False Optimism holds true…

Save the ammunition for next year…

Friday night’s 8-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles underscored that the 2016 New York Yankees are not a bonafide play-off contender.  Yes, they are still in the thick of things regarding the Wild Card chase but legitimately, the team is not ready to be branded as a contender.  The youthful infusion into the roster has been great, but there are also growing pains as evidenced by Aaron Judge’s prolonged slump.

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Credit:  Adam Hunger, USA Today Sports

While I have been impressed by the great minor league season performed by reliever Jonathan Holder.  The recent four inning save in which he struck out 12 of 13 batters he faced was a huge accomplishment, and he’ll certainly be a factor next spring.  Adding Holder to the roster now does not make sense to me.  The Yankees had control of him this off-season without placing him on the 40-man roster, but now that he has been called up (and placed on the 40-man roster), he will cost another prospect the opportunity to be protected.  I would love to see Holder do well at the major league level and it would be terrific if he is able to rise to the level of a late inning option to bridge to Dellin Betances.  But admittedly, I am looking to the future with the Yankees and do not feel that they should expend unnecessary resources this year for a futile chance to grab the last Wild Card slot.  Even if they somehow managed to snag the spot, their stay in the play-offs would be very short lived.

I was disappointed to see Chad Green suffer an arm injury in Friday’s game.  Hopefully it isn’t too serious but we should know something soon.  In the interim, I’d probably prefer to see Bryan Mitchell elevated to take his place in the starting rotation over the disappointing Luis Severino.  I feel that Severino needs work before he is ready to become a viable starter again and is probably better suited for the bullpen for the duration of the year.

This was supposed to have been Mitchell’s year to perform but an injury suffered in spring training cost him the majority of the season.  He was labeled as the new Adam Warren, but of course Adam Warren has returned to become the new/old Adam Warren.  Still, I’d like to see Mitchell have success as a Yankee and this might be his opportunity.

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Credit:  Bill Kostroun, AP

There are other intriguing young arms (Jordan Montgomery and Justus Sheffield, among others) but for the same reason I don’t think Holder should have been added to the 40-man roster, the same holds true for these young arms.  Mitchell is already on the 40-man roster so he makes the most sense to me.

A Bird in hand…

I was glad to hear that first baseman Greg Bird will be participating in the Arizona Fall League.  It’s been a lost year for Bird with his injury, but the AFL will be a good spring board to training camp next year when Bird will most likely be the Yankees’ new starting first baseman (barring a trade for a more proven veteran).

I wish Bird the best as he continues his comeback.  I am hopeful that he can recapture the promise and potential that he held last September.

bird in hand

 

Optimism deflated faster than Tom Brady footballs…

Speaking of injuries, it was devastating to hear that the Minnesota Vikings lost starting QB Teddy Bridgewater for the season due to a non-contact knee injury.  The injury was horrific as it has been mentioned that the medical crew onsite not only saved his career but potentially his life.  I am hopeful that Teddy is able to make a full recovery to resume his career with the Vikings.  It’s fortunate that he has youth on his side.  This type of injury to an aging QB would most likely be career-ending.

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Credit:  Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

Clearly, the Vikings had to do something about the QB position.  After capturing the NFC North title from the Green Bay Packers last year, the Vikings are a team on the rise, led by a terrific defense that Head Coach Mike Zimmer has built.  Bridgewater was set to make the step to the next level, and of course, he had numerous weapons at his disposal, including RB Adrian Peterson, WRs Stefon Diggs and Laquon Treadwell, and others.  Suddenly, with the loss of Bridgewater, the excitement and promise of a terrific 2016 season evaporated.

Journeyman QB Shaun Hill, a career backup, was thrust into the starting role.  Last year’s third string QB Taylor Heinicke injured himself earlier this summer in a non-football related incident so he is not available as an option.  The only other QB’s on the roster were free agent rookie Joel Stave and former Chargers backup Brad Sorensen (who has since been released).

As I listened the news reports of the various options, a trade for AJ McCarron of the Cincinnati Bengals or Mike Glennon of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the most sense to me.  I did not like the thought of a trade for Mark Sanchez of the Denver Broncos or Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers.  A free agent signing of Michael Vick also was not appealing to me.  The Kansas City Chiefs released backup Aaron Murray so he is intriguing but the Dallas Cowboys, with a similar need at QB, have a higher waiver priority.  So, I suppose that the announcement of today’s acquisition of Sam Bradford makes the most sense.  The cost is very high (a first round pick in 2017 and a fourth-round pick in 2018) and Bradford is always an injury-risk as injuries have slowed the development of the player who was once the first pick of the overall 2010 NFL Draft.

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Credit:  FOX Sports

The Vikings had to do something.  They needed a QB capable of not being a detriment to the success of the team for this year and potentially next year dependent upon how Bridgewater’s recovery and rehabilitation goes.  The Vikings also had no leverage in trade talks so their only options were to rummage through the late roster cuts in the coming days as teams pare down to 53 players or pay a King’s ransom for a proven QB.

This is not the first time that Bradford has been on the same roster as RB Adrian Peterson.  They were teammates for a year when Bradford was a freshman at the University of Oklahoma.  That will help hasten the rapport between Bradford and Peterson.  It also helps that the Vikings have a coach with an extended history with Bradford.  Tight Ends coach Pat Shurmur spent time with Bradford in both St Louis and Philadelphia.

Wearing #7, Bradford can’t be any worse than the last guy to wear the jersey (Christian Ponder).  I think the Vikings should still explore other potential backup options even if Heinicke is due back in a few weeks.  I am hopeful that Bradford can stay injury-free during his time with the Vikings.  The success of the team’s immediate future now rests in his hands.  No pressure…

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Credit:  Ann Heisenfelt, AP

It’s hard to believe that it is September now.  The Yankees will only be playing for 30 or so more games, and the Vikings will be kicking off the new season in a week.   I may not be as excited about the Vikings’ chances this year as I was just a few weeks ago, but I do feel much better than I did yesterday.  Similarly, I remain hopeful and optimistic about the Yankees’ chances in 2017.

It’s always good to have reason for optimism…

Optimism-Funny-Elephant-And-Monkey

—Scott

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