Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner created some waves this week when he said the domestic abuse allegations regarding closer Aroldis Chapman should be forgotten. When I heard the words, I did not feel that Steinbrenner was condoning Chapman’s actions, but rather he had admitted his guilt, paid his dues, and has since held good behavior.
I do not think any of us will ever condone or “forget” Chapman’s domestic violence offense. His actions were inexcusable but I agree that he deserves a second chance. Granted, I am the same guy that kept supporting second chances for Darryl Strawberry and Steve Howe. But realistically, Chapman does deserve a chance for redemption. If there had been subsequent reports of domestic abuse, then the Yankees should have steered clear of the flamethrower. But by all accounts, there have not been any further incidents.
So, I think the media’s exploitation of Steinbrenner’s comments are unjustified even if he did misspeak. It was clearly not his intent to sweep the domestic abuse issue under the rug.
Yes, I am looking forward to Hugh Jackman’s upcoming film, but I was disappointed regarding the other Logan. I had hoped for a reunion with free agent and former Yankees reliever Boone Logan. However, yesterday, he signed a one year deal to join Andrew Miller and the Cleveland Indians. I thought that Logan would have been a better lefty option than Tommy Layne. Current free agent Jerry Blevins could provide the same support for the Yankees pen, but I haven’t heard the Yankees connected with the former Mets reliever.
Granted, if it is Steinbrenner’s goal to reduce payroll for luxury tax purposes, we will have to live with young, inexperienced and cheaper options at certain positions. The days of overpaying aged veterans are over.
Trolling for miracles…
With a few decent free agents still available, teams are adding short term pieces to complement their respective rosters Like the Indians’ signing of Logan or Kurt Suzuki signing with the Atlanta Braves, teams are taking chances with short term investments. But the Yankees, to this point, are not playing. GM Brian Cashman was apparently right when he made the comments about a month ago that the Yankees were done and the current roster of players would be the ones headed to spring training in Tampa.
I think it is a mistake not to bring in a veteran pitcher to compete with the kids for the two open spots in the starting rotation. I would love nothing more than James Kaprielian, Luis Cessa, Jordan Montgomery, Luis Severino, and other young arms coming to camp to step up their respective games and grab those final two spots. But I am fearful for the inconsistency that young pitchers bring. But granted, if they don’t get the opportunity, they will not learn. The Chicago White Sox were patient with former Yankee Jose Quintana and they’ve been rewarded.
Worst case scenario is that CC Sabathia proves he is an old man and that last year’s resurgence was a fluke, Michael Pineda continues his inconsistent performances or gets hurt, and Masahiro Tanaka opts out of his deal at the end of the season. It is possible that all five rotation spots, as we view them today, could be open at the end of the year. It will take young arms to step up to the next level, but there needs to be an infusion of veteran talent to help form the bridge.
I’d take the chance on Jason Hammel but all signs seem to indicate a lack of interest from the Yankees.
Meanwhile, in Boston, their number 4 and 5 starters (most likely Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright) have the proven history of being able to shut down the Yankees. So, that’s without even any consideration for the top three, all of whom have Cy Young ability (including one that currently holds the award and is arguably the worst of the trio).
Perhaps the Yankees should package some of the top prospects for a proven young starter. There is always an adjustment period for New York, so acquiring a young starter a year or two in advance of the team’s return to contention status is not a bad idea. While I do not want to lose top prospect Gleyber Torres, the Yankees have a surplus in young, talented shortstops with Jorge Mateo (perhaps a future centerfielder), Tyler Wade, Wilkerman Garcia and Kyle Holder. Having the best farm system in baseball means surplus. There’s no way all these guys can make it in the Bronx. Obviously, not all will succeed anyway, but it’s best to take advantage of promise and potential to help the major league team restore its dominance.
As for the potential rumors to acquire an ace like Zach Greinke, I do feel it would be a mistake to take responsibility for his mammoth contract. The Dodgers were smart not to match the offer Greinke received from the Arizona Diamondbacks last season even if it did weaken their rotation.
Every year, there are names that seemingly come out of nowhere to achieve major league success. There’s no doubt the Yankee scouts are scouring the leagues to uncover potential hidden gems. Through patience and perseverance, there will be better days ahead. We just sometimes get a little impatient and want the up cycle to accelerate.
I am excited that pitchers and catchers will soon be reporting. There’s football yet to be played on Sunday, yet I am looking more forward to seeing activity at Steinbrenner Field in a few weeks…