In Defence Of Jacoby Ellsbury

 

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Ellsbury straight stealing home in April 2016

 

Okay, so today I would like to write in defence of Jacoby Ellsbury because he is getting too much slack from the media and particularly in the Bronx Pinstripe Podcast. Now, this isn’t an attempt to slag off the guys on that podcast because I really enjoy their show and for the most part I agree with a lot of what they say about things pertaining to the Yankees.

But it comes to a point when a person has to speak up for someone else because the discourse has become unbalanced. So I shall try to offer a counterpoint to some of the Ellsbury bashings that have become the hobby of the moment.

For one thing, I agree completely when people say that the contract that he was given was one of the most ill-thought out and idiotic contracts that were ever given to the player. They handed him $153m for seven years, which breaks down at about $21,142,857 per annum. I mean that is a crazy-stupid contract to give a player whose performance is built on speed and on the health of his legs. It is obvious that such a contract was ill conceived because anyone with even half a brain would know that here is a player who is not going to keep the performance levels up. He was never a power bat apart from one season, his performances have dropped off and to be honest there was no sense offering him a contract like the one the Yankees gave him when the team that developed him refused to pay him that kind of money.

The Yankees signed him as a knee jerk reaction. First to try and appease the fans for the loss of Cano, something the Yankees should never let happen, but they did and were forced to try and bring in a guy that they thought could be the linchpin of the team they were building for no reason other than to have a good news story. The fact that Jacoby happened to be an ex-Red Sox player was just the cherry on top for the Yankee front office who seemed to let cheap point scoring at the expense of the BoSox get in the way of sound judgment. So if you are going to be annoyed about Ellsbury’s contract be annoyed at Hank, Hal, and whoever else made this move and offered this money because to be honest, being mad at a player who took this contract is just plain dumb. Of course, he was going to take the money that was offered. Who wouldn’t? He had no idea that he was going to pick up injuries that sped up the decaying of his playing performances and abilities. The Yankees should have known that he was already at peak performance and that he would not be the sound investment they claimed he was going to be.

The next thing to deal with is that he is a bum and that he has no incentive for playing well and is out there just going through the motions. They claim that he is not putting in the effort, citing his poor batting returns, or his lack of steals. But let’s look at this. As I already stated, he was never a power hitter, and his batting has been affected by the health issues that he has picked up. You can’t just say that it is Jacoby who is injured all the time. The Yankees have a really serious problem with players being injured and taking forever to recover, I mean recently we had a coward in the front office gripe about Bird and his injury and recovery time. This is a kid who has been prone to serious injuries, so should we be surprised that a guy who is ageing is starting to struggle with injuries and that this has cut down on his playing time and affected his hitting?

Also as far as the base running goes, it is common sense that he is not going to run as well as when he was younger, but actually there is another problem that is out of his control that means his steals will be down, and that lies with Joe Girardi who is one of the most conservative managers out there. He does not seem to have a whole lot of faith in the small ball game and is not keen on ordering bunt plays, steals and the like. Quite simply, the style of play that best suits Jacoby Ellsbury is the exact opposite of the style of play that Joe Girardi.

The claim that he is not playing with heart is just plain insulting to a professional athlete, and not at all in line with the truth when you look at the plays that he has made when he has taken the field. I mean the guy damn near killed himself this year chasing a fly ball down when he crashed hard into the wall. The resulting concussion affected him badly. Did we see someone there who was just going through the motions of appearing to play, pulling a Hal Chase out there? No, we saw someone make a flat out play, catching the ball and holding it, despite smashing into the wall and the ground. Plus let us not forget the game against Tampa in April of last year when the guy just flat out stole home… YES, HE STOLE HOME. The first Yankee to do that for 15 years. It was an incredible play. He has had 121 chances this year  118 of which were put outs, with just 2 errors made. That’s not lying down on the job. He is taking care of business where he still can. Last year he had 280 chances and only 3

His fielding has certainly not been poor either when you look at the figures. So far this year he has had 121 chances 118 of which were put outs, with just 2 errors made. That’s not lying down on the job. He is taking care of business where he still can. Last year he had 280 chances and only 3 errors, in 2015 he had 237 defensive chances and 0 yes zero errors, and in his first year with the Yankees he 384 chances and just 1 measly error in the field. So yeah while his batting has not been quite what they expected and he has not given much with base stealing as was hoped, he has been a fine fielder for the Yankees and has put his body on the line more than once.

So when I hear people claiming that he is a bum, worthless, not committing to the team because he has no incentive, and perhaps the worst signing in Yankees history I have to laugh. Because while his contract is ludicrous, it cannot be said that he has not given the Yankees much in return. That steal of home, a straight steal too, was definitely worth it. As has his reckless lack of self-regard when it comes to making plays in the field. There have been many signings that were miles worse for the Yankees that have not produced anything at all near as the value.

When you look at what Jake has given this team it is fair to say that he was not worth the contract that he was given, but again it must be made clear that the contract was the fault of the owners and the front office. It is not his fault that age and injury has slowed him down, or that he makes mistakes in base running when he is brought into a game that he is pinch running in, that can happen because the player might not be up to game speed as he would if he was in the game from the start. But to me, he was not the worst contract ever in the history of the Yankees despite the size of his pay cheque. For me, the worst signing will always be Kei Igawa who was paid basically $46m for 5 years, in which he played a sum total of 16 games over 2 years, and where he posted just two wins and ERA of 6.66 before spending the rest of his contract in A-Ball. $46m for just two wins. THAT is the worst signing by the Yanks. Jacoby, while not exactly living up to what he was paid, still has not let us down the as bad as some make out. Those who say he has are just speaking out of pay cheque envy and the resentment of a player who used to play for the Sox. They need to let it go and move on.

The Dust Settles On The Miller Trade, But We Still Wait For More More Trades and More Spin From Cashman as To Why They Haven’t Given Up On This Season

I get that the trading of Chapman and Miller brought something to the farm system. Some of the guys they got have the makings of some great players in the future. But call me old fashioned. I like the comfort of having a sure thing. Trading one of the best closers in baseball is hard to believe when you are trying to sell the idea of this team being relevant to the fans. Trading the two best closers in baseball is ludicrous. The Yankees did just that.

Yes, they are building up a good youth movement. But didn’t we already have a good youth movement in place? We keep hearing about these kids knocking around in the minors and how great they are, but we just don’t see them. Refsnyder has been an exciting player but he has not really had a whole lot of opportunities to do anything and that is evident in how low his numbers are. Greg Bird was sold to the fans as one exciting reason to buy season tickets last December only for us to be told in January that he was out for the season because the medical staff didn’t pick up on an injury he got playing for the Yanks in May until it was too late. All but robbing the fans. That was the first deflating moment of the new year and the Yanks have given us a whole bunch of deflating moments.

Yesterday’s trade has taken the life out of the clubhouse, and out of the fans. Or most of the fans anyway. There are some that think it is a great move and I get why they are thinking it is a great move. But even Cashman provided the caveat to this trade being a good one in his long winded self-serving conference call yesterday. He said that as long as the kids stayed healthy and as long as they progressed this would be a great trade for the future.

There are far too many ifs in that scenario to justify trading Miller who was tied to the club for two years and short of a major case of the yips would have been a massive tool in helping the Yankees win games. Because that is the point, we still want to win games. I don’t see how the Yankees are going to do that now. We have no faith in the starting rotation because they have been awful. We have no faith in the offence who can’t seem to score but just hit into double plays and leave men in scoring position all the time. The bullpen was the one thing we could be confident with and as had been the case all the Yanks needed was just one run in the seventh and then DMC came to the party and saved the win for us.

Sure they were a luxury because our hitters didn’t do anything. But rather than find guys who could hit, or drop the hitless wonders down to Scranton and replace them with kids who would maybe do better. Cashman got rid of our strong point and has left the team weak as hell going into a Subway Series. He hinted that we may see Clint Frazier in the big leagues this season, probably in September when the roster expands, or next year. But even then chances are we may only see him during Spring Training and the September roster expansion, while the other kids will not be seen in the league for another two to four years time.

Cashman pointed to his getting Adam Warren and Tyler Clippard as signs that the Yanks had not given up on the season, and next year too. But to try and make out that those two guys are anything the fans should be happy about spending a whole lot of money to see, is a joke. They are nothing like the guys they are replacing. And Betances is not a closer. The move to make him one will most likely take a while to work out and even then it may not work out. This Miller trade could be one that hurts us a lot more than all the optimism for the future can cover. To also say that they had not waved a white flag on the season while fielding calls for Beltran, including talks with Boston are sure signs that despite all the talk they have given up. We should trade A-Rod, or Headley to Boston, to get them back for trading us Drew in 2014 when we were in the hunt for the postseason. That was another Cashman trade that hurt the team more than it helped, like the Ackley trade of last year too, which saw us bring in a guy that Cashman said would help this team hit and get to the postseason, only for him to announce less than a day after he became a Yankee that Ackley was to go under the knife and miss out on playing time due to a spinal injury. And what became of Ackley? Has he fallen into the void?

Joe Girardi has said that he has not quit on the season and the players had better not see it as a white flag. But they played so damn flat last night that it was not easy to tune into the game and even then I could not follow it, and was not invested in it. After all, we are basically being told to root for a bunch of guys who are playing so badly that they would most likely have struggled to get onto the Yankees teams during the early 40s when they were made up of stop gap guys who filled in for the big stars who were away fighting the Nazis and Japanese. Joe has to say that, and I believe him. He will not give up because he is a competitor and will not lie down. Nor will he expect that from the players. But I cannot help but pity him because he is in a loser’s situation. The great prospects we got for a guy who could help us not have a disastrous season now, and for the two years after that is gone. This team will fail. They will probably not even finish with a winning record this year at the rate they are going and it will be down to Joe, not Brian where it should be. He will be judged unfairly by Yankees fans who have watched the team go downhill these past few years and will not see that Cashman was behind it. He will get the credit if the youth movement pays off. Joe won’t get the credit of doing a damn good job with a bunch of useless overpaid has-beens who seemed to quit.

With only hours of trading left before the deadline, there is a lot that could happen. Trading Beltran is the last sign that this team will be deemed a bust. Then they will be playing only for pride, and there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of pride in them. For now, I have changed my expectations for this season. Finish no more than 5 games under 500 and for Pete’s sake don’t come last in the AL East. If they do that, then I will not be too unhappy. Only thing is that I cannot count on them to do that, and it sucks.

Yanks Capitulate With Miller Trade

I am spitting mad at this hairbrained pointless trade. The Yankees traded our, no baseball’s, best relief pitcher for four prospects in a move that reminds me of the scene in Apollo 13 when things are going belly up and one of the poindexters in Heuston fling the contents of his pockets on the table and demands that they find something to fix the problem. A scene which depicts the wild railing one does when faced with a deteriorating situation in which they have no ideas or no ability to fix it. That is basically what Cashman has resorted to doing. He is emptying his pockets and dumping all the best this team has in some mindless attempt at looking like he is doing something. But he has done nothing.

In trading Miller, he has shown that he and the front office of the club have not only given up on getting into the postseason this year, but they have also given up on winning games. Andrew Miller was one of three players we could count on this season. Didi and Beltran were the other two. Castro added to the mix as has Ellsbury with his defence. Betances has been reliable too. But offensively, for the most part, the team has been a joke, and our starting pitchers have all been so up and down. The only thing that we knew was dependable was the loyal, team-first mindset of Andrew Miller.

What did we get for Miller?  Not a whole lot to be honest. We got four prospects from the Indians. But they are the kind of guys that we will not see for possibly four years. This the way Cashman seems to be going and he is very smug and happy with himself while being surprised that the teams he has put together these past three years have been for the most part massively disappointing.

I cannot understand just why he traded Miller. He was a player who would have helped us this year to win games, and would have helped us next year too. None of the guys we got from the trade will be of use to this team next year or the year later. As if this wasn’t a big smack in the face for us to lose Miller we also get the added insult from Cashman of seeing him trade a prospect for someone like Tyler Clippard who is nothing. I’m sorry for saying that about Tyler, but he is not going to bring anything relevant to the team and for Cashman to act like this acquisition is a great addition on the same day that we lost Miller is a joke.

I also cannot help but laugh when I hear him say that the Yankees have not given up on this year because they haven’t traded Beltran, while they are still taking calls for just about any player on the team. That tells me that they have given up on the team because if they were not giving up on the team they would say strongly that they were not taking calls and would, in fact, be out there making the damn calls to find players to fix the pathetic mess that Cashman has built over the past three years.

To say this is a good trade now is as much a premature celebration as George W Bush standing on the deck of that USS Abraham Lincoln. We have no way of knowing if this will work out down the line. It is that simple. But what we do know is that this move hurts the team now, and for the next few seasons. It may even go down as one of the worst trades in baseball history since Boston traded George Herman Ruth.

I am now just going to say what I am thinking… fire Brian Cashman. Enough is enough of this clown screwing things up with this team. We the paying fans deserve better than the muck he is spewing. To be expected to cheer for a team that has been sabotaged by its GM and owner, and to pay for the privilege while they keep putting clowns like Ackley, Drew, and Headley as great finds. Trading great closers and signing Tyler flippen Clippard to replace them. It is enough to give up on the team, stop listening and start paying attention to the Jets. I hate feeling like I can’t be bothered. But right now I do not feel much amped for the game. I will listen, but I am far from happy and just hope that come this off season Cashman is fired from the team. I wish he was fired before the season ends. Because to be outplayed by Tampa… that tells you just how bad this team is, and it is ALL Brian Cashman’s fault.

Yanks should follow Red Sox sell model: Audition these prospects — New York Post

“The world will not end if the Yankees sell, rather than buy, by the Aug. 1 non-waivers trade deadline. Instead, the Yankees might be making a different sort of purchase, an investment that can prove essential to an organization’s long-term health. ” Ken Davidoff

via Yanks should follow Red Sox sell model: Audition these prospects — New York Post

The Yankees failed to win their opening series after the All-Star Break leading to a massive talk about the need to become sellers and not buyers. This is a shift in the Yankee way of thinking of course. Who tend to be the kind of team who go out and buy more players before the trading deadline. The idea of them selling off their players is something that just feels un-Yankee like. They haven’t got a lot of players worth trading at the moment. Look at them, most of their pitchers are not good at worst and not consistent at best. Same can be said about their hitters. Their bullpen is shocking apart from their vaunted three closers. So when it comes down to it, who is there to trade? Beltran and Chapman are the best choices because they are in the final year of their contracts. They are also good enough to be desirable and worth something, and could end up going to a team that is a contender for the playoffs. Cleveland is one such team. Or the Cubs.

Miller is another hotly discussed trade move. But I hope not. We can still get to the playoffs if we don’t panic. We need to get some guys who are hitting. Jettison those who are not. We need to do exactly what Ken Davidoff said in this article in the Post. We need to copy what Boston has done as I have said in my last post, and be ruthless in replacing guys who are not performing with prospects who are, and give them a shot at playing. We also need to think about who we can bring into the team that will do well. Not based on last years figures or a good season three years ago which is how Cashman seems to operate but find guys who are doing well NOW… THIS SEASON. If the Yankees have decided this season is a dead bust, then they need to get rid of some of the dead weight that is costing the team big money for little in return. They need to give the kids a chance to wet their feet with no fear of failure and start making moves for the future rather than clinging to the past.

The Yanks won. It was great, it was needed. It also was the kind of thing that will galvanise Cashman into thinking he is good, all is well. No need to do anything. Which given how bad his choices have been for the most part these past few years, might be a good thing. But doing nothing for fear of messing up is not a good basis for decisions. The front office has not given the coaches anything to win with. Sure we have some good guys brought in, Ellsbury, Castro, Didi. That’s it. The rest of the moves have stunk like Bigfoot’s armpits. No wonder we have languished outside of contention for ages since 2012 besides one playoff game last year. Still, we have had winning seasons for 23 seasons in a row. Let’s hope that is something that will not end this year. A winning season seems to be the best we can hope for at the moment but it could turn out to be a better season if the Yanks make the right moves now. Will Cashman finally get it right enough to turn us into a contender? Or will he live up to recent form and bring in more busts? Time will tell. I don’t think I can take the suspense.

Time will tell. I don’t think I can take the suspense.

I don’t think I can take the suspense.

Brian Cashman continues to stink up the place- Why won’t Hal Fire Him?

Brian Cashman is one of those guys who keeps making bad calls when it comes to bringing players to the Yankees, and it must be said that he seem to lack the moral courage to admit when he is wrong, even when it is painfully obvious to all that he is. So far the worst decision he has made this season is to give $5m to Drew in what he called in an interview qwith an NY paper ”a gamble.”
I am sorry Brian if you fancy a flutter go bet on a horse, shoot some dice, or do some other lame ass Vegas/ Atlantic City activity that requires as much thought and logic as you seem to put into roster moves. It is almost as though he sees bringing in players and giving out contracts to guys like playing the slot machines. Throw the money in and hope that it works out for the best.
I don’t blame Drew for the fact the Yankess have given him such a big contract. Or Beltran either for that matter, because they are both players that are just trying to get paid and play the game we all love. But they are two players who I think will cost more than we will get from them by way of runs. So no it isn’t their fault they got a big contract with so many big questions over their production or their health. I blame Cashman.
I blame him in the case of Drew for making another poor decision in signing him and thinking that he will give something to the Yankees that he isn’t able to give. I blame Cashman for thinking that if a guy played for Boston, and then came to New York then he wil in someway reinact the curse of The Babe, and hit like Ruth did. So no matter if he couldn’t slap the broadside of the JFK with a Garth Brooks guitar, give him a big contract and then give him a spot on the Opening Day roster at the expense of Pirela the one Yankee that has stood out as deserving a place on the Opening day roster ahead of Drew. Instead Cashman has all but written Pirela off as being Minor League bound and in the meantime he keeps payjng out big money on useless players in the hope that sometime soon he is bound to hit a gamble that pays off.
Spoken like a true Gambling addict there Brian.
Now I know that I have praised Joe Girardi, i just love that guy and find his style of managment to be superb. Not many may agree with me on that, I don’t really know. I praised his work last year as some of the best of his managing career especially with a massive handicap (ie Brain Cashman’s bringing in a whole bunch of guys who were expensive plug ins that just weren’t good moves.) I just want it to be known that my praise of what Joe did is not given to Cashman. Because he stank last year and gave Joe a tonne of duds. In the end I hope Hal wakes up and shows some of the spark his father had and fires Brian’s ass. Or of he is in the habit of hiring staff who don’t do their jobs, or when they actually bother to do their jobs do them badly without fear of being fired for it- please Hal Baby, give me a job. I can stink at a job at a Brian Cashman level. I know I can… I just know I can!