Moving on despite dead weight (Sabathia and Beltran)…

So far, so good…

The season started slowly, but the Yankees have played themselves back into relevance.  I still find it difficult to believe that this team will be play-off caliber with the current roster makeup, but they are showing that Joe Girardi continues to be one of the better managers in the game.

Leading the charge is the starting rotation.  Masahiro Tanaka started the season with a shaky start, but he’s rebounded with several very strong ace-like performances which have eased some doubts about his elbow.  Michael Pineda has been the pitcher the Yankees thought they were getting from the Seattle Mariners a few years ago.  Nathan Eovaldi is a work in progress but clearly a much better pitcher than what he showed in Miami last year.  Adam Warren is just a place card until Ivan Nova returns, but he’s held his own.  My concern is CC Sabathia who got blasted by the New York Mets yesterday.  Sabathia is now 0-4 and the Yankees are stuck with him win or lose.  It’s amazing to think where the Yankees could be if Sabathia could only carry his weight.  I know, it’s still early in the season but my single biggest worry is not Tanaka’s elbow, it’s the state of Sabathia.  When Nova does return, there may be an argument that Sabathia should be the one to lose his spot in the rotation.

The bullpen has been outstanding.  They are still subordinate to the Kansas City Royals, but they’ve proven to be a premier group thus far.  The closer by committee has worked out in Andrew Miller’s favor even if he doesn’t have the ‘closer’ tag.  As Dellin Betances gets stronger after his struggles in spring training, the best use appears to have him set up Miller.  This could change as the summer moves along, but for now, Miller has instilled confidence when he enters the 9th inning.  I’ll admit that I keep an eye on what David Robertson is doing for the White Sox, but so far, the Yankees pen is as good without Robertson as they were with him.  The rest of the bullpen has been solid.  It was sad when earlier in the season Chasen Shreve pitched so well in an extra innings game against the Boston Red Sox that it earned him a trip to the minors to bring a fresh arm to New York.  Fortunately, he’s back and helping to prove, along with David Carpenter, that it was a good decision to cut ties to former top prospect Manual Banuelos during the off-season.

The Yankee hitters have been hitting which is a nice thing.  For years, it was comical how Mark Teixeira was the ‘Iceman Cometh’ during April.  This year, after a few down years due to injury, he has been anything but cold.  Let’s hope that he can sustain this level of production as the team clearly needs it.  Didi Gregorius is struggling, but Stephen Drew is showing the power of spring training.  After a few seasons of sitting out spring, he had the benefit of a full camp and it shows.  Chase Headley is giving the team what I expected, and I think we’re seeing an improved Brian McCann.  Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner form a strong left-center combination, but the team’s weakness is clearly the right side of the outfield.  Carlos Beltran has been such a huge disappointment that I think the team might be better off with addition by subtraction.  That’s a lot of money to throw away, but the Yankees are getting nothing on their investment.  I suppose the contract is insured, and they are hopeful that he gives reason to collect on a claim.  At this point, I am hopeful that Beltran does not return in 2017.  Chris Young has been solid as the right field fill-in, but it’s only a matter of time until the job belongs to Aaron Judge.

Brian Cashman has his work cut out to ensure that the team continues to play competitive ball.  I didn’t like the recent news reports that the Yankees were interested in the Atlanta Braves top second base prospect.  Not that I wouldn’t want the guy, but the publicized reports probably effectively killed any chance the Yankees could acquire the player.  Or if they could, it probably drove up the price.  I am sure that Brian Cashman and company are trying to uncover every rock to see if there are any gems that can be found.  At some point, they’ll have to think about Plan B for replacing Derek Jeter if Gregorius does not work out.

Not Greene with Envy…

Speaking of Gregorius, the pitcher the Yankees traded for him (Shane Greene) zoomed out to a 3-0 record at the start of the season causing many to say the Yankees have been fleeced by Detroit Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski once again.  Then, Greene promptly bombed on his next start which has caused a momentary pause in those trade criticisms.  I never expected Greene to be the next Max Scherzer but I did think he was a decent starting pitcher.  I was surprised when I first heard about the trade and probably would have preferred to have seen another pitcher depart (well, not Luis Severino).  But the Yankees had to do something about short and sometimes you have to pay a high price for high reward.  I can’t find fault in the decision to trade Greene and hope that he continues to pitch well in Detroit regardless of how it turns out with Gregorius.

C’mon, just one Championship in my lifetime!…

This is a big week for football since the NFL Draft starts Thursday.  As a Minnesota Vikings fan, the draft holds the key to the team’s budding success.  My preference is a star wide receiver.  I would prefer to see the team try to move up from #11 to capture Amari Cooper or Davante Parker.  As Teddy Bridgewater’s high school and college receivers, respectively, I like their history and relationship with the young Vikings QB.  It’s too bad that the team has to consider using its top pick for a WR (or Tackle) after spending high picks for Cordarrelle Patterson and Matt Kalil in recent years.

This could be the week that sees the departure of RB Adrian Peterson from Minnesota.  Somehow, I keep expecting the Dallas Cowboys to be involved although you keep hearing about interest from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  I would only be in favor of the trade if the Vikings can get reasonable return.  It’s tough to define what is reasonable for a 30 year old running back who hasn’t played for a year.  But as long as the return brings a solid contributor or two to the team’s success, it will be a good move.  I think there’s too much bad blood at this point and football is about team chemistry.

I guess it’s almost time for May flowers even if we didn’t get any April rain (well, in California anyway)…

—Scott

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