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Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The prodigal Manny Banuelos, who launched the myth of the "Yankee Pedro," comes home

It was 2011 when Manny Banuelos, then 20, rocketed through our farm system - the first in that line of mythical creatures known as Yankeus Pedromicus. 

The elusive "Yankee Pedro" remains a legendary, fantastical being - a hieracosphinx promoted by the YES machine and nurtured by true believers, a group to which many on this site once belonged.

Long ago, the prophets proclaimed that a diminutive starter would rise from the mucked rotations of Moosic and lead the Yankees back to greatness, or at least a division title. 

This creature would karmically offset the pain and disruption caused by Pedro Martinez, a head-hunting crusher of Yankee dreams in the final days of the Curse.  Like the Great Pumpkin and Godot, this wondrous being was supposed to lead us out of the wilderness, if only we kept up our subscriptions to Baseball America, and believed. 

The first Yankee Pedro was Manny Banuelos, a 5'10" lefty who seemed a miniature mix of Andy and Whitey, and who ranked as our No. 1 prospect on the pig lists. On New Years Day, 2015, when Manny was dealt to Atlanta for David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve, was there anyone here who did not think the Yankees had traded away a future star? But the years weren't kind to Manny. In fact, the franchise probably held on to him too long.

In a world of Betanceses, Aroldises and giant Chad Greens, the notion of a tiny Yankee ace has fortified our fantasies for the last 15 years. For a while, it was Luis Severino - who bore a physical resemblance to Martinez, and even worked out with Pedro - though he clocked in at 6'2". Unfortunately, "Setback Sevy" cannot seem to stay on the field. I supposed we're still hoping for him in 2022, right? He must be, what, 50? 

Last winter, Deivi Garcia - a 5'10" righty - seemed poised to become the Pedro.  Something went wrong. Deivi fell apart in Scranton, couldn't throw strikes, an absolute wipeout year. The closest to a true Yankee Pedro might be Jonathan Loaisiga,  5'11", but he remains a bulwark of the bullpen, not an ace starter. 

Which brings us back to the McConaughey Flat Circle of Time. Yesterday, the Yankees signed Banuelos to a minor league contract. They'll invite him to camp, if there is a camp. He hasn't pitched in two years, though he's surely been throwing on the side. He'll come to Tampa looking less like a Yankee Pedro than a Lucas Luetge, a bullpen situational lefty.  Let's wish him luck. 

Somewhere out there, a Yankee Pedro might now be entering grade school. Will we live long enough to see the prophesies fulfilled? Or are we just chasing Bigfoot? I donno anymore. But it's cold outside, and I'll happily live off the memories, if they get me through this winter.


Celerino Sanchez said...

Can Andrew Brackman & Brandon Claussen be far behind?

JM said...

How much you wanna bet that this is the "big" signing as far as pitchers go?

Not that there's going to be a season, but you know.

Scottish Yankee fan said...

Andrew Brackman I think was last seen in the former Yugoslavia playing semi professional basketball

Doug K. said...

Love the idea of "The Pedro". Never saw it expressed like that.

Are there other mythical baseball creatures? A-rod's painting of himself as a unicorn doesn't count.

BTW - I know it's a centaur but you have to admit, unicorn is funnier.

Go ahead take a second to picture it.

Hah! Now you will never be able to un-see it!


HoraceClarke66 said...

"Hieracosphinx"—I love it Duque! And the Alexicorn is pretty funny, too, Doug.

Yeah, the last of the Killer B's. Well, at least we got some very good years out of Toonces.

el duque said...

We're still waiting on "The Next Mattingly."

ranger_lp said...

@JM...this idea of having a season is starting to fall under the category "Hope Porn" ...

Publius said...

"(Insert name here) fell apart in Scranton"

Never truer, or more widely applicable, words.

Unknown said...

Luis Gil had the Future Yankees Pedro stench on him for a bit, yet he regressed.

Alas, I digress

EDB said...

Just another failed prospect under the Cashman watch. He brings Buenellos back to show us what a Genius he is. Manny in two seasons, 1 6.31 ERA. Once again, this shows that Genius Cashman is anything but!

HoraceClarke66 said...

I continue to hope for no season, implosion, anarchy in the USA—that is, when it comes to baseball. (Everything else, I want peace and prosperity, as soon as possible!)

What should we name our new, New York teams in the new leagues that evolve out of this mess?

The Bronx Brutalists? The Brooklyn Mollusks, after our great oystering tradition?

Oh, the possibilities are endless!!!

Publius said...

New York Baseball Club, for consistency across the enterprise. Branding's so important.

Doug K. said...

The Bronx River Rats

The Archangel said...

I vote for the Pizza Rats

Kevin said...

Let us not forget that even Mo proclaimed the Young Lad to be the real deal. I'm at the point of being comfortably numb with this organization. A quarter of a century of almost no talent getting drafted (who have we even traded from the minors who really bloomed?) followed by an owner who seems to have lost interest. We've become the Cal Pohland era Twins. I'm running out of patience with this smug bullshit that flows from Hal and his errand boys. I was a rabid football fan, until I wasn't, hopefully events keep my interest in baseball.