Monday, November 21, 2016

WHAT'S THE REAL HAL STEINBRENNER PLAN?

(Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)
Farewell, Nasty Nate and McCann of Whoop-ass. You wore the pinstripes well.

And being welcomed to Yankee Universe are two more anonymous promising low-level prospects. No offense, but I hope neither of you are around long enough for us to get on a nickname basis.

(Photo courtesy of Sean Flynn Photography: In picture: Albert Abreu)
Ever since the trade deadline, the Yankees have been scooping up new baby bombers in wholesale bunches and shipping out older ones like Max Frost was just elected president.


Not that there’s anything wrong with that. As a longtime drum banger for a serious youth movement, I’m personally thrilled by the speed the team’s front office is moving. In fact, ever since the team acquired Didi and Starlin, I’ve been turning cartwheels; and then back flips and handstands as the long-incubated likes of Sanchez, Judge, Bird and Austin have begun bashing their way out of their shells and hatch together inside The House The Core Four Built.

(Source: J. Meric/Getty Images North America)
As Brian continues making smooth moves to refurnish the place with a more durable, powerful lineup, I’ve gained all kinds of new respect for this man and become almost giddy by the tantalizing possibilities of a complete makeover. 
 
(Sept. 30, 2016 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)

Who will be next to go? Brett? 

Lose him.  

Chase? Punch his ticket.  

Jacoby? Send him packing. Back up the truck and load the prospects with a forklift. Stick ‘em in a plane and make it rain prospects from Tampa to Trenton, Brian, because I think we all know what this team really needs more than anything else...especially if it intents to make a serious run at the whole table. That’s why I’ve been cheering on Brian’s prospect safari until I'm hoarse. It’s why I've hoped he was tagging and bagging them with the relentless fervor of a Pok√©mon Go addict.

The system is stocked and the future looks bright! It’s time to slaughter some of the livestock and have a barbecue in the Bronx! With all due respect to Cubs and Indians fans... Yankee fans have the seven year itch! 

(Sept. 26, 2016 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)
Call me spoiled, but I’m hungry and it’s time to eat. It’s win now time, and between Cashman's smooth moves and the babies starting to bash, the biggest shoes left to drop are attached to some big hairy rotation arms filling the chasm between Tanaka (a partial UCL tear and potential opt-out after next season) and the two fragile and flawed journeymen at the back end with more issues than can be listed here.

Absent are at least two legit front-end starters. Let me ask you a question... Does anybody see this team, going anywhere in October? Needless to say, my reverie over the rebuild took a stiff poke in the nads when I read Hal’s thoughts on the matter the other day in the Post.

While Ken Davidoff spun it as a feel-good bellwether for a Chapman reunion, which of course, I support 100%, I immediately spotted a more ominous smoke signal in his comments. This is the key passage I took away from it:

“For me, the bullpen is my priority. …Because I think we’re probably going to have a young pitching staff, and I think if we can shorten the game for them by really strengthening the bullpen, that’s going to be to our advantage.”

(Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America)
No mention of going after another big starter whatsoever, greatly enhancing the likelihood he subscribes to the low-budget Mark Feinsand school of an in-house slum dog committee -- i.e. Luis Cessa, Luis Severino, Chad Green, Adam Warren. You now... patch working the remaining two vacancies. And then there's Tanaka's own expiration date as a Yankee, which is a looming question nobody can answer.

I’m in wholehearted agreement with much of BYB senior writer Steve Skinner’s Friday manifesto (Read NEW ADMINISTRATION: MAKING THE YANKEES GREAT AGAIN) on running with the ones we brung. This new business model is definitely the way to go, and being a good capitalist, I’m also fine with Hal trying to bank some savings and dodge that pesky luxury tax once and for all. But no model is completely self-sustaining, there are still big moves needing to be made, and the rotation – not the pen – should be Hal’s priority.

If he doesn’t think this rotation needs at least another arm or two of the front-end caliber variety, then this lineup better put up runs in epic bunches on a daily basis. 

(Source: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images North America)
As I write this, ESPN’s always entertaining, seldom correct Jim Bowden is predicting the will sign either Encarnacion or Cespedes and possibly both.

Bowden may be wrong on all counts there; but if I'm reading Hal's comment correctly, both might not be a bad idea.

(June 3, 2013 - Source: Jason Szenes/Getty Images North America)
I may be completely off base here, but maybe Hal's bullpen priority crack is just a strategic ploy to mask Brian's pursuit of a couple of great starters. I sure hope so, because if he's sincere... then that means the man at the top of 'The Great Rebuild' doesn't truly grasp the shaky foundation it's being built on.

And that's a scary thought...



 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter@nyyankeefanfore




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