Today, I’m going to do something I rarely – very rarely – do in this space.
I’m going to base my opinion and hazard a written guess about the future in Yankee land with little evidence to support it other than what “I think”. Normally, I hate when people do that with the white hot intensity of one thousand suns. “Do not bring your opinion to a facts fight” has always been my mantra. But hey, it’s November and it’s what we fans do.
That said, there is a train of thought to my predictions, so stay with me. Here’s what I think:
One: Nobody – and I mean nobody – believes Gleyber Torres is a major league shortstop. I never have, and I’m still waiting for someone to disagree. Most importantly, Brian Cashman hasn’t disagreed with me.
Two: Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons and Didi Gregorius are available as free agents. Francisco Lindor and Trevor Story are available via trade.
Three: Cashman has publicly stated that signing DJ LeMahieu is a priority.
Four: Cashman has a long history of post season press conferences in which he shrugs, holds up his palms and says “Well I made an offer, what do you want me to do?” when asked about his failures. “I offered Clint Frazier OR Chance Adams for Gerrit Cole, what do you want me to do? I made an offer for Verlander but Houston’s was better, so I went with Sonny Gray, what do you want me to do? I low balled Robinson Cano but Seattle wanted to pay him so I over paid for Ellsbury, McCann and Beltran, what do you want me to do?”
One, plus two, plus three, plus four leads me to my predictions:
Cashman is going to low ball DJ and DJ will walk. Torres will return to second base and Cashman will go with one of the shortstops above – my guess is he’s hoping either Simmons or Gregorius will accept a one year deal in the neighborhood of what DJ had been making so there’s little payroll increase – this would also leave the door open for a Lindor or Cory Seager signing next December.
Cashman will ignore the starting pitching (again), DJ will play at an All-Star level with a couple of top 10 MVP finishes over the next four years somewhere else (again, as Cano did), the Yankees will lose in the post-season after leading the league in runs scored (again), and next December either Jack Curry or Meredith Marakovits will conduct a pillow soft post-season interview with Cashman (again).
I know, that’s not a big limb on which I’m going out. Yankee fans have seen that movie before.
Let me be clear: Simmons or Didi at shortstop and Gleyber at 2nd improves the team’s ability to prevent runs. And when you factor Frazier getting 450 PA instead of Brett Gardner, losing DJ’s bat may not be a big loss to the team’s run production overall – frankly, Frazier and Simmons may not be a step back at all over DJ and Gardner offensively. It certainly would be a justifiable baseball roster construction move, regardless of how much we all love DJ. But that’s not what’s occurring with the softball interviews – this is all another Cashman smokescreen to limit the blowback that’s going to come when DJ earns another All-MLB nod with another team.
Far more importantly than the optics, none of it matters if Cashman doesn’t address the starting pitching. Forget the bullpen, it’s already very good. Forget the lineup because it’s already very, very, very good. The last five seasons have proven beyond any doubt that the team with the better starting pitching will win the seven game series. I’ve written extensively about it so I’m not going to re-hash, but look at the last five champs: the Cubs, Astros, Red Sox, Nationals and Dodgers had starting rotations that were loaded – not “good” – loaded.
Hell, the last four World Series have ended with a starter (not a closer) closing the series out.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope 2021 doesn’t end the way it almost invariably has over the past two decades – a very good Yankees team just isn’t good enough, because obvious and fillable holes were overlooked.
But to paraphrase Sam Malone, when you see the sun come up in the east every day, after a while you begin to trust it.
Did I miss something? Let me know.
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