Thursday, July 20, 2017

Come Fly With Me - Dodgers, Trade, Yoan Recap

                In the midnight hour, the “drop everything and go” game was finally circled on the calendar.

                But first, the brief series recap. Kershaw deserves much better than the west coast sports treatment, not even needing his best stuff to shut us out game one. These Dodgers will eat strikeout pitchers alive: the way to beat them seems to be pitching incredibly carefully, and not giving them extra outs. Rodon gave up four homers and walked three. Most notable player was Chicago weather, sparing us an additional inning of obvious rebuild work and cutting game two short.

                The real news was never going to take place on the field this week, though. Frazier, Robertson, and Kahnle are the latest Reinsdorf one way ticket purchases, going Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and heading from the Midwest to the Big Apple.  Kahnle is the obvious biggest loss- Frazier seemed to need a change of pace, Robertson had about five games of actual closer work this year- but he’s what got us Blake Rutherford in all likelihood. Missed him already last night when Beck was struggling and my first thought was “who… who’s left?”

                What’s in it for the Yankees:

                Hot Toddy: 318 to left at Yankee Stadium, so the five hundred fly balls that fell less than 10 feet short this year will finally be souvenirs. As the season wore on it became clear that some big change was needed, and this could be the fix for him. Having Judge around him should give him some peace of mind as well- guessing he took a lot of pressure on himself this year with a young roster. I’ve been guessing Boston for about a month now for where he’d land, now I’m not sure how much interest he really garnered there.  Which makes sense- we’ve done our mega-deal with them already, what more would they want to give us, especially for a power hitter in a down year? I’d expect a hot start from him: he wants to prove to himself that he can put a rough first half behind him, and being on a competitor should be the adrenaline rush he didn’t have at White Sox Daycare this year.

                Robertson: If there’s one fanbase I would not expect to forgive and forget, it’d be the Yankees. Dave only has one black mark on his Pinstripes card, but it’s a big one: his blown save technically set the stage for Derek Jeter’s walk-off last game, but I wouldn’t expect to head back to New York without expecting a couple “but if…”. Honestly, I think his biggest issue is just going to be adjusting back to bonafied closing situations: he’s had one run games, he’s had two inning saves, he’s had runners on and I need multiple outs here. He hasn’t had “it’s Sunday at Fenway, it’s the rubber game, it’s the heart of the order coming up” this year. He hasn’t had “two on, two outs, Bautista’s up, and I’m pitching the ninth next inning” this year.  There’s a different pressure to a closer on a competitive team that doesn’t happen on teams like the White Sox, and I think he’ll have a blown save or two in the dog days as he’s adjusting. In the few actual save situations this season, he’s been very solid, and if he keeps it up I think the Yankees will be close to even in the closing department.

                World’s Worst Teammate Tommy Kahnle: I can’t imagine any major league baseball player being less than friendly, and LaTroy Hawkin’s word is known as canon league-wide, so thank God this character issue is out of our clubhouse.  Far and away the most reliable of the relievers this year- again, not much else in the bullpen now that he’s gone. Guessing he’ll thrive in the adrenaline rush. Biggest get for the Yankees in this trade, and deservedly so.

                The Sox haul:

                Blake Rutherford: The top prospect, officially our tenth in the Top 100, but one I’m gonna wait on.  Too much of a climb left for a single-A 20 year old, but the potential’s there.  Curious to see where he’ll fit in for an outfield that’s already pretty crowded at the moment. .281 with 55 strikeouts so far: assume he’ll fit right in to our power hitting tradition once he gets more loft on the ball more consistently.

                Tyler Clippard: Lot of searches on Gif sites for “people celebrating” by Yankees fans when his departure was announced. Journeyman with an ERA a tick below 5.00- and our new closer. They teach us in the Midwest to swerve into the skid.

                 Ian Clarkin: Injury prone and then some- elbow issues, torn meniscus, and shoulder soreness since getting drafted in 2013. Not someone I’m feeling reassured about after Burdi going down.

                Tito Polo: Spitting distance of .300 and speedy in single A. Also apparently getting his power numbers up. Also, minor league player, major league name.  Crowded outfield once again, but definitely some steal potential here.

                Not feeling quite as good about this trade as some of the others, but there was less value on our end.  Essentially moving pieces that weren’t going to play much of a part in the rebuild to begin with.

                Now for the biggest news of the week, and the day our lives forever changed: the Yoan Moncada call up.

                I personally would not have minded (at the start of the season, preferred) him just riding it out in the minors until next season. Of all the prospects we’ve gotten, this is not the one I want to rush.  If I’m resigned to a lost year and waiting for the future, I’d rather make sure all of our prospects are major league ready at all cost and have them be overprepared later than “seems like a good time” now.

                That being said, what a difference one call up makes. Have never bought a spur of the moment ticket faster than when the news broke. The Red Line was packed… in the Dan Ryan direction! 45 minutes to game time, and I actually had to wait more than five minutes at 35th Red Hots. I waited in an actual line at concessions, as opposed to walking swiftly to the concourse, walking back to my seat, without missing a pitch in between innings. Entire sections of the Park sold out on TicketMaster, to the point where we actually waited until after his first at-bat to scout open seats to move down to.  It was what I hoped would happen with all of these call-ups: support the rebuild, and give the kids a warm welcome when they come up.

                I don’t want to do a first game recap of how I thought he did. I will say he had some pretty ballsy takes in his walk (based on the replay- I wasn’t calling balls and strikes from the upper corners) and some good contact on his line out. And I’ll let the excitement of getting to see the Beloved Son outweigh my “keep him in the minors” logic hardwire. I think the biggest key is patience with him, as he’ll probably make a couple errors and might struggle at the plate, and some meatheads might wonder why this is the guy we traded Sale for. My success line for him is .260 while making the plays he needs to make at second. Welcome to the show, Yoan, and thanks for putting up with us, all recently traded folks. Hope you like the new pinstripes. 

If you set zoom to 150% and squint you can see Yoan Moncada

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