Friday, July 6, 2018

Don't Let Us Down, Cash

It's time for you to really step it up, Cash.

It was reported this morning that Brian Cashman is interested in acquiring Mike Moustakas.

In a word... "good".

The 2018 New York Yankees are special. Never before, in my 40 years on this Earth, have I felt this way about the Bombers.

Perhaps it has to do with the Wild Card one-and-done playoff game. Or maybe it's the lackluster starting rotation. I suppose it could be the team has gotten little production from their catchers and first baseman. It probably has to do with them having the second-best record in Major League Baseball, while the team with the best record is in the same damn division.

Who am I kidding? It's all of those things!

As awesome as this team is they can be better. And seeing how the Red Sox and Astros have been playing they probably need to get better.

I get so angry just thinking about this team being relegated to the Wild Card game, and losing due to a sub-par showing. Which absolutely can happen. The Seattle Mariners, as of right now, would be the second Wild-Card team and that lineup of theirs can do some real damage.

But when Brian Cashman has so much firepower at his disposal, something must be done to improve. The farm system is loaded, while almost all of them are blocked at the big league level. Along with plenty of room under the Luxury Tax threshold, the Yankees can get whatever player they want.

I'd love to give Greg Bird a little more time to see if he can get settled and hit like so many people think he can, but if options to upgrade at first base start to dwindle then make a move. Avoid having a hole in the lineup for guys like Verlander, Sale, and Bauer to exploit.

I would say the same for the catching spot, but I just don't believe that Gary Sanchez is going to go from a great hitter one year to a below average one the next. That's the one sore area that I'm cool sticking with.

Oh, and that starting rotation... it's the shits. You have Luis Severino (214 ERA+), CC Sabathia (140 ERA+), and everyone else (below average, except Loaisiga who  I just don't trust to start a big game). How can you possibly stick with that? Especially when the Red Sox have Chris Sale (181 ERA+), Rick Porcello (122 ERA+), and Eduardo Rodriguez (113 ERA+). Or the Astros have Justin Verlander (176 ERA+), Charlie Morton (148 ERA+), and Gerrit Cole (140 ERA+). And the Indians have Trevor Bauer (179 ERA+), Corey Kluber (166 ERA+), and Mike Clevinger (141 ERA+).

That rotation is absolutely unacceptable.

And for the record, JA Happ would be nice, but if that's the team's "big" acquisition I'm not going to be blown away at all. Happ just got shelled by the Tigers (he gave up 7 runs, on 10 hits, in 5.2 innings), and since pitching gems against the Red Sox and Rangers on April 24th and 29th, the only times he's looked really good were against the Mets and Orioles (you could look good against those lineups).

Who cares if it's the cross-town Mets that get to enjoy Clint Frazier, or whatever other young future stars? At least they are in the National League, and the Yankees would only have to worry about facing those players a handful of times a year during interleague play (I don't seem them being World Series contenders for a while). So do whatever it takes to get deGrom.

Luis Severino (214 ERA+)
Jacob deGrom (207 ERA+)
CC Sabathia (140 ERA+)
Masahiro Tanaka (meh)
Sonny Gray (ugh)

Doesn't that rotation look sick?

Plus, Tanaka is not that far away from the pitcher we saw 2016. He simply needs to walk fewer batters and keep the ball in the park more often. That may be easier said than done, but the point is it's certainly possible.

And Sonny Gray is not done for, either. I really think he has to go back to what worked for him so well in Oakland and use the fastball more often. It's not like his velocity has dropped, and he needs to figure out another way to be effective (like Sabathia did).

Again... this 2018 Yankees team is special, and they have a chance to be so much better. And if Brian Cashman doesn't get it done, then in this writer's opinion, he's very much tarnished his legacy.

Don't let us down, Cash.

Hey Cash, Omar's on Line 1...

‘Tis the Season to Make Trades…

I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of July and the excitement of the non-waiver trading deadline at the end of the month. It’s my favorite time of the year except for when the Yankees are playing in the Fall Classic. We know that GM Brian Cashman has openly talked about adding starting pitching since last winter. Yet, admittedly, I am starting to feel like a bit of a prospect-hugger. 

I’ve seen the names of Cole Hamels and J.A. Happ and have dreamed what they might look like in Pinstripes, but the more I think about it, the more I think they are not worth the price of admission.

Here are the top ten Yankees prospects according to

Outfielder Estevan Florial
LHP Justus Sheffield
RHP Albert Abreu
RHP Chance Adams
RHP Luis Medina
RHP Freicer Perez
RHP Domingo Acevedo
SS/2B Thairo Estrada
RHP Dillon Tate
RHP Matt Sauer

Perez is out for the year after surgery last month to clean up bone spurs in his right shoulder, but I know the Yankees are very high on him.  There’s not a name that I would want to sacrifice for a “rental”. I would absolutely hate to see the Yankees send someone like Albert Abreu to Toronto for a couple of months of J.A. Happ. Happ is not going to be a difference-maker in October and Abreu has the potential to haunt the Yankees for years.  That’s not worth it to me. 

If the Yankees are going to send talented, high-ranked prospects out of the organization, it needs to be for frontline players. I know it’s unlikely the Yankees will pry Jacob deGrom from the New York Mets, but that’s how high the Yankees need to set their sights.  Otherwise, we’re just throwing talent away. 

I think the Yankees will have another starting pitcher by the end of the month, but I hope that it’s not an overpay situation. I would like to see an upgrade for Chasen Shreve’s spot in the bullpen even if the pitcher’s last couple of outings have been decent.  I am sure that Cashman is burning the midnight oil and is making daily phone calls to his buddies around both leagues. My hope is that he surprises us with a significant upgrade. He has done it before and there’s no reason he can’t do it again.  He has 26 days counting today. No pressure, Cash, the eyes of the Yankees Universe are upon you. 

The Boston Red Sox are rumored to be looking at Tampa Bay’s Nathan Eovaldi. I wouldn’t really want Nasty Nate back in Pinstripes but I can’t say that I’d be too excited to see him in Boston. I’d rather see him go someplace like Atlanta if he is moved as expected. 

It’s sounding increasingly like the Baltimore Orioles will trade Manny Machado. There’s no real chance the Yankees are in play nor should they be. He’s another player that I’d hate to see end up in Boston, although I don’t think the Red Sox have the prospects to entice the O’s to trade within the division (or least I hope hot).  For the sake of the Los Angeles Dodgers, I hope Machado does not go to Brandon Drury’s old team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. I’ve heard the Philadelphia Phillies mentioned but I think the Philly market is too close to Baltimore. It would be hard for the Angelos family to watch Manny thrive in the Delaware Valley. The St Louis Cardinals make perfect sense to me as a possible destination. Last off-season, it felt like Manny would be an eventual Yankee but now I am not so sure. There’s also a chance that Manny goes someplace that he really likes and decides to stay for his next contract (like the NBA’s Paul George just did in opting to stay with the Oklahoma City Thunder after it had been rumored for months, even years, that the Palmdale, CA native was destined to play for the Los Angeles Lakers). I am a little miffed about George although I have my new LeBron James shirt to pacify me. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers failure to sign their first round pick in the recent MLB Draft showed me how fortunate the Yankees were to lock up young high school catcher Anthony Seigler. Prior to the draft, Seigler had committed and signed to play for the University of Florida. He bypassed that opportunity when he signed with the Yankees, and admittedly, it was a huge sacrifice on his part despite the dollars he received from the Yankees. There are no guarantees that he’ll make the Major Leagues but a college education is forever. It’s always a wakeup call for how much these guys sacrifice to play the game we all love. So very few ever make the millions and millions that await guys like Machado and Bryce Harper. For the Dodgers, they lost J.T. Ginn, a hard-throwing high school pitcher from Mississippi who announced that he’ll attend Mississippi State instead of signing with the them. The Dodgers had taken Ginn with the 30th pick in last month’s draft. They also lost another first-rounder four years ago when Louisville pitcher Kyle Funkhouser opted to stay in school for an additional year. You certainly cannot blame these young men for trying to better their lives as they see fit. But conversely, it underscores the risk of trying to sign young players. I wish everyone who tried could succeed but unfortunately life doesn’t work that way and there are not enough opportunities to go around. So, we make the best we can do, one day at a time. 

As expected, infielder Tyler Wade will be promoted to the active roster today to replace Gleyber Torres who was placed on the 10-day DL on Wednesday. I had been quietly hoping for the promotion of Clint Frazier but the presence of Wade makes more sense in terms of roster makeup. I’d really prefer to see Wade and Brandon Drury get the opportunities at second over Neil Walker. Walker remains my preferred DFA candidate. After it had been announced that Wade would be called up before today’s game in Toronto, all Clint Frazier did was hit two home runs and drive in four runs in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s 9-6 win over the Buffalo Bisons. Clint, we miss you.

Lastly, Jon Paul Morosi wrote on earlier today that the Yankees have considered trading for Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas with the intent to play him at first base. Nothing against Moose Tacos. I like him well enough but he has less experience at first base than Brandon Drury. I remain hopeful that Greg Bird will start hitting like we know he can. If he does, Moustakas is better off going to Atlanta. If there is any truth to the rumor, I guess it at least shows that Brian Cashman is thinking outside the box.

After a day of no Yankees baseball, our team will soon take the field against at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario. It’s a wonderful day for a Yankees win. Oh crap, Sonny Gray is on the mound. On the bright side, at least the game is not being played at Yankee Stadium. Time for #55 to start showing us he is a reliable part of the rotation.

Go Yankees!