Sunday, August 30, 2020

Winning is Better...

Photo Credit: Adam Hunger, Associated Press

Yankees halt losing skid…

As I sit down to write this post, the Yankees have won one game today, albeit a big comeback to do it, but a win is a win. The Yankees have won the last two games in walk-off fashion, after finally snapping the seven-game losing skid on Saturday. The Yankees are just getting underway with the second of today’s games. Young rookie Deivi Garcia makes his Major League debut.

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I hate losses. Sorry, but I grew up in the George Steinbrenner era where anything less than an undefeated season was unacceptable. Okay, I might not be too serious about that part but I was really hoping to avoid a losing skid this year with the shortened number of games. Seven games basically represents 12% of the schedule. Ouch! With the Yankees trailing the Tampa Bay Rays by four games in the AL East, they really can’t afford to keep losing. The regular season’s final month begins on Tuesday. The Rays have played a few more games than the Yankees due to the recent stretch of no games due to the COVID-19 concerns at Citi Field last weekend. The Yankees can make up ground with the rescheduled games but they need to win them. A nice 10-game winning streak would feel good about now.

When I woke up this morning, I was a little surprised it was my favorite NFL team, not my MLB team, that had pulled off the day’s biggest trade with MLB’s looming trade deadline tomorrow.  For what it’s worth (I realize most of you are Giants or Jets fans), the Minnesota Vikings acquired disgruntled DE Yannick Ngakoue from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ngakoue gives the Vikings a pair of elite defensive ends (homegrown powerhouse Danielle Hunter is the other) which is great for a team that took some heavy free agent losses this past off-season. I kind of expected Yankees news before anything Vikings but so far the Yankees have been quiet. On one hand, I’d love to see them get reinforcements, but on the other, I don’t want to get rid of quality young talent for rentals. Not this year. 

I was kind of disappointed today when I saw the Baltimore Orioles had traded reliever Mychal Givens to the Colorado Rockies. I always thought Givens would be a good pickup for the Yankees. I realize he didn’t have a great 2019 season but he formed a good duo with Zack Britton not long ago and he’s been much better this year in a setup role. Phil Nevin’s son, Tyler, is now in the AL East with his dad as he was part of the package the O’s received for Givens. 

Photo Credit: Dom Amore, The Hartford Courant

I don’t want to see the Yankees part with prospects to get Lance Lynn. I realize that Lynn has been much better in Texas than he was with the Yankees, but he feels a little like ‘been there, done that’ to me and I just don’t trust him for the long term. Mike Clevinger would be nice if the Cleveland Indians are really serious about trading him, but he just seems like the latest Tribe trade bait that will be discussed for years before it happens and by the time it does, the receiving team will get damaged goods a la Corey Kluber.  

It seems like it is the potential end of the road for Erik Kratz’ latest tenure in Pinstripes. With Kyle Higashioka preparing to return within the next couple of days, it appears as though Kratz will lose his seat at the table. This might be why the Yankees made the minor acquisition for catcher Rob Brantly last week, whom they have stashed at the alternate training site. You kind of feel bad for the 40-year-old Kratz who has been around the game so long but Major League jobs have been fleeting for him despite some minor success a couple of years ago with the Milwaukee Brewers. Say what you will about Higgy but he’s not going to be the one to get the pink slip. I’m sure there are a few Yankee fans who would like to see the Yankees cut Gary Sanchez. Yeah, right. I look forward to Gary’s contributions to deliver the next World Series to New York City. If you don’t cheer for him now, don’t cheer for him when he helps us win.  

I’d love to be in Brian Cashman’s “War Room” right now. I have no doubt Cash and his team are working the phones and have a strong sense of who’s available and who can be had for the right price. That kind of goes without saying (yet I did anyway). I guess it’s possible the Yankees do nothing. As they say, sometimes the best trade is the trade never made. While the starting pitching has looked better lately, the bullpen has been a bit of a concern. The blown games by the pen during the losing streak are uncharacteristic but, with the injuries the unit has seen and the fact this is just a friggin’ strange year, reinforcing a strength is not a bad idea. Despite the good performance by J.A. Happ this weekend, I would still like to see other options. I want to win now and while I like Mike King and Happ’s still around, I want better now! This is not a time to be patient. I say that as someone who felt the pain for years after the Yankees unloaded the promising young Al Leiter years ago, much to my disappointment at the time. We all know Leiter went on to have a very good Major League career. The infamous Jesse Barfield trade. Nothing against Barfield, but I don’t want to make another one of those types of trades. I am not advocating the trade of King, I just want better starting options for 2020. Let him battle for 2021 and beyond. This is an all-hands on deck situation, and we need the best possible arms for any chance in October.

Yankees slugger (snicker, snicker) Tyler Wade has just given young Deivi a 1-0 lead over Seth Lugo and the New York Mets.  

Young Deivi seems to be making a statement today. Three innings of hitless ball so far with five strikeouts. Not sure what the final numbers will look like, but he’s certainly in a groove right now and getting better. No, I don’t want to see Deivi packaged in a deadline deal tomorrow. Not because of this performance but I am looking forward to a battle between Garcia and Clarke Schmidt next Spring as they attempt to take one of the vacated starting spots in the rotation, most likely the one currently occupied by James Paxton (well, when he is healthy). 

Ken Rosenthal is floating the availability of Starling Marte and Archie Bradley, currently with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Both of those guys would look good in the Bronx. I’ve wanted Bradley for a few years now, and the Yankees could certainly use a quality outfielder with the health issues surrounding Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge.  

Photo Credit: Mark J Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports

I was surprised to see the Tampa Bay Rays move DH Jose Martinez to the Chicago Cubs this weekend. When the Rays picked up Martinez last off-season from the St Louis Cardinals, I thought it would work out to be another sneaky good move by the Rays. Martinez was a defensive liability in National League with the Cards but he has a powerful bat. He’ll settle into the DH role with the Cubs. You don’t expect a division leader to trade away veterans, even if they are underperforming, but then again, it’s the Rays and despite their success, they have to pay very close attention to the bottom line, especially in a year that sees no fans flock to Tropicana Field rather than the usual one or two dozen that show up during normal times.  

I know this is not baseball news but I was really saddened to hear about the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, 43, from colon cancer. Since he had not disclosed his illness, his passing was a shock. He was such a great thespian who had presence, incredible talent, charm and charisma. He made us believe he was Jackie Robinson in 42 and of course we all bowed to the great King of Wakanda in his epic role as Marvel’s Black Panther. I am even more impressed with Boseman’s public appearances over the last few years, in retrospect, when unknown to us at the time, he had already been diagnosed with cancer.  He continued to give until he could give no more. I always like to say everybody is replaceable but unfortunately, Chadwick is not. There will never be another like him, and it’s a huge loss for Hollywood…and for America and the entire World. It is ironic he passed on a weekend when Major League Baseball was celebrating the legendary Jackie Robinson but it’s the perfect tribute. Two very great men that we’ll never, ever forget. Wakanda Fovever!…Jackie Robinson Forever!…Chadwick Boseman Forever!…

It’s the fourth inning and Deivi Garcia just gave up his first hit. Trade the bum!  Seriously, he has done better than I thought but the real challenge will be the Mets getting their second and possibly third looks at him depending upon how deep he goes into this game. Regardless of how the game turns out, Deivi is making the case he wants to be at Yankee Stadium for the long haul. Great poise by the youngster who was deprived a vibrant Yankee Stadium crowd  for his, so far, highly successful adventure in the Bronx on a warm Sunny late August day.   

One day to the trading deadline. Will tomorrow bring us some new Yankees? We shall soon find out, boys and girls. Stay tuned…

As always, Go Yankees!

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