whisperer who could turn them around, it might make sense. But they don’t have that. Their acquisition might indicate some hidden motive, such as a hidden injury to Gerrit Cole—but let’s not go there.

 As for the great Hun-Joy Park controversy, I have to say, Kevin, I would have at least given him a shot. Is he the real deal? Again, who knows? Probably not. But it seems to me that the Yankees never believe in late developers, when they HAVE been known to happen (see Lou Piniella). But it’s a moot point now.

 On the positive side… Joey Gallo and especially Anthony Rizzo are a definite upgrade. They are not the top hitters we would like, but they are—at last!—power-hitting lefties, good clubhouse guys, and Gold Glove fielders. That is, useful, all-around players. 

 I’ll have more on Rizzo later from my Florida correspondent, Cousin Dan the Gator Man. But suffice it to say for now that Rizzo’s debut—monster home run, key opposite-field single, catch that saved a base and maybe a run—were heartening in all ways. 

 One thing I got from gallivanting around New England and seeing more Red Sox action is that that club—while it boasts 3-4 outstanding players that we don’t have at its core—is winning mostly on the basis of having valuable lugnuts everywhere. Outfielders who can catch and throw, infielders who can field, guys everywhere who hit sac flies and opposite-fielder bloops.

 And that said, I still don’t think they have the pitching to go all the way. If the Yankees’ starters hold up—an “if” bigger than that loathsome midtown skyscraper modeled on a wastepaper basket—and if they can somehow get a reliable closer (again, big big big if)—then they can contend for a Wild Card Play-In spot, and even in the playoffs.

 Will it prove worth it in the years to come? As all we great sages say:  time will tell.


Kevin said...

Well Horace, maybe I've become overly jaded with minor leaguers in general, but Park is 25, and has hit well for four months. So we'll see. The only guy that I believe (from reading multiple sources) is Alacantara (spelling?). But he's 19, raw, very tall, and is a great athlete. But That profile has come and gone over the years, so we'll see.

How about starting a thread where you guys, and your minions make a list of all the significant minor league players that the Yankees have traded away over the past fifty years. I can think of quite a few, I'm sure that I've forgotten some, some I never knew where in the farm, but, for all the weeping and anxiety that these trades bring I bet the number is surprisingly small. What say you?

HoraceClarke66 said...

I think you're probably very right, Kevin. The guys they gave away in the '80s were epic: Willie McGee for Bob Sykes, Fred McGriff for Dale Murray, and of course, the infamous Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps. Am I missing anyone?

But generally, very, very few prospects the Yanks have given away have made it.

On the other hand...

Some were situational mistakes. For instance, Yhancey Brazoban was nobody they'll write about in the ages to come (save for his bizarre name). But for 2004, he had a pretty good, middle-reliever year for the Dodgers, while the guy we got for him, Kevin Brown, disgraced himself in about every possible way. If we had just managed to keep Brazoban for that season, we might have been able to avoid our worst year ever.

Others who come to mind are Mike Lowell (traded for 4, nothing pitchers); Ted Lilly, dealt for Jeff Weaver (another subtraction by addition), or D'Angelo Jimenez for Jay Witasick.

But sure, for the most part, it hasn't hurt us. Let's hope you're right this year!

Leinstery said...

They traded Mark Melancon for exactly two "Sir Lancelot rides to the rescue"s. 4 or 5 All-Star games and a Relief pitcher of the year later, that one is still pretty godawful. Great call by the Master however.

They traded Juan Rivera (along with Nick Johnson and Randy Choate) for Javy Vazquez. Juan had a pretty solid career after that. They also traded the Melkman for Javy Vazquez, but he had been up for 4 years by that point. Anyways, Javy Vazquez fucking sucked both times around and if I had to make a list he'd be in consideration for my most hated Yankees ever.

Kevin said...

Scotty McGregor, Rick Dempsey, Dennis Mawrtinez I "think" were in the system, at least two were. Ian Kennedy became a pretty good reliever, but fans seemed to hate him pretty quickly. I'm still furious over the Melancon trade, he was highly regarded, Berkman was walking like Jack Benny by then.

Thing is, you have to squeeze a lot of prospects for a useful Major Leaguer!

Kevin said...

Arodys Vizcaino was a highly regarded "Super Electric Stuff" low minors pitcher who we gave up in a big trade (Vazquez?). I seem to remember that Keith Law thought that he had great potential, IF he could stay healthy. Sure enough, he was in the Majors from 2011-19, he was turned into a reliever, and was terrific in short spurts before going down for months or years. HE COULD HAVE BEEN OUR HEARTBREAK. Speaking of which, wasn't Jose Rijo in our system?

Unknown said...

Three words:

Wily Mo Pena

Kevin said...

@unknown, we are trying to come up with players who actually became "somebody" After the Yankees traded them away.

With the moderators permission we should do the "never made it". For me, at least, it's an exercise in understanding how few ever make it at all.

Getting into the majors is fucking hard!

Anonymous said...

Jose Rijo and Doug Drabek come to mind. Along with Al Leiter. Those guys could've really helped us.

So actually, we did develop some pitchers during the late '80s or early '90s. It's just that King George gave them away for peanuts. Probably gave away a championship or two also.

The Hammer of God

HoraceClarke66 said...

Right you are, Hammer!

And thanks for reminding me of all these other deals, everyone (despite the nausea I feel).

We actually gave up Dempsey, McGregor, and Tippy—not Denny—Martinez in that Orioles deal, along with Rudy May. We got back Doyle Alexander, Grant Jackson, Ken Holtzman, and Elrod Hendricks.

Not a good trade. Dempsey was a useful, part-time catcher for years, McGregor became a first-rate major-league starter for years, and Tippy was long a valuable loogy.

On the other hand...Alexander and Jackson were instrumental in us nailing down the 1976 pennant, which was huge at the time, we had Rudy back by 1980, and we didn't much want for pitchers or catchers, at least for awhile then, during a big pennant run...

HoraceClarke66 said...

Good point on those deals, Leinstery.

The Berkman trade fiasco was compounded by the fact that Coops, as is his wont, just released ol' Lancelot after his couple of months with us. Just gave him up for nothing.

Lance was signed by the Cards, and hit .301 (.959), with 31 homers, driving St. Louis to the Series, where he hit .423 as they won the title. Your New York Yankees were narrowly eliminated by the Tigers in the ALDS that year.

A ring for giving up Melancon would have been acceptable—at least to me. Nothing for it was not acceptable. But that's our Bri...

HoraceClarke66 said...

The Rijo trade, Hammer, was part of the package for Rickey Henderson who really did pan out, so I can't complain there. (And I can complain a lot, in case you haven't noticed.)

The Drabek deal—for Rick Rhoden—was indeed awful, and looked awful at the time—another of the 1980s horrors.

Al Leiter went for Jesse Barfield in 1989, which didn't seem like a bad idea. Leiter was already 23, and couldn't seem to get his act together. He didn't for years to come, either, due to injuries and whatnot. He did all right as a swing man for Toronto's championship club in 1993, but didn't really blossom as a starter until he was 29, in 1995.

But then, that's where we came in, right? The trouble with never letting any late bloomers develop.

Anonymous said...

What I really cannot understand is why Cashman sometimes just throws away players for nothing, when everyone can see that they still have value. The Berkman "fiasco" indeed, Hoss. And more recently, we threw away Ji Man Choi, who continues to torture us and Gerrit Cole. Think we could've used his lefty bat this year?

The Hammer of God

Anonymous said...

Even for Rickey Henderson, the Rijo trade was still terrible. Because we went through many years without a single decent starting pitcher. And the Al Leiter for Jesse Barfield, swap, ditto.

Al Leiter very nearly gave us the ass-job in the 2000 World Series with the Mets. I think we got some divine help to win that series in five. The Mets were not a very good team, but we were getting old and barely made the playoffs that year. I think we won only 87 or 88 games during the regular season.

The Hammer of God

Kevin said...

I can still remember almost wrecking my car when we traded Leiter. But as noted above, it took a lonnng time to bite us. He had endless blister problems, and nagging injuries. Did he have TJS?

HoraceClarke66 said...

Gotta differ with you there, Hammer—a little.

I loved Rijo, too...but he was a swingman with ERAs of 4.65 and 5.90 for Oakland, in 1986 and 1987. He didn't really become a successful starter until he hit Cincinnati, from 1988-1994.

There is indeed serious argument to be made that one huge problem of the 1980s Yankees was how they kept adding hitters when they needed pitchers. On the other hand, you have to give up something for a titanic talent such as Henderson. Of course, had the Yanks not traded away Willie McGee and Fred McGriff for nothing, they might not have needed Rickey. Or if they had not traded away Drabek, they might not have needed Rijo...

Oh, it goes round and round!...

HoraceClarke66 said...

As for the 2000 World Series, well, the Yanks that year were aging and had gone a long spell without aging. After they all but clinched the division, they seemed to collapse.

But they were still a clutch team with a lot of pitching—just what the team could use NOW for the playoffs. They took a heavily favored Oakland team, then Seattle.

In the Series, yes, Leiter pitched very, very well. But it wasn't so much divine intervention as idiot play by the Mets, idiot decisions by Bobby Valentine...and Derek Jeter.

Remember Timo Perez walking when he should have run in Game 1? It still took an amazing relay by Jetes to cut him down at the plate. Then, after we dropped Game 3 because Torre left the Famous Original Duque in too long, Derek came out and homered leading off Game 4. He tied Game 5 with another homer...

...and then came Bobby. No pitcher, not even Al Leiter, is the same pitcher after 143 pitches. Beside, even if the Mets had won that game, they were going to have to go back to the Bronx and beat El Duque and Clemens, back-to-back.

Wasn't going to happen.

TheWinWarblist said...

Well, that was a load of pie in the sky pablum. You don't have to sugarcoat things for me. Just say it. These Yankees are terrible. They may need to be intubated and go to ICU. They will not survive the season, surely not. Hopefully they will have a comfortable and dignified passing. But I doubt it. I for one will be screaming at them, "Die already!! Die!! Die you miserable collection of thrombosed hemorrhoids!! Die!! Die already!!"