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Ok, I’m confused.

I feel like I’ve been asleep all semester and I just got called on in class. My inbox today was more flooded than it’s been all off-season, with varying discourse about the Javier Vasquez trade. I first got wind of it when my phone alerted me at 10:12am with a Facebook wall post: “IS VASQUEZ A GOOD ENOUGH 4th STARTER FOR YOU??”

Two days ago, I got into a heated debate with my buddy about the Granderson trade, and I’ve learned to tread lightly about some topics with this particular friend, because it tends to become on par with Vice Presidential Debates. I almost never agree with him, and he always never capitulates. No, I don’t like the Granderson move. I don’t understand it. Yeah, I get that he’s a discernible step up defensively speaking. But then what else does he buy us?

“KRIS, HE HIT 30 HOMERUNS LAST YEAR!”

Where is he going to bat? Second? Do we need a 30-bomb hitter in the 2 spot? Particularly one with a .327 OBP? Fifth? His complete inability to hit lefties is not what I want juxtaposed to our clean-up hitter.

What was wrong with Gardner? He’s not going to knock in anywhere near as many dings, but his speed and defense are comparable, especially considering it wouldn’t cost up 3 young players to hold onto him. Three young players, I argued, who could have been used as leverage for, say, a 4th and 5th starter. And I refuse to even entertain any ideas of Joba or Hughes playing the “Let’s just see, maybe he IS a starter” game of Russian Roulette.

Which brings us to this morning. Is Vasquez a good enough 4th starter for me? Absolutely he is.
Of course, my first instinctive reaction was coated in bile, because it induced too many acerbic memories of the Game That Shall Not Be Mentioned.

But then reason kicked in, as much as reason ever really can kick in with me, anyway. Javier Vasquez was fantastic last year. Maybe he does struggle in the AL, but unlike 2004, he isn’t responsible for shouldering our rotation. He’s there to bolster it.

And if nothing else, at least I can go to bed easy knowing that Opening Day won’t bring the news that Girardi has decided to stick with a 3-man rotation for the bulk of the regular season.

Here’s where I’m getting tripped up, though:

In the past, players such as Roy Halladay and Johan Santana were on the table and ours to take…if we were willing to part with Melky Cabrera, Austin Jackson, Hughes, assorted prospects, etc. And we put our foot down and scoffed as these insulting proposals. Hell, no. We’re sticking with our young guys, thanks but no thanks. The New York Yankees are all about YOUTH and dissolving the ugly rumors that we only go for trendy players.

Now I feel like Rene Russo in Ransom, after Mel Gibson goes on television announcing that he will not pay the kidnappers’ ransom request.

“You paid off to save your airline. Why won't you pay off to save your son?”

We’re ok with dealing our babies for Granderson and Vasquez but not the league’s aces?

How is dealing all our prospects making us younger? How does Nick Johnson make us younger? He’s starting to emulate the Matt Stairs “Can we hurry this up, I got a beer league game after this I gotta go to?” look. And while I adore the fact they’re focusing on building the rotation, I can’t help but be more than a little confused about what their plans are for the outfield.

Right now, our lineup looks like:

  • Jeter
  • Johnson
  • Tex
  • A-Rod
  • Granderson
  • Cano
  • Posada
  • Swisher
  • Gardner..?
Things start to trail off a little after Posada, not unlike Chris Farley explaining to Richard the phone number he dialed.

I never thought Granderson was the second coming of Christ to begin with, so I definitely don’t think he’s exceptional enough to fortify the outfield when we don’t have any other people playing out there. And Nick Johnson doesn’t count, since he moves with the fluidity of an electrocuted grasshopper, (which makes him an interesting choice for our all-important #2 spot.) Johnson had an outstanding banner year for OBP, which means there’s no way he’s going to do the same again this year.

Why do the Yankees have this unshakeable penchant for stockpiling first basemen? I love how the justification for Johnson is “backup for Teixeira”…since, you know, Tex chronically complained of fatigue last year. Was he overworked? I didn’t notice. Sigh. My head is spinning.

We don’t have an outfield. We traded the farm to enhance it, and look at where we are right now. I loved the 2009 Yankees more than I’ve loved any other team I’ve seen play. How many times have we read that a major factor in the 27th World Series Title was the team chemistry? It just strikes me as odd that every move done since has scrambled the chemistry, and not given us any discernible net advantage. Right now, is this team better than last year’s? Talent-wise, you could PERHAPS argue that it’s splitting hairs.

But how can you break up your championship team like that? As my coworker said in an email today, “The other thing about Melky. Aren’t he, Robbie and A-Rod pals? Like him or not, I think a Yankee strategy going into this year has to be: DON’T ROCK AROD’S BOAT.”

AND HOW DO YOU GET RID OF YOUR WORLD SERIES MVP???! Is there any worse karma? Yeah, he was literally useless defensively. But he was pretty good in the DH spot, I think, no?
The only explanation is that the Yankees are going into full-out noncommittal mode.

Like Patrick Dempsey in “Can’t Buy Me Love.” He goes from geek to BMOC by buying the head cheerleader’s company for a month. And then when he’s the envy of the school, he turns into a social butterfly, flitting about, not letting any grass grow under his feet. He’s gotta keep things fresh, he’s got no time for long-term commitments.

Not with hot free agents like Joe Mauer, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford matriculating next year.

Things didn’t end well for Patrick Dempsey though. He got too caught up in non-committal nature and it came back to bite him in the ass. If the Yankees don’t field a dominant, dynamic, and charismatic club this year, the free agent meat market isn’t going to be impressed.

No more moves, Cashman. Please. Wait, no, I take that back. Pick up some outfielders, JUST IN CASE it turns out Granderson can’t play all 3 positions at once. Or, you know, gets hurt.

And I’m pretty sure I’ll overreact to cinematic proportions if I see any of the following players get slighted:
• D-Rob
• Hughes
• Gardner
• Cano

Regarding the last name on that Save Until Manually Erased List, I would have been okay with trading him if we hadn’t already sent the rest of our underage players packing. But now that he’s the last of our “homegrown” talent outside of the Old Guard, I’d like to keep him around. How he performs without the moral support of his partner in crime is another story entirely.

Ah, so here we are. I’m confused. The Yankees are approaching unrecognizable. In Cashman I trust. Do I dare ask what they'll do next?

6 Comments:

  1. Howard said...
    I agree with almost everything you said except Matsui. He was probably the best situational hitter the Yankees had (I'd say Jeter if he didn't ground into so many double plays). But, I think they had a logjam at DH and so letting him go makes sense.

    But, I am with you. Melky and Austin Jackson and Coke are too valuable to trade as part of a Halladay or Santana deal....yet they're fine for Curtis Granderson (not a good fit at all) and Javy Vazquez (meh)?
    Steve Cuce said...
    The CYC is back after a long hiatus from the 2009 World Series Title...

    I do agree with some of your points.. It seems like Cashman is showing no mercy this offseason. All of sudden the "young core" of Yankee players are expendable. I can not blame Cashman at the time for not dealing our young pieces for a Halladay or Santana because we really did not see how some of the youth would have played until this year finished through. Everyone thought the Yankees would not make many moves this offseason. Now after three moves it seems like Yankees still are not done.

    I must say though you can not deny the Curtis Granderson move. The Yankee outfield was always a weak point. The Bombers were getting older in left field with a log jam at DH. Melky as well as Gardener are both #4 outfielders. Now do not get me wrong, I loved Melky. He brought a ton of chemistry and we know Cano is hurting right now without his buddy, but Granderson is a solid player.

    He can solidify centerfield with his speed and his power swing should be perfect for Yankee Stadium. I do not expect him to club 40 homeruns, but he should do fine. We'll see how he does adjusting to playing in NY.

    The Vacquez move surprised me, but then again Cashman had to make a move to bolster the pitching staff. The Red Sox are loaded now with Lester, Beckett, Lackey, Dice K, Wakefield, Buckholtz with Bard, Okijima and Papelbon in the bullpen. The Red Sox may try to get Adrian Gonazlez by trading a young pitcher like Buckholtz.

    The arms race is ongoing in the AL East like usual. The Yankees could not go into this season depending on just CC, Burnett, Pettitte, and possibly Joba/Hughes. I would rather have Vacquez over signing a Sheets/Bedard who are questionable coming off injury.

    Vacquez triggers bad memories for Yankee fans, but he's not being asked to be #1 or #2 starter like he was in 2004. Cashman never wanted to deal Javy Vacqyez for Randy Johnson, but upper management pressured him to do it after 2004. I mean this was 5 years ago and a lot has changed about Vacquez. It seems like a steal to trade Melky/Dunne for a potiental Cy Young candidate from last year in Vacquez with his Strikeout totals and ERA. I know it's the NL, but he's only being asked to a #4 maybe even #5 if Hughes is ready. The Yankees also get Boone Logan who can replace Phil Coke.

    It is funny to think at the beginning of this decade Cashman hesitated to get rid of the Yankees core that won them four world series in five years in the late 1990's. The Yankees were hurting because they were aging and they over spent for free agents that did not fit the chemistry of the team. We can only hope these offseason moves bolster the team and keep it somewhat younger. I hope these recent trades are not the same errors that ended up haunting the Yankees throughout the middle of this decade.

    We will see how it goes, but I am very worried about the chemistry issue that we both agree on. I think it played a huge part in this team winning a title and you have to wonder what effect it will have. I do believe Cashman had a plan before he made this trade in order to get another LF for this team. Will it be Damon, Bay or even Holliday? Only time will tell....
    Anonymous said...
    Welcome back, CYC - you were missed. I hope that you and yours had a Merry Christmas.

    As for the moves, I like them so far. When a player moves from potential to plateau, they are no longer one of "the kids" to protect - they're just there. Melke fell into that place to me. He's a slightly below-average ML outfielder, a respectable starter but not much more. I think the kid from A ball was a bigger portion of this trade than Melke.

    The "so far" is the most important aspect. It's not even NY, pitchers and catchers won't report for several weeks. More moves may be made, so I don't get all wrapped up over what may well be a moving target. Once everyone shows up in Tampa, then I'll become concerned. It's a long season, I have to rest up in order to start fretting in April :-)
    Jason said...
    This is a great sports blog you have here man. It’s a very good read. I have a sports blog myself but I specifically cover the New York Giants. I’ve been a fan all my life and it’s great writing about them. I would like to exchange links with you to help spread some traffic around. It can’t hurt us, it’s a win/win on both sides.

    Please let me know if this is possible. Take care and keep up the good work.

    Jason
    GIANTStalk.com
    jimm ny said...
    Welcome back CYC...
    I like Vasquez as #4 lots of guys gonna try out for #5..Ace, Joba, Hughes, Serge Meattray,Bad Chad Guadin...lets see if "The Hughes Rules" get crazier than Joba's.
    I have heard speculation that Granderson could hit 2,3, 6,7,8,even 9er as a double speed threat like they did with Gardner.
    Nick the Stick not sure about, too one dimensional, would rather of had DeRosa, more versatile and frees up DH for any walking wounded.
    Anyway glad your back the hot stove was getting cold without the humorous ramblings of the Crazy Yankee Chick that as Kramer would say " Am I so sane that I just blew your mind!"
    Happy New Year Chick
    PWR-C2-640WDC said...
    I agree with i think everything you said except Matsui. He was probably the best situational hitter the Yankees had (I'd say Jeter if he didn't ground into so many double plays). But, I think they had a logjam at DH and so letting him go makes sense.

    But, I am with you. Melky and Austin Jackson and Coke are too valuable to trade as part of a Halladay or Santana deal....yet they're fine for Curtis Granderson (not a good fit at all) and Javy Vazquez (meh)?

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