Friday, March 24, 2017

BE RELIEVED THAT GLEYBER TORRES WAS SENT DOWN

Photo: USA Today Sports
I'd like to spend this at-bat in the BYB batting order to thank everyone in the Yankees' fan base, and  the handful of writers egging  them on who made impassioned pleas for Gleyber Torres to swoop into the Bronx from Single A like some kind of comic book superhero. I can see the title of that comic now. Will Torres snatch the shortstop gig from that evil super villain  "WBC Dummy" Gregorius.

It was an amusing 15 minutes hearing all the fantastic action adventure plots about Gleyber and his Wonder Bat, Gleyber and his Wonder Glove and how Gleyber and his Wonder Future are a waste of time because, you know... he's practically Albert Pujols now. Look, I get it, people are angry about the WBC and our injured Didi, but they also are wrong to think Torres can just swoop in!  Let's keep it real folks... Super Torres I not ready! Instead, look for a sequel entitled Gleyber's Adventures Mastering A New Position coming soon to a stadium near you in Trenton.

(Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)
My condolences to you if you're one of those special people who are genuinely disappointed he didn't get a chance to make a Wally Pipp out of Didi. But honestly, did you really believe that's how it SHOULD happen? Or was it more like just wanting to believe it COULD happen. Like for example, when Joe has you believe the best players will play? Or the best pitchers, veteran or prospects, will be in the rotation?

Speaking of pitching prospects, anybody seen Dietrich Enns lately? Best pitcher in the system last year. He was the ace for the national champions of all minor league champions. His stats were totally dominant. Nobody else was even close. But he didn't even get a start in Spring training. They made him a reliever this year.  Made a couple of middle relief appearances and got sent down in the first cut.

For me, that's the stuff I think about. It's a far more puzzling question and frankly a far more pertinent one than why Gleyber's Wonder Clock should start ticking on Opening Day or a few months later. But I digress. Sort of.

(July 25, 2016 - Source: Bob Levey/Getty Images North America)
Frankly, it never even entered my mind that Torres could be Didi's  replacement and I was amazed by the outpouring of serious suggestions that he should be, because I think the plan to continue cross-training him at another position in Trenton could be the right way to go. But there's more; I didn't give Gleyber a serious thought as Didi's replacement was because of what happened to Didi under identical circumstances on Opening Day three years ago. That's the deal breaker right there, for Torres and every other not-yet-proven-ready-for-prime-time prospect in the Yankees' future.

(March 9, 2015 - Source: Brian Blanco/Getty Images North America)
To be blunt, the way this fan base and team's media treated Didi in the very same role three years ago that many pounded the drum to fling Torres into this Opening Day -- with little warning, a little before his time, into an ill-defined role replacing an established starter in a transitional year filled with question marks -- was downright nasty. And so, there can be no doubt that an organization that has infamously held petty grudges and lived by the feud for decades battling within and without itself to its own detriment has committed that awkward and unpleasant transition away from the Captain to institutional memory as a cautionary tale to avoid at all costs in the future; even though it seems nobody else beyond the team's own personnel appear to have taken the lesson to heart.


Now, you may say Didi is no Captain and Torres is no Didi. But that wouldn't matter to the Yankees -- or the media. They would  spin their Torres Takes Over takeover stories; a certain segment of the fan base, impatient for the future to get here, would jump on their bandwagon and start judging him like this Torres (and this team) was the finished product; and the mud would begin to fly again. And when Didi came beck, all hell would break loose as sides would be chosen and the clock would start clicking on both players to produce or be damned. That's certainly not healthy for team building.

Think it couldn't happen again? Well, let's think back...

(June 2, 2015 - Source: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America)
Didi wasn't supposed to be our starter that Opening Day. The Captain had just retired and Brendan Ryan was the transitional starter.  Didi was never been a regular starter with his two previous teams, and that, plus a poor split hitting lefties made platooning him behind Ryan a no-brainer until he learned how. But just a few days before Opening Day, Ryan became injured and Didi was suddenly thrust into the Jeter takeover role without any supporting cast to back him. A starter for the first time in his young career, he suddenly found himself debuting on the biggest stage in sports.

He never had a chance.

(July 4, 2015 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)
The sharks were circling in the water for whoever that next guy was. Every move he made was magnified.  "He is no Captain."  With that, the entire team was stinking up the joint. Even Tex was missing easy picks in the beginning and looking like he was past it. But Didi was the lightning rod because he was the newest face replacing the oldest and most familiar face. The mistakes piled up. Meanwhile, looking around us, longtime fans were giving up on the team, attendance and TV viewership had become a national scandal and the social media interactions were truly depressing. It was more vicious than I'd ever seen it and symptomatic of a team disconnect from its fans.

Of course, you know the rest. By the end of the second month, he finally started showing marked signs of improvement, and after that every month was a new plateau of achievement. And by the trade deadline, instead of calling for his ouster, fans were calling the trade a steal. Pretty fickle of them, huh?

(Sept. 1, 2016 - Source: Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America)    
Didi had over two years of experience in Triple-A and years and years of minor league ball under his belt when he went through that. He had a reservoir of  experience overcoming adversity, meeting his limitations and overcoming them as he rose through the ranks to get him through that moment and sustain him through that ordeal. Torres has none of that. He's fresh meat who's had everything come easy to him so far. He hasn't come close to facing the daily grind of major league game speed and major league pitching in games where the relievers don't wear high numbers and the at-bats often only get tougher at the end.

Still don't think this make Torres a non-starter for this Opening Day?

Photo: MLB.com
OK, try this on for size. In this scenario, Didi isn't retired. Torres would have a month to six weeks tops. And he could either be outstanding or he could stink or be something in between. But whatever he was, what would be the point?

If he stunk, he'd be gone when Didi returned, the plan for him to learn another position in Trenton would be set back more than a month, his service clock would be started, and whoever got bounced from the roster to make room for him would've been lost for nothing. Oh yeah, and he's likely to get a good thrashing from the fan base as a bust and the team's media pack would be meticulously chronicling all of the above and more as he circled the drain counting the days until Didi returned.


And if he was terrific, then what do you do with a healthy Didi  -- arguably the team's most consistent offensive and defensive weapon last year.  You can't bench either of them and neither of them can really play another position. And you're not going to send Didi down to start learning a new one or trade him.  He's still young and an invaluable part of the transition from rebuild to new era; and playing side by side with the Torres he would be an invaluable mentor as well as combine with him to make for a potent defensive and offensive middle infield duo.

Who else could better help Torres navigate the taunts and and poison pens than the one who weathered an entire stadium derisively chanting for Jeter to replace him long after the Captain had left the building?

Photo: New York Daily News
And so the answer is there's no good that could come from bringing Torres up in my opinion. There'd just be a lot of nasty media stories, ill will and fan hostility directed at him if he sucks, and a lot more of the same directed at the team and Didi if he did good and got sent back down to resume his defensive re-training when Didi returns to reclaim his spot, as he should.

And the team will never, ever again put him or any prospect in a position to fail after they've already publicly acknowledged he still has work to do before he's ready for the Bigs. They will never  risk another one enduring the public scalding Didi suffered unless they're more than reasonably certain he can handle it. It's a no-win situation to bring Torres up now. It's a no-lose situation to stick to the Trenton start-up plan.


If you want to see Gleyber in the Bronx as soon as possible, root for him to wrap his wonder arms and glove around playing second or third base as quickly as possible while continuing to knock the snot out of pitchers in the Eastern League with his wonder bat.

What's waiting for him after that, we can only wait and wonder.

Hopefully, a couple of rings in pinstripes before he splits to chase whole lot of wonder bread somewhere else further on down his wonder road.




 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore





Thursday, March 23, 2017

SOMETHING YOU NEED FROM BLEEDING YANKEE BLUE!


This is just a quick note to all of you as we embark on 5 million clicks here at Bleeding Yankee Blue;  We love you, we thank you for your incredible support and we'd never be here without you. That's the truth. BYB is the little engine that could and you are the fuel folks.

So much has happened in Yankeeland since the first day we wrote a story for all of you back in September 2010.  The Yankees got younger, BYB writers have come and gone, some have had babies... some have gotten chubby (that's me), some have gotten engaged...


Congratulations Jeana! And some have really become truly excellent writers. That's all of them. My group of writers kicks ass!

BUY HERE
Ultimately, I'm happy.  I am also very happy to announce that BYB will be working with Tee Public to help sell our merchandise and ship it too!  Now look, we have NOT gone commercial! I didn't sell out like Metallica! OK! The merchandise on our Website, HERE, the original women's tanks, the Casey shirts, the sports performance tees.


They are all still on sale in the BYB store.  But as they sell out, I just may restock less as we try this new project. So you ask... WHY Casey? Why are you doing this?

The truth is my family unit is overwhelming right now with kid sports and work schedules and all of that.  In short, I needed help, and Tee Public provides it for me.


The Tee Public Bleeding Yankee Blue store is HERE and there is a wide selection of items, much more than I could have ever provided by myself.  We have everything now, from men and women shirts, to women's tanks, kids shirts, sweatshirts.


But that's not all. They have laptop cases, phone cases, mugs, travel mugs, onesies.  It's serious stuff, the quality is great. Plus, the color selections are Ridonkulous.  Example below:


You have to check it out.  Here's the link again HERE.  And throughout this post are some photos on what we will be selling.

Now I'll be updating the BYB store with these items as well as the items I still have in our warehouse.  We'll make it pretty and easy for you to check out everything. But the bottom line is, with demand, comes the help I need to get quality items out to you faster. 


The products are solid.  You will like them, but I just couldn't do it alone anymore, and so, I got some help.

Please check out Tee Public and the Bleeding Yankee Blue Store there. Here's the link again. CLICK AND SHOP.

And yes, you can continue to shop at the original BYB Store as well.  HERE. Over time though, all those products in the original store will move over to Tee Public! It will make my life a helluva lot easier!

Don't worry... I got you covered.


http://tee.pub/lic/BYBStore












THE YANKEES & WHO MAKES THE CUT

Photo: AP
It's less than two weeks until Opening Day! We're all excited and as we get closer to that day where the games count the roster is finally taking shape. Spring Training will be over soon, but there are still some decisions to be made. Some guys already know their roles....and others are still fighting for a job. The Yankees have some spring cleaning to do. So who stays and who gets tossed out?

SAFE!


Adam Warren: Not a surprise here....Brian Cashman has always said that Warren would have a role on this team but what that role will be is still unknown. The Yankees need to fill two of the five open rotation spots and both Cashman and Joe Girardi gave the same exact statement yesterday, read that HERE. The rotation battle is not going as predicted....so could Warren sneak in and steal a starting gig or does he stay in the bullpen? Maybe he does have more control over his destiny after all.


Greg Bird: If the Yankees had any doubt if Bird could be the new every day starter...he erased it. Before Wednesday's game Girardi officially named Bird the starting first baseman and then he celebrated his new role by hitting two home runs and driving in five runs. His .439 BA proves that he is physically an mentally ready for his new role. He has looked so good that he has even caught the attention of Mr. October himself Reggie Jackson who gave him high praise HERE.

OUT?:


Didi Gregorius and Rob Refsnyder: Didi is not out permanently but, he is out until May. Teams see the empty hole in the Yankees lineup and they have already made some trade proposals to the Yankees HERE but the Yankees aren't biting. Simply stated, Zack Cozart and Jose Iglesias are just too expensive and Cozart is a short term rental. If anything maybe the Yankees pursue cheaper option Nick Ahmed from the Arizona Diamondbacks but even that is unlikely considering all of the in house options they have.


Or, does this give Rob Refsnyder a temporary and small window of opportunity? It would require moving Starlin Castro back to shortstop and he has not been playing there recently. If the Yankees were to make room for Refsnyder would now be the time? The odds certainly don't look good.

Photo: NJ.com
Chris Carter: Bird is the word... and the starting first baseman. Now the ideal platoon idea that the Yankees first envisioned seems unlikely. It's hard to bench Bird with a .439 BA for Carter's .108 BA, one home run, three RBI's and 20 strikeouts. To say that Carter has struggled this spring would be an understatement, so how long do the Yankees find a way to pencil this guy into the lineup if his bt doesn't start to heat up? His 2016 season shows he is capable of more, but if he's not hitting do the Yankees try to dump him later for another piece? A serviceable arm maybe? We'll see what happens....but right now Girardi figures that Bird will get the majority of the at-bats for first base.



Luis Severino: So far 2017 looks just like last season. Severino has no fastball command and hitters like those balls high up in the zone. Severino knows this but still hasn't corrected it, read more HERE. The Yankees have never come out and said this, but with so many other unproven names fighting for a rotation spot this year this was basically his spot to lose.....and so far he is. So do the Yankees send him down to Triple-A to work on his mechanics again or do they just send him to the bullpen after having some success there last year? With quality starters getting harder and harder to find compared to those short inning relievers the Yankees look hesitant to give up on him but are they holding on to him for too long? Is it time to move on? With spring training coming to an end time is running out to convince the Yankees that he can be an effective start again.




--Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ



https://www.millercoors.com/beers

TEAM USA: CHAMPS!

Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Sports
It happened... USA won the World Baseball Classic and huge ups to Marcus Stroman who was a superstar last night. I gotta tell ya, it must have felt amazing to wear a USA uniform and perform the way he did! He made us all proud!

CBSSports.com writes:

Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Sports
"...the United States defeated Puerto Rico by an 8-0 final to win the 2017 World Baseball Classic championship. 

Kevin Kuo, USA Today Sports
Marcus Stroman was the star of the show, tossing six no-hit innings against a previously undefeated Puerto Rico squad  before being lifted following a leadoff double. Ian Kinsler and Brandon Crawford -- Team USA’s double-play combination -- both drove in a pair of runs apiece. "

Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Sports
People criticize the World Baseball Classic, and sure, it may not be as popular because folks don't feel like it should happen before the regular baseball season and all of that, but in a game like last night, the pride you see on these players faces wearing their countries uniform... you kind of get why it's so important in this day and age.

Congrats Team USA!


20% Off at SteinerSports.com with code YANKEEBLUE2017

THERE'S MORE TO THAT COZART RUMOR

(March 8, 2017 - Source: Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images North America)
First it was Tyler Wade could possibly fit the Yankees shortstop role. Then it was that the Yankees were possibly interested in Nick Ahmed...all because Didi Gregorius is out until May 1st.  Now... a new one... this one is that the Yankees 'like' Zack Cozart. 

(Aug. 26, 2016 - Source: Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images North America)
I'm going with they are looking at the entire MLB and looking for a loaner. But here's the thing, and this hasn't been reported; while the Yankees have an idea of 'maybe' a Zack Cozart... it's not even close to 50% that it would even happen.

Photo: Getty Images
And you know who kind of hinted at that? The folks that reported the interest in the first place.  Here's that nugget not being reported by anyone else:

Red Reporter writes:



Don't fall into the trap of believing everything you read.  In fact, read more, there's knowledge out there...