Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Go West, young man. Yeah, right.

Photo: New York Post
Fun fact: The guy who made that phrase famous never made it further west than Detroit. His bones lie today in Brooklyn, just a dink, a doink and an Aaron Judge dinger from where Ebbets Field once stood.

Moral: History doesn't dwell on the failures as long as there's a successful conclusion to the story. And neither should Yankee fans.

Photo: SI
There's no doubt this Western road trip the team just wrapped up was butt ugly from pretty much every conceivable angle. I consider myself a pragmatist who enjoys being pleasantly surprised, but not shocked by regressions from the mean and, likewise, I can't pretend to be Sunshine Superman when they regress back toward it. Least of all when much of the regression back can be directly linked to a suspect rotation and management tendencies  I identified before Opening Day that are now self-evident and part of a wider public discussion.

Without rehashing it all, the deal is still this: If you look at this roster and manager as currently constituted to be strictly a rebuilding effort, you're getting way more than your money's worth. But if you're expecting this team to do anything significant or memorable after game #162, that isn't going to come close to happening without a serious outlay of cash and prospects come the trade deadline in a few weeks for at least two starting arms -- and at least one of them needs to be a 1A or 1B front-end blue-chipper.  With Bird down for the count and Gleyber now out (Read HERE), renting productive, experienced first and third basemen for the rest of the way wouldn't hurt either.

You know other teams are going to go all in. You know they are.

If Brian can't sell Hal on doing the same and taking  a full swing for the ring, he should do what he did last year and become  a full-on garage sale seller.

Unfortunately, with CC coming off an injury and still owed a boatload of cash, he isn't anybody's idea of a trade chip. But Matt Holliday would be a valuable bat any team would be thrilled to park on their bench or in their lineup for the stretch run. 

Pineda would command a nice return. Who knows, maybe someone even wants Chris Carter to swing his menacing bat for them. We did, after all...and his June has been somewhat productive. And if Hal and Brian are already committing to a second-year sell off to set the stage for year one of their new era Bombers, they could really own it and save themselves  all kinds of heartburn later in the process by eating a chunk of Ellsbury's, Headley's and Gardner's remaining deals and get what they can for them while they can.

Because none of them are an appreciating asset and will never be worth more than they will be July 31st, and the guys they're blocking down below are ready to start contributing now.

Photo: MiLB.com
And speaking of those guys below, there's a ton of them.  They've had a year to evaluate all the hot prospects they scooped up during  last year's blue-light special. Time enough to tell who's needed and who's redundant, and a good time to dangle them while they're still ranked. If they're not going to be used as currency for what we need to win this year and someone's already ahead of them and got their position locked up for the next 5-6 years, their value to us is zero. The market for them is  going to crater this winter and will never be as hot for them again. Teams like the prospects they deal for to either be perceived as MLB-ready or highly ranked so they don't look any dumber than being forced to sell-off their stars already makes them. And ranked prospects at the upper levels who don't get to the show after two years don't stay ranked. They get perceived as overripe and become stale, damaged goods.

The success of this season isn't going to be decided at the end of the year. It's going to be decided  six weeks from now -- and also  six years from now. So get over that Western road trip thing already. It's nothing in the big scheme of things. Really. Nothing.

Only Brian and Hal can decide if they want to alter the experiment and change the entire purpose of this season. Until they do, it's a rebuilding year plain and simple. And we won't have a clue until the deadline.

So for now just forget that stupid losing streak. In fact, forget all streaks good and bad because statistically they're meaningless anyway

Don't believe me? Look at it this way: Right before they lost six straight games they won six straight games, right?

So just make believe they won and lost those 12 games on alternating days and that they played .500 ball over the last 12 games --  which is, you know,  actually true.

Poof. No more losing streak. It's all gone. Feel a little better now?

Yogi always said he was never in a slump, he just wasn't hitting. He simply refused to surrender to the concept of slumps. Opposing pitchers wished he had.

You're only a loser if you call yourself one and the Yankees this year have been great for what they were  constructed to be. Have fun rooting for them.

But don't start mistaking them for failures when they regress to the mean.

With their rotation and bullpen management plan, it was not only predictable, it was precisely what they were built to do.

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

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