Friday, September 19, 2014

Meditations on a Season Lost

Like an early spring day, the Yankee season provided some light and hope, but not much heat.  From my seat in the stands, I can look back and find some interesting items to make me smile, gasp, and finally breakdown and cry.

The Smiles
Dellin Betances
Forget the Yankee reliever strikeout record.  Forget the 1.34 ERA and .76 WHIP.  Just remember what 1996 was like watching a young Mariano setting up for John Wetteland and remember in a few years that Betances was setting up David Robertson.  I think next year, the roles get reversed.

Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury
Anything from right center to the left field foul line better be hit
on the button (or over the fence) or these two are going to get it.  There have been no communication problems, no ego issues and nothing but love from their pitchers.  Next year, these two could be hitting 1 and 2 in the batting order versus right handed pitching.

Shane Greene and Brandon McCarthy
Greene has been a staff saver going 5-3 with a 3.24 ERA in 75+ innings.  He has a live arm, plus fastball, plus slider and plus age - he's only 25.    McCarthy doesn't have the age benefit, but this mid-year pick up has a 2.54 ERA and seven wins since coming to the Bronx.  These two can be the healthy counter-balance to next year's pitching staff risks of Tanaka, Pineda, Nova, Sabathia and Kuroda. 

The Gasps
Mark Texieria
We have two more seasons of suffering before finally getting out from under this contract.  At $22.5 million per year, no one will pick up even half of this deal for a physical liability who has lost his power and his batting stroke.

Middle Relief
Someone needs to step up between Shawn Kelley, Adam Warren, David Phelps, and David Huff.  Kelley has become a walking definition of throwing in the towel,  Warren and Phelps need to realize this is their role and stop dreaming of being starters, and journeyman Huff has the ability to stake his claim and become the lefty this staff desperately needs.  Otherwise, they'll all be pitching somewhere else next year.

Alex Rodriguez
Remember him?  The Yanks are on the hook for $64 million guaranteed over the next three years and an additional $6 million if he hits six more homers (which should be attainable).  He also gets $6 million if he gets to 715 and 755, but all the drugs in Miami won't get him that far.  If they bring back Chase Headley, Martin Prado and Carlos Beltran (who has one year left on his deal), where does he play?

The Crying
We will say sayonara to Ichiro Suzuki.  Simply one of the greatest hitters ever to play the game.  I'm sure Pete Rose would be in second place if this guy had started in the MLB.  He has been the definition of a professional since joining the team, showing no ego, delivering in tight spots, and playing any outfield position at any time.

He is now the proud owner of kayaks, cupcakes, cufflinks, bases, bats, boots, chairs, and
crabs.  Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars to his foundation.  There will be no captain (in name) and no player in our hearts like him for a while after he leaves. 

One of the nicer things to come out of this year has been the leadership of Joe Girardi.  he's done a great job balancing a team of mega-egos, Jeter's farewell tour, injuries that would drive lesser men to lose their minds and owner/fans expectations to stay competitive.  Sure, he'll sometimes leave you scratching your head at some strategic issue, but I don't think anyone can doubt that that he's the leader for this team, and a convenient tie to the successes of the Torre era.

Now it's time to start a new era.  Let's just hope it's not like Ralph Houk's.

Just Sayin'

Thank you Gatorade and Nike for those great Jeter farewell commercials.  Even though I use neither of your products (I don't like the taste of Gatorade, and Nikes are too narrow for my feet), I sincerely commend your ad staff for knowing how to have one of your main endorsers go out in style.

Monday Night Football in Detroit and you get a choir from Annapolis to sing the National Anthem?  I guess Motown is dead. 

Fantasy Football Note:  Yes, that was me trading for Josh Gordon.  In week 11, my team will be unstoppable.  Of course, I'll be 0-10 . . . 

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