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Category: Hot Stove

IcyHot Stove

Sooo… how ’bout that weather?

Indeed, it’s been an effort this winter to stay warm and in a cheery mood, not that Cashman and the Yanks haven’t tried to help. After all, snatching up a reigning MVP entering his prime from one league and pairing him with a homegrown runner-up MVP who also happens to be the unequivocal Rookie of the Year and still a couple years away from his prime (hopefully) has to qualify as a heat-seeking missile maneuver to say the least. Re-signing C.C. seems like posturing after the Mother Of All Dunks (hey, they ain’t called the Bronx Bombers for nothing…). Yet even with that, the ripples of time have dissipated far and long enough enough for us to see that this off-season has been in relative stasis; the iguanas falling out of the trees are frozen in expectation of better conditions to act within their nature.

So what are we waiting for?

I guess we’re still waiting on that market, huh? Yunnow, the one that seems to be getting busy later and later in the off-season these past few years? I dunno, with what amounts to a soft-cap looming over the proceedings and a new generation of smart shoppers analyzing everything with modified Hubble telescopes and probability vector algorithms, the Hot Stove has been as interesting as watching flies fiduciary-fiduciary-fiduciary… you get the picture.

To be honest, I’m quite pleased with the relative “restraint” the Yanks have shown in this and the last few seasons; Ellsbury notwithstanding. They’ve figured out how to add and subtract big contracts and farm pieces without putting too much pressure on their bottom line, but obviously the major factor in this formula working is the fact that their prospects are mostly living up to their rankings when they hit the big stage, which creates more capital to pull off a big trade such as Ultron for Rikki Tikki Tavi and two diamond pinkie rings. And so far, what they haven’t done has given them credibility going forward; not trading for Gerritt Cole, who not long ago gave us all the impression that he never wanted to be a Yankee to begin with to me makes up for the pre-dynasty years wasted on Jack McDowell. Now if they can only avoid making a long-term regret with Yu Darvish… I like Darvish and our old Toaster fam Mike Plugh was not wrong about him, but I also like that he purportedly skipped a ridiculously Ellsburyish offer with a 48-hr deadline, which probably means if he does sign with the Yanks, it’ll be for significantly less ducats.  As is, the Yanks can live somewhere around $25-30 million under the luxury tax line without him.

So as presently constructed, what do you think we can expect from this influx of power and youth? Is it safe to consider the roster a go heading into February, or are we waiting for the fire to heat up now that certain teams are starting to make a few moves? Is Gleyber a lock at second or does Cashman want to let him warm up in SWB coming off an  injury and all… is Miguel Andujar the answer at third or is Todd Fraizer going to slide in under the budget line somehow? Does Jacoby break with the team going north and turn in a Headleyesque barnburner of an April-May that gets him some admirers from far-flung contenders? Will Hicks continue to build on what the Twins didn’t have the patience for? Can Gardy… wait, do we still have to do the stupid “name-y” thing now that Joe’s gone? And who’s going to be our Achilles’ Heel bench guy who had one good season and is signed to keep the lineup human THIS year?

Oh yeah, and is Aaron Freakin’ Boone gonna do it or what? Will our new Ulysses prove Cashman to be the brilliant Texas Hold-Em Pragmatic Genius that we hope he is at this point, or will Cashman be forced to do a Dan Jennings The Elder and take over halfway through May? What’s it gonna be, Bob Brenly  or Bucky Dent?

*Before you say it, I know Brenly was a coach with the Giants under Roger Craig and Dusty Baker before he replaced Buck Showalter in Arizona, but it was his first season and first manager job, dangit! One would hope that Boone can outdo Brenly given the roster he gets to handle. As for Bucky… Bucky F*cking Dent, woo hoo!!

 

Step to the Left

Notorious Yankee-killer Evan Longoria gets shipped to San Francisco, a long ways away. Happy to see him gone from the AL East, but, as the saying goes, I’d grown accustomed to his face. He was a worthy adversary, and will be missed in a weird way. Of course, you all know the Yanks re-signed C.C. to a one-year, $10 million deal and that sounds about right. They also shipped away Chase Headley to save some dough and that sounds about right too. But I am also sorry to see him go because that Chase Headley’s a good egg.

Last summer, I spent a couple of days at the Stadium on assignment for Esquire poking around about Aaron Judge. I spoke to Judge, briefly, and to a few of his teammates: C.C. was standoffish, Didi was terse and odd, Aaron Hicks, then on the DL, was interesting and Brett Gardner was generous and helpful, and I’ll tell you this—Chase Headley was just such a good guy. No airs, no pretense, professional, but thoughtful, just a good guy. Gave me a lot of time, had some great observations. I’d never been his biggest fan just watching him but after meeting him I had no choice but to root for him for the rest of his career. Wish him luck.

[Photo Credit: Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports]

 

Caps for Sale

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Chris Sale to Boston and the Sox just got tougher.

Picture by Bags

Let’s Make a Dope Deal

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I used to work for a guy who said real Yankees unbutton the top button of their jersey cause that’s what the Mick did. Always think of that when I see Matt Holliday who often has the top few buttons of his jersey undone. As the Winter Meetings kick off news is the Yanks have signed the big fella. He’ll look good in pinstripes. Now, here is hoping the Yanks steer clear of Encarnacion.

Picture by Bags

Go Fish, Gin Rummy, Five Card Stud & Other Games The Yanks Apparently Aren’t Playing This Offseason

peanuts-5So far, there’s been relatively little of seriousness to discuss this off-season, which is par for the course these days around this portion of the year (unless you consider cashing in Brian McCann and his post-trade thoughts for a couple of futures worthy of going ballistic in the comments section). As I (meaning me) have suggested recently, it would be surprising if the Yanks made any tectonic-scale moves to bolster (replenish?) their starters in either the batting lineup or the pitching staff, but don’t be surprised if they swap out some guys for bullpen help or to shore up their bench. In fact, considering how well 2009 went regardless of our initial beliefs, anything’s still possible, so save that thought.

According to Mark Polishuk at MLB Trade Rumors (who apply their own accord on this to George A. King III), Yanks are in on our old pal Aroldis Chapman, though they are considerably wary of going five years with him. Similarly, but to a lesser extent, they are also interested in the hard-hitting Edwin Encarnacion, but are equally uninterested in a five-year deal with him. Both would represent considerably improvements in their area of expertise, though their need for Chapman outweighs their need for Encarnacion based on the presence of Gary Sanchez and (again) to a lesser extent the expectations placed on both Greg Bird and Aaron Judge. To this, we also add the possibility of the Yanks bringing back Carlos Beltran, though they might not get that chance either if they are trying to stay within their given budget parameters.

I would think that considerable attention should be paid to third base, where Chase Headley has been somewhat of a letdown and where the Yanks are considerably thin in their system having traded their former Trenton Thunder 3B Eric Jaigalo (their first pick overall in 2013 and by all accounts their closest-to-ready 3B prospect for the majors, even if he wasn’t really that close) and three others to bring in Chapman last off-season. Among their top ten prospects, none are slated to play third, which along with second has been a perennially overlooked issue with the Yanks of late. Maybe Cashman believes one of their infield prospects will take to the hot corner well enough to cover this seeming oversight, maybe he thinks Starlin Castro or Lil’ Ronnie Torreyes or a player to be discovered later will be good enough, or maybe he even thinks Headley can only go up from here. Perhaps, even, the Yanks can’t afford to go deep on any more starting infielders without trading for one that would ultimately upset the balance he’s creating with all of the prospects he’s stacking in the system at the moment (or because of, you know, the budget). Who really knows? As fans, all we can do is react and speculate, and I’m all out of Big League Chew

So here we are, waiting to see if Cashman can figure out a way to bring back the best closer currently playing in the majors (who you still might be a little wary of considering how he was used by manager Joe Torr–err, Maddon during the post-season) without breaking the bank or the system or future plans in the process, and also hope that while you know in the back of your mind there’s not much hope for contention in the coming year, they can at least make it interesting for far longer than they did this past season.

Ahem, take your time processing all that, it looks like it’s gonna be a long winter at any rate.

Probably Of Some Note…

Greg BirdIt’s early and all, but this will probably be of some note to some of us Banterers in the coming Spring. according to tweets by both NY Post’s Joel Sherman and LoHuds’ Chad Jennings (contained in the linked article) Greg Bird will be out for the entire 2016 season, due to shoulder surgery.  Apparently the Yanks have been hip to this since last May when the injury was first incurred, but doctors said he wouldn’t require any surgery… until now, with a recent recurrence of the injury.  *Sigh*, well, at least Cashman’s been making moves all winter to shore up the depth in the minors as that seems to be about to be put to good use, but dang this sure came out of left field for the rest of us.  Not that he was slated to start in the majors; in fact all indications were that Bird was to start off 2016 in SWB until need be, but crap.  Alex better get his 1B glove on, because he might have to put in some work there soon enough.

Meanwhile, get well soon, dude; see ya next year we hope.

What’s the Rumpus?

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Chad Jennings pokes around and delivers a few Yankee tidbits to keep you warm.

Picture by Bags

Where There is Smoke…

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What to make of the Yankees’ trade for Aroldis Chapman? The guy is clearly a stud on the mound but also possibly a huge asshole. And I don’t mean your run-of-the-mill Dave Kingman jagoff but a woman-beating creep. Kind of takes the fun out of imagining him in pinstripes, doesn’t it?

Okay, maybe he’s not a jerk, maybe he’s innocent of the charges against him–I’m sure it’s complicated. I know I’m presuming his guilt and that’s hardly fair. Regardless, this is a departure from how the Yanks have conduced business in recent years. They’re back to chasing talent with questionable character–let’s see if it blows up in their face or is a success.

I know Miller’s vulnerable to being traded and my hunch is that he will be moved. Still, Chapman, Betances and Miller at the end of games–that’s a formidable trio.

Picture by Bags

Hey Now

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Heywood to the Cubs.

Hot damn, here are the Cubs acting more like the Yanks than the Yanks these days.

Picture by Bags

Let’s Make A Dope Deal

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Or not, as the case may be for  the Yanks.  They are a conservative organization now but one never knows…

Regardless, the Winter Meetings are upon us.

Picture by Bags

The Thin Man Gets His

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Arizona Diamondbacks

We’re used to rooting against David Price round these parts though he’s always seemed like an agreeable enough fellow. Now, we’ll absolutely be rooting against him since he’s set to play for the Red Sox who signed him to a whooper of a deal (7 years with an opt-out after 3). Our chum Pete Abe broke the story. 

Photo Credit: USATS

What’s Happening?

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Catching up with the Yanks is the ever-excellent Chad Jennings. A good over-view of what’s what on an otherwise slow news day round these parts.

Meanwhile, slide on over to Esquire Classic and check out the little Q&A I did with my pal John Ed Bradley on a story he once wrote for Esky on Lawrence Taylor. 

Picture by Bags

Movin’ Right Along

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S’long JR Muphy, hello Aaron Hicks.

And say, children: what does it all mean?

Murphy was a nice Yankee. Wish the dude good luck.

Picture by Bags

Enthusiasms

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James Shields head for the sunshine and there’s plenty to be enthusiastic about in San Diego.

Wanted

MLB: Texas Rangers at Kansas City Royals

Over at SI.com, Jay Jaffe’s winter report card gives the Yanks a preliminary grade of B-:

New York has exercised atypical financial restraint this winter, yet managed to shore up trouble spots by adding younger and less expensive players. Gregorius and Headley are the two youngest in the lineup, with McCann, who turns 31 in February, the only other regular younger than Drew. Meanwhile, the influx of new pitchers over the last two years leaves Sabathia and Capuano as the only pitchers over 30. Payroll will still be well over $200 million, but Cashman has ensured the Yankees more flexibility down the road, and the farm system is much improved thanks to better drafting and a burst of international signings. Whether or not they deviate by adding Shields, it’s a coherent philosophy that better sets them up for the long haul, even if they fall short of the postseason again in 2015.

[Photo Credit: USATSI]

All Together Now

LOS ANGELES DODGERS WORKOUT AT CAMELBACK

Coaches.

[Photo Credit: Jon Soo Hoo]

The Paper Chase

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Will Chase Headley be a Yankee?

The City That Never Sleeps

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Meanwhile, in L.A...BOOM.

And, this.

[Photo Credit: Jon Weisman]

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver