Thursday, December 24, 2020

Looking for Mr Cashman...


Photo Credit: Mike Stobe, Getty Images

Yankees remain silent this off-season…

 'Twas the night before Christmas…

That’s it, sorry.

There is your recap of the Yankees Universe since the team cleared out their lockers in October. Alright, there has been some activity but nothing of the variety that gives bloggers something to talk (write) about. I didn’t expect any activity in November but I was certain there would be some movement in December. Well, for other teams maybe but not the beloved Pinstripers.

The Yankees did bring back a couple of familiar names this month. Reliever Adam Warren, making his fourth return to the team, is back and ready to resume his career after a Tommy John sabbatical. He’s not glamorous but Warren has always been a trooper when called upon. Historically, he’s done better with the Yankees than some of his other teams, but whatever works. I like him and I’m glad he has an opportunity for another run with his original team. The other comebacker is Nestor Cortes Jr., who was sleepless in Seattle last season. Depending upon how things shake out, there’s potentially a role for either guy. Worst case, they represent depth although I doubt either wants to see the bright lights of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA. It will be fun to see and hear their thoughts on camera when the guys assemble in Tampa in a couple of months.

Photo Credit: Kelley L Cox, USA TODAY Sports

I have to say I was disappointed to see Tommy Kahnle leave. It was inevitable when the Yankees attempted to send him outright to Scranton at the end of October and he elected free agency. He won’t pitch again until 2022, thanks to Tommy John surgery, but I still hated to see him leave. I liked him when he was a Yankees prospect, hated it when he got plucked away by the Colorado Rockies, was happy when he returned, and although I was disappointed with his 2018 season, I was still glad the huge Eagles fan was a Yankee. He’s always just been one of those players I like through thick and thin. I guess all things considered, I was happy to see him land with the Los Angeles Dodgers if he was going to leave the Yankees. The LA Angels would have been fine too as I can walk to Angels Stadium but Dodger Stadium is a quick ride up I-5 (I can lane split, legal in CA, with my motorcycle). I am on record as saying the Dodgers are my favorite NL team and they have been ever since Donnie Baseball was their manager (not sure why I didn’t fully embrace them when Joe Torre was their manager). Tough for a Yankees fan to say, but I probably own more Dodgers caps (to go with my Mookie Betts jersey and other Dodgers paraphernalia).  You have to understand that while I love the Yankees, I love Los Angeles. I don’t mean specifically the Dodgers…I just love the city. I was away for four years in Colorado but I’ve been back in the greater Los Angeles area since March and I am thankful for every day back home despite the pandemic. I kind of wish the cost of living were less and that not so many other people loved it here, but that’s okay, I find my happiness here. So, welcome to Los Angeles, Tommy! I know the Dodger fans will appreciate your enthusiasm for the game and the talent you possess in your arm. 

I know the Yankees inactivity is based largely on the ongoing negotiations with DJ LeMahieu. I get it, but it always strikes me as odd that a team which employs so many people in the front office, they simply cannot multi-task.  When GM Brian Cashman said that Gleyber Torres was a better second baseman than shortstop (not those exact words but the meaning was there), I did wonder if he was setting the stage for LeMahieu’s departure and to express his desire to bring in a shortstop over an encore performance by Le Machine. What shortstop? I don’t know. I don’t really expect a Francisco Lindor trade, and although I recognize Andrelton Simmons as a premier glove, he just doesn’t excite me.  I’d probably rather see the return of Didi Gregorius, even if he isn’t the defender Simmons is. Didi has the “it” quality. He brings so many intangibles to a team and he’s very cohesive in the clubhouse. Team chemistry is so important and Didi is certainly a glue.  He can also bring it with the bat when necessary. I know he’s getting older but he is also distancing himself from Tommy John surgery and I think he can be a solid contributor for a World Series champion…if LeMahieu leaves. The Yankees can’t let DJ leave for Toronto or the Mets, can they? That would be heartbreaking either way.

While I think Brian Cashman will bring a formidable starting rotation to camp, the present assignment of Gerrit Cole (great), Jordan Montgomery (good) and the bevy of Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, Michael King, Jonathan Loaisiga and Domingo German (nice potential) just doesn’t strike me as a rotation that can compete with the best of the best. The Yankees clearly need a solid #2. Luis Severino can be THAT guy but he won’t be ready until mid-season at the earliest and you always have to recognize the early return after TJ surgery can be a bumpy road. In my mind, Sevy is not the Sevy of old until 2022 at the earliest. In other words, if I am trying to determine the guys I need to make a championship run in 2021, Sevy is just not one of the chess pieces I’d count on. Anything we get from Sevy should be considered gravy. Hopefully, he’ll be a beast in 2022 but that doesn’t help this season.

Now that the Pittsburgh Pirates have traded first baseman Josh Bell to the Washington Nationals, it will hopefully end some of the Luke Voit trade talk. I’ve already seen the ‘let’s trade Ford to Pittsburgh because they need a first baseman’ tweets. Not that I’d be opposed to trading Mike Ford or trying to acquire Pirates starter Joe Musgrove, but I recognize if we are thinking about it now, Brian Cashman has thought about it and has moved on to other ideas.  The one thing we’ll never see in our lifetimes is Brian Cashman looking at Twitter and saying, “Oh geesh, I should have thought about that!”. 

Put me in the category of those who say do whatever it takes to make Luis Castillo a Yankee. I don’t think it will happen but, man, a front two of Gerrit Cole and Luis Castillo would be sweet.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

I haven’t formed my thoughts on the 2021 season yet, but I don’t think, today, the Yankees have the roster to make 2021 the first championship year since 2009. I think they have the team, with pending enhancements and modifications, to be the last team standing. But it is a matter of when (if?) the Yankees make the necessary moves to bring the championship back to the Bronx.  I do expect some movement in January but ultimately who knows. This is a weird year, unlike any we’ve ever experienced. I look forward to a day when the COVID-19 vaccines are readily available for all of us and we can return to some sense of normalcy. Bumping elbows at a baseball game has been missed. Pour your beer on me when we return to stadiums…it’s all good. I’ll take the bad with the good because baseball, and baseball live and in person, is better. I look forward to it.

It is Christmas and I wish a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours. We’ve suffered a great deal this year. Many of us have lost friends and loved ones and we’ll certainly never forget them. I am glad you are here and I want you…and your family…to be happy and safe. Setting the Yankees aside, the most important aspect of this blog is you, your health and the health of those around you. There are challenging times ahead before it gets better but together we are strong and together we’ll get through this. Much love to all of you...

Merry Christmas, my friends.

As always, Go Yankees!

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