Thursday, December 8, 2016

Chapman Signed: Worst-Case Scenario Avoided, But...

When Yankee general manager Brian Cashman stupidly ran his fire sale, trading away Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran and Ivan Nova for the already-failed Adam Warren and a bunch of "prospects," this was the worst-case scenario:

1. The Yankees would fail to make the Playoffs.

2. With Chapman, the Chicago Cubs would not only make the Playoffs, but do well.

3. With Miller, the Cleveland Indians would not only make the Playoffs, but do well.

4. With Beltran, the Texas Rangers would not only make the Playoffs, but do well.

5. The Yankees would not be able to re-sign Chapman, by then a free agent, in the off-season.

6. A good team -- probably the arch-enemy, the Boston Red Sox -- would sign Chapman, and would go on to success in 2017.

7. All those "prospects" would fail to pan out.

Number 1 happened. Number 2 happened: The Cubs won the National League Pennant and the World Series. Number 3 happened: The Indians won the American League Pennant, and nearly beat the Cubs in the World Series. Number 4 happened: The Rangers won the AL Western Division, although they probably would have even without Beltran; their side of the trade was about going for the whole thing, and they didn't get it.

But now, the Yankees have brought Chapman back, thus avoiding Number 5 and Number 6.

It's been suggested that the Chapman retrieval was in response to the Red Sox trading for Chris Sale, ace of the Chicago White Sox. But it seems that the retrieval was already in progress before anybody knew the Sale trade would happen.

Now, Yankee fans who think they know better -- notice that, this time, I'm not making it "Yankee Fans," Capital Y, Capital F -- are saying they knew all along that this would happen, and that Cashman is a "genius": He got the prospects he wanted, turning a lousy farm system into a great farm system, and he got Chapman back anyway.

Here's what such stupidity overlooks:

1. Cashman traded away Chapman and Miller. The Yankees were 7 1/2 games out of the AL Eastern Division lead when the Chapman trade was made. After a win, they dropped 4 straight. There were at least 6 games that the Yankees lost that could have been won if Chapman, or Miller, or both, had been there to hold the lead. The Yankees missed the 2nd Wild Card berth by 5 games.

2. The "prospects" the Yankees got won't deliver until at least roster callups in September 2018 -- if then. And even if they do, that won't help the Yankees win the 2017 World Series, and they wouldn't be eligible for the 2018 postseason roster anyway.

3. The Yankees' top 5 farm teams all made the Playoffs. Their top 2 farm teams played better than .620 ball over the course of the season. The Yankees already had a very good farm system.

The bottom line is this: When you have a chance at the Playoffs, and your farm system is as well-stocked as the Yankees' already were, you do not trade the immediate future for the distant future. You go for it.

The Cubs did. So did the Indians. And they won the Pennants and played each other in the World Series.

Say what you want about the Mets, who did stupidly let Daniel Murphy get away to the other good team in the NL Eastern Division, the Washington Nationals; but they have done whatever they could to keep Yoenis Cespedes, and he is still with them. The Mets went for it in 2015 and 2016. They failed, but they did try. And they are going for it again in 2017.

Brian Cashman is maneuvering to save money in 2017 and 2018, and to win in 2019 and beyond.

This is moronic. We are the New York Yankees. We have the resources to go for it every season. If we don't go for it, we are betraying our fans.

It would be one thing if the Yankees were in the position the Mets were in going into, say, the 2013 season: Broke, with the other team in town so far ahead of us it wasn't funny. It would have been perfectly acceptable to sacrifice 2 bad seasons for 5 to 10 good shots at a title. This is what they did, and, to a degree, it has worked, and it can still end up working better for them. (It won't, because they're the Mets, but that's a post for another day.)

But the Yankees are the Yankees. If the old George Steinbrenner were running things, he would, rightly, consider the current situation unacceptable. Indeed, he would have fired Joe Girardi no later than after the 2013 season, and Cashman would have been replaced by now, too. For cause.

Cashman has avoided the worst-case scenario.

But that's like saying, "Mom, Dad, I know I wrecked the car and put my kid brother in the hospital, but my smartphone that I was texting on while driving still works!"

Take the keys away. Take the phone away, too. Cashman out. Competent GM in.


Days until The Arsenal play again: 2, Saturday morning at 10:00 (afternoon at 3:00, their time), at home at the Emirates Stadium, in a Premier League match against those thugs from Staffordshire club Stoke City. Arsenal beat Swiss club FC Basel on Tuesday, to finish top of their Champions League Group.

Days until the New Jersey Devils play another local rival: 3. Their 1st game this season with the New York Rangers, a.k.a. The Scum, will be this Sunday night, at 7:00, at Madison Square Garden. Their 1st game this season with the Philadelphia Flyers, a.k.a. The Philth, will be on Thursday night, December 22, at the Prudential Center. By a quirk in the schedule, the New York Islanders, a team they usually play several times a season, don't show up on the slate until Saturday night, February 18, 2017, at the Prudential Center.

Days until the New York Red Bulls play again: 76, on February 22, 2017, in the 1st leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal, home to the Vancouver Whitecaps. The 2nd leg will be on March 2. The winner will face the winner of the Quarterfinal between 2 Mexican teams: Mexico City-based Pumas de la UNAM, and Monterrey-area team Tigres UANL. The 2017 MLS schedule has not yet been released. If schedule patterns hold, the 1st League game of the new season will be on Sunday, March 5, 2017, which is 8days from now.

Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": Unknown. We may not see the 2017 MLS schedule for weeks, so we don't know when we'll next play New York City FC, the Philadelphia Union, D.C. United or the New England Revolution.

Days until the U.S. national soccer team plays again: 106, on Friday, March 24, 2017, home to Honduras, at a venue and time TBA, in a CONCACAF Qualifying Match for the 2018 World Cup. It will be the team's 1st match in the 2nd run as manager for Bruce Arena, now that Jurgen Klinsmann has finally been fired.

Days until the Yankees' 2017 season opener: 115, on Sunday, April 2, at 8:00 PM, away to the Tampa Bay Rays. Under 4 months.

Days until the Yankees' 2017 home opener: 123, on Monday, April 10, at 1:00 PM, home to the Rays.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series: 138, on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, at 7:00 PM, at Fenway Park.

Days until the next North London Derby: 142, on Saturday, April 29, 2017, at White Hart Lane. Under 5 months. It could be moved to the next day, Sunday, April 30, to accommodate the TV networks. It is also possible that Arsenal could face Tottenham again sooner than that, through an FA Cup pairing.

Days until Rutgers University plays football again: 268, on Saturday, September 2, 2017, home to the University of Washington.

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: Unknown, as the 2017 schedule hasn't been released yet. If history is any guide, it will be on Friday night, September 15, which would be 281 days from now. 

Days until the next election for Governor of New Jersey: 334, on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Under 11 months.

Days until the next Rutgers-Penn State football game: 338, on Saturday, November 11, 2017, at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania.

Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge Thanksgiving game: 350, on Thursday morning, November 23, 2017, at 10:00, and thank God it's at home at Jay Doyle's grove, rather than at the purple shit pit on Route 9.

Days until the next World Cup kicks off in Russia: 553, on June 14, 2018. A little over a year and a half, or 18 months. Now that Klinsmann has been fired, our chances have improved, but did he already ruin them?

Days until the next Congressional election: 698, on November 6, 2018. Under 2 years, or 23 months.

Days until the Baseball Hall of Fame vote is announced, electing Mariano Rivera: 774, on January 9, 2019. A little over 2 years, or 25 months.

Days until the Baseball Hall of Fame vote is announced, electing Derek Jeter: 1,126, on January 8, 2020. A little over 3 years, or 37 months.

Days until the next Summer Olympics begins in Tokyo, Japan: 1,324, on July 24, 2020. A little over 3 1/2 years, or 43 1/2 months.

Days until the next Presidential election: 1,457, on November 3, 2020. Under 4 years, or 47 months.

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