May this be the month to turn it around?…

The 2nd best team in New York…

Thankfully, the month of April has ended for the Yankees.  As winners of only 8 out of 22 games, they are the current cellar tenants of the AL East.  Losing the first two games of a three game set with Boston to end the month is a microcosm of the season so far.  No offense, marginal pitching, spotty defense, etc.

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Credit:  Greg M Cooper, USA Today Sports

The starting rotation has seen only one truly outstanding performance with Nathan Eovaldi’s recent missed no-hitter.  Masahiro Tanaka has been steady, but the starting staff has otherwise looked awful.  I really thought that this would be the year that Michael Pineda put it all together, but so far, he’s done nothing to show me that his Yankees career won’t end like Jesus Montero’s career ended in Seattle (the guy he was traded for).  Montero was cut, and is now toiling in the minor leagues with Toronto.

 

So much promise and excitement with Luis Severino, and he’s looked like nothing more than a AAA or AA pitcher this year.  I’d rather have James Kaprielian in the starting rotation, except for the fact that Kaprielian is currently on the DL.

The bats are not hitting.  With the aging Alex Rodriguez, now 40 years old, you do have to wonder if this is the year the bottom falls out.  It’s a shame that the DH spot is tied up with A-Rod, when the other older bats in the starting lineup really need to take some time there.  Chase Headley is like most pitchers batting in the National League…an automatic out.  Jacoby Ellsbury may have the same name as the guy who used to play for the Boston Red Sox but he certainly doesn’t play like that guy.

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Credit:  Getty Images

I know, it’s still early and there is time to right the ship.  But if the Yankees continue down this path, they WILL run out of time.  Aroldis Chapman is probably wondering if his arrival in a couple of weeks will be too little, too late.  If the Yankees are out of the race by July, it makes you wonder if the proposed great bullpen trio of Dellin Betances-Andrew Miller-Chapman will be broken up by trade before it really gets started.

There’s no question that the Yankees right fielder in 2017 will be Aaron Judge (to replace free agent to be Carlos Beltran), but I wonder how long the Yankees can resist the urge to bring him up this year.  This is such a crucial year for him in his development, and he is one that is benefiting by the added time in Triple A.  The Yankees wouldn’t call him up to back up other guys.  There would have to be a clear and defined role.  But at some point, if things continue down the current path, the Yankees will need to think about positioning for next year.

I wish I had the confidence that the older guys can turn it around, but I am just not so sure.  GM Brian Cashman did a good job infusing youth over the past year but he needs to continue.  The Yankees are still the oldest team in the AL East and it shows.

A couple of years ago, the Yankees had a winning team and the Mets were a team on the edge of financial ruin.  How quickly things have changed…unfortunately.

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Credit:  Mike Stobe, Getty Images

Here’s hoping for more exciting times in May…

Why-Dogs-Cover-Their-Faces-With-Their-Paws

Oy!

Don’t forget to bring your parkas!…

The 2016 NFL Draft has concluded.  I can’t say that it was a flashy draft for the Minnesota Vikings but I felt they came away with solid young players.  I wanted TCU WR Josh Doctson, but the Washington Redskins took him one spot ahead of the Vikings.  The Vikings subsequently selected Ole Miss WR Laquon Treadwell, who may very well have been the Vikings top choice anyway.  He fits well into the offense, and should click with QB Teddy Bridgewater.

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Credit:  Chuck Cook, AP

With their second pick, the Vikings took Clemson CB Mackensie Alexander.  I didn’t know anything about Alexander, and had wanted the Vikings to take Virginia Tech CB Kendall Fuller.  But the more I read and see about Alexander, the more I like him.  The Vikings also took his Clemson teammate in the 7th round, S Jayron Kearse (Jevon’s nephew).

There were other good picks, like Missouri LB Kentrell Brothers, and smash mouth TE David Morgan from UT-San Antonio.  But the one that has everyone buzzing is the 6th round selection of international WR Moritz Boehringer.  Boehringer (from Germany) discovered football about 5 years ago watching YouTube videos of Adrian Peterson, and never played college football.  He played in a German league last year, and was a man among boys.  He is clearly a project at best, but the guys has the physical tools if he can put it all together.

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Credit:  Twitter @AroundTheNFL

I was never a big fan of Rick Spielman.  I didn’t particularly care for him when he was the GM of the Miami Dolphins, but under his supervision with the Vikings, their drafts have been very solid every year.  The days of big swings and misses are long gone.  Not everyone is going to make it, but the Vikings have had more success than not in recent years.  They are clearly a team on the rise.  Mike Zimmer has been the ideal head coach for this team.  I liked former head coach Leslie Frazier, but I like the style of defense that Zimmer has created since his arrival.

I was hopeful that the Vikings would select a young RB for developmental purposes, but the right opportunity never presented itself.  Future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson is down to his final years so the team will need to think about his replacement sooner rather than later.  Hopefully the additional picks they picked up for next year by trading their third round selection to Miami this year will allow them the chance to nab a productive young back.

I know that his potential is average starter at best, but I liked the Vikings’ free agent signing of Wisconsin QB Joel Stave following the draft.  Under Norv Turner’s leadership, I think Stave can be developed properly and will eventually prove to be a good backup for Teddy Bridgewater.  Current backup QB Shaun Hill is 36 so a younger, reliable backup will be needed.

All in all, the Vikings are well positioned heading into the 2016 season.  I just look forward to the day that I can say that about the Yankees…

—Scott

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  1. Pingback: Discover: Monday Around the Horn « MLB.com Blogs

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