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.

No, No, Nova

I stayed up late last night, mostly due to a problem with my stomach that had me awake in pain. But always latching onto any chance to listen to the Yankees live, I tuned into the game and settled in for what I expected to be a difficult evening.

Pineda had been pitching somewhat poorly, I think personally that he is a bit of a slow starter and his first handful of outings, particularly in the cold weather are always the ones to get over quickly. Then he settles into a rhythm that lasts for the rest of the season, broken only by his visits to DL-land.

As it was he pitched pretty poorly, but still the Yanks were in the game, right up to the eight inning. The only batter who Pineda seemed to have a problem with was Goins who twice batted in two runs, putting the Blue Jays ahead with four. But the Yanks battled back. Torreyes scored after Hicks ground out in the 5th. Toronto were already ahead 2 runs at this point, so to bring the game into a 1 run lead was a good start. Yet Goins once again batted in two runs, as Pineda looked like a candidate for being pulled from the game early once again. 4-1 to the Jays, and yet that was how it stayed until the 8th when Teixeira scored a single run homer, and with the score at 4-2, the Yanks felt, and I felt that there was every chance of making a charge at winning the game. A 2 run lead is not insurmountable after all. But as in the case of the 5th inning, so it was in the 8th, that after the Yanks drew close enough to the Toronto score, they took the game back. But this time, it was not down to them forcing the pitcher to throw a bad one with some very patient plate discipline which is surely one of their strengths.

This time, the Yanks threw the game away. It began with a decision by Joe. Now as any habitual reader of this blog will tell you, I am a big fan of Joe Girardi. I liked him as a catcher, I like him as a manager, and I like him as a man. I think he has done some major work that will not get any of the respect it deserves when it came to dealing with a roster of aging often injured stars who are passing their best so rapidly that the only way the moniker Bronx Bombers applies now is in reference to how much we flop as a hitting team with play-off aspirations.

But the decision to bring Nova, a starter recently dumped into the bullpen due to his complete nose dive into mediocrity,and who had not pitched a ball in a game situation in 8 days, was a head scratcher. Why would you bring a pitcher in that situation, into a game with two runs in it, and think that he would be in a condition to keep the game close? Why would you not take him out of the game when it was painfully obvious that he was not pitching well, but leave him out there on the mound, throwing the game away with almost every pitch he threw?

I was livid. I like the way the Toronto players hit, apart from Bautista who I think is overrated and gets the headlines for his antics, while better players on his team seem to be ignored because they play the game like one should drink their bourbon… neat. I don’t like the majority of Toronto fans, who I think are only there because of the one good season and are acting as though their team won the AL pennant or the World Series. There are those who are long suffering and have rooted for their team ever since they came into existence (team or fan). But last year there were Blue Jays fans where there were none before. These were the ones who know nothing about baseball but simply join in because it is a local team playing good, bandwagon fans. Listening to them cheer as the 8th finally came to an end as though it was their hitters who scored those runs, showed how clueless they are. They had not even for one second managed to grasp that what they were seeing was not great batting, but some of the worst pitching that you could ever imagine seeing.

Nova was dire and cost the team that game. To hear them talk about him saying he was ready to play no matter what, well it was a joke. I thought that he was about as ready to pitch as I was lying in bed at nearly 3 AM. I hope they send him down to Scranton… not that Scranton deserves having someone like him on the mound. He was that bad. My only hope is that the Yanks will win this game tonight and shake off the shock of being so desperately beaten by their own pitchers. I think they need to get rid of Nova, though. He is a waste of roster space, and there must be a better relief pitcher out there than he is… because he is not good enough to start in the bigs, and he sure isn’t good enough to come out in the bullpen. There is a part of me that hopes he can prove me wrong on that, but I really hope that he doesn’t get a chance to prove me wrong. Because I have no faith in his pitching anymore.

CC’s first start since May was more wimper than a bang!

So CC Sabathia took to the mound for the first time since May of last year when injury had ended his season. Most people wouldn’t put a whole lot of stock in how well he pitched yesterday. After all these games just aren’t that big a deal outside of the mechanics of getting a player in shape for Opening Day. But we can learn something from it, ie what kind of shape he was in after such a long lay off.
He looked good in the first inning that he pitched. Getting three quick outs to shut down the inning quickly. He even managed to get Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista to ground out, and struck out Josh Donaldson. Not bad one might think. But his second inning was not such a good one, and he quickly lost control of proceedings giving up two runs. It could have gotten a lot worse but for an amazing series of plays to get the third out when Josh Thole hit a fly ball which gave him a double to the left field where Brett Gardner threw to Didi Gregorius, who in turn fired a rocket of a throw to Brian McCann at home where he tagged out Devon Travis who had run from first base to try to score. It was an exciting play to close the innings.
It is true that you cannot really put a lot of stock in the performance of a two innings appearance on the mound in spring. It is really only a matter of seeing how CC could handle pitching from the mound in a game situation rather than in simulated/ bullpen situations. He did well, to a degree. But in two innings he threw 31 pitches, gave up 4 hits, two runs both of which were earned, and struck out two guys for an ERA of 9.00. So it wasn’t a stellar as some of the appearances of fellow teammates. But certainly we can feel a bit happier by the fact that he is healthy enough to get on the mound and pitch. He doesn’t look sharp, but with a bit more practice and playing time, then I think he will be an integral part of getting us back to the post season. From small steps are the highest mountains climbed.

The State of the Yankees (From What we See in Camp)

The Yankees have gone through two weeks of Spring Training games in the Grapefruit League. There were a lot of questions about the pitching staff and the offence that  we Yankees fans have pondered the whole off season. The great-hang over from the 2014 season was not that Jeter would not be at shortstop this year. There was no doubt in my mind that another great Yankee would come along and not replace Jeter (how could anyone replace him), but take up the baton after him. That is the nature of the sport. Of all sports.
No the real hang over is the way the Yankees couldn’t score. It was such a weak scoring season for the Yankees that the moniker Bronx Bombers was fast becoming somewhat ironic. It was the worst I had ever seen it.
The front office was busy the off season. Bringing Didi Gregorius to the Bronx to take over at shortstop was a stroke of genius because he has already proven to be an electric player. The infield is now as solid as the outfield of Ellsbury, Beltran and Gardner. We have McCann, Teixeira, Gregorius, Headley, and Drew manning the infield. That is the projected lineup for Opening Day. It is a great defensive team. So at least it seems that we have that concern covered.
The pitchers have been a problem too. Injury left its mark on the rotation. Nova, Sabathia, Tanaka, and Pineda all lost large periods of time on the DL meaning Girardi and Cashman had to do their best work as the manager and the GM to keep the team going, and given how close we got to the post season despite our starting lineup’s injury woes, you can see just how good of a job they did. Not that many will give them the credit they ought to. But they should.
The front office has gone through great lengths to get in enough good pitchers who will it is hoped be able replacements in the events of injuries to our rotation. Tanaka looked good in his start, Pineda has looked sharp and has really got some pop in his pitching. He is pitching fire I think. Sabathia is due to start this week.The noises from camp are that he is going to be in good form this season and so we will watch him eagerly to see how he will look. Nova is still out of action and will miss a lot of the season.
Capuano is injured and will miss the beginning of the season, so that gives some of the other guys a chance to get into the rotation before Nova is cleared to play in June… or is it July? Either way it is a golden chance for one of the other guys who has come into the team for this very reason. Eovaldi had a great turnout against the Phils. Certainly he looks good. But the pitching staff was not the problem. If they can keep fit we have a great lineup. If not then we have a good lineup.
It is the hitting that still looks as dodgy as we can get it. They still look as though they are unable to score. Sure it is early in the Spring and so we needn’t worry too much. But I thinks it is something that will cause our collective stomachs to whirl. Because even with Jake and Brett leading off, and Didi at the bottom of the rotation combining in the middle inning of the game to add some spice to the hitting, there has not been too much production. The only big name to actually hit a homerun was ARod. How it sticks in our throats to have to say that. But for the most part it is the kids, the prospects that are putting up the scores for us and winning the games. We can only hope that this is merely a case of the starting lineup getting their timing down and their eyes in. There is bound to be a point when they will hit. If they can hit like they ought to, like the are supposed to on paper, then it will be fun being in Yankee Stadium because that is a homerun friendly stadium and we should see something… Oh if only they start hitting.    

Tanaka’s comeback is fraught with concerns and hope in equal measure

Tanaka was brilliant last season. He was not expected to be as good as he was by a lot of baseball media types and even fans. They all scratched their heads when the Yanks announced Tanaka as a new pitcher for the team. Just who was this guy? Was he going to be worth the money? Will he be as good as The Yankees front office seemed to think he was?
But there was no need to worry. He was brilliant really. One of the best pitchers in the league. It wasn’t until his injury that sidelined him, that he didn’t play to the standards that he had set for himself. But then as if true to form he managed to comeback and play as if nothing too serious had happened. That is the wonderful thing about Tanaka. He never seems to be phased by the way people don’t seem to expect too much from him, or even the pressure of expectation from the fans. He is it would appear immune to the expectations (low or otherwise) of others. But focused only on doing his best by his own standards. You have to admire a man like that.
His comeback will see him face the same questions as before, the same worries about if he will be able to handle the conditions he faces. This time not due to concerns over his ability, but whether his arm will hold up for the season, and whether he will have to go for the surgery that everyone seems to think is inevitable. The signs are all good. The Yanks are confident enough to the point he is projected in the number one slot of the starting rotation for the Yankees. But with the Yanks talking about a sixth man on the rotation perhaps they are thinking of trying to protect their guy by putting him on the Japanese style roatation giving him an extra day off between games.
That would be a great thing for some of the other guys too, Sabathia and Pineda also are coming back from injury ruined seasons, and with a long run of games coming up in April they will need all the help they can get to make sure they can get through the season unscathed. With Eovaldi and and Capuano are thought to be in the original rotation for the season, but they are also giving a number of other pitchers that could slot into the rotation and are building them up as starters this spring.
Friday is the first official day of baseball activity as catchers and pitchers turn up to begin Spring Training proper. After that the games will begin. What an exciting propspect for us. Seasons Greetings indeed.