Some Thoughts On Brian McCann Signing With The Yankees

How the New York Yankees get younger:

1. Sign a catcher who will be 30 years old on Opening Day in 2014, and whose games played have decreased for four straight years, to a five-year deal worth $85 million.

2. There is no step two.

Brian McCann is a solid clubhouse guy, and the Yankees don’t care about overspending, but this deal is pretty bad. Maybe McCann has a decent 2014 — he certainly won’t be worse than the Yankees’ 2013 catchers — but the trend is heading toward a 75-game season by the time 2016 rolls around (when he’ll still have two years left on his deal). Good job? I’m surprised the Mets didn’t sign McCann to this contract.

Some Thoughts On ‘The Yankees Are Already Back’

Will Leitch is one of the internet’s preeminent St. Louis Cardinals fans, but years spent living in New York have clearly had some effect. Take, for instance, his latest column for New York Magazine about the Yankees, a piece that feels culled together from fragments of the apologia spouted by Mike Francesa, Michael Kay and Sweeny Murti. Here’s the headline: “Don’t Panic, the Yankees Are Already Back.”

For Leitch, even this disastrous Yankees season wasn’t disastrous. “The team was surprisingly good this season,” writes Leitch. “The Yankees ended up winning more than half their games, which, while their worst record since 1992, is still far better than expected.” Which is both hilarious and revisionist, especially since this is what he wrote before the playoffs started last year:

There’s no reason to think the Yankees are in much danger of entering any sort of dead period. The main reason for this is actually a bit beyond their control; there’s not much danger of any team entering any sort of dead period, because it’s not nearly as difficult as it used to be to make the playoffs. With the extra wild-card team, the bar is lowered for any team to make “the tournament” (as it’s being called now), yet the standard for a successful season (making the playoffs) hasn’t necessarily been lowered. The Steinbrennerian days of “Win a championship, or this whole season is a failure!” are gone, unless you truly believe the Yankees are a joke of an organization because they haven’t won a title in three years. The Yankees, even with “subpar” years like this one, are still finding ways to get into the playoffs. And since the playoffs are largely a crapshoot (a one-, five-, or seven-game series tells you nothing about which team is “better”), the Yankees stand as good a chance as anyone to sneak in a title every few years or so. It’s not like they’re losing their financial and organizational advantages; now they’ll be rewarded even when things don’t go perfectly.

That piece was titled "The Yankees Are Dead. Long Live the Yankees." 

Beyond the idea that this was a good season for the Yankees — the argument being that the team was kind of bad to begin with and weathered the storm of injuries with a patchwork roster; never mind that the old, injury laden roster was put together by the Yankees — Leitch writes that the Yankees are “improbably, reload[ing] on the fly,” by cutting salary and getting under the luxury tax threshold. The strategy, then, will allow them to grab legitimately great players like Bryce Harper and/or Mike Trout once they become free agents. Done and done, all hail the next great Yankees dynasty!

Except, well, that might not happen? For starters, Leitch treats Robinson Cano’s potential exit as a forgone conclusion. He wants $300 million and the Yankees won’t pay him that much. That’s fair, but when have the Yankees ever not signed their own player? This is a franchise that, just a few years ago, threw CC Sabathia another $25 million. This is the front office that gave Alex Rodriguez a 10-year contract. There’s always someone dumber, but the chances are good that Cano and the Yankees will come to an agreement. Any deal with Cano will be stupid, frankly, but it wouldn’t be the first time the Yankees have done something stupid.

Even if Cano does go somewhere else, Leitch’s column is still kind of odd. All recent history points to guys like Harper and Trout staying put, just like Joe Mauer did (the future Yankees catcher who never became the future Yankees catcher). What makes anyone think the Yankees, even if they do everything right, will have opportunity to sign even one of those guys? What would make Harper want to sign with the Yankees in 2018, assuming that, five years from now, New York is just another team. Keep in mind that the Kansas City Royals had a better record than the Yankees this year. If the Yanks lose Cano, Hiroki Kuroda, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez in 2014, on top of the retirements of Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, things could be much, much worse.

So, no, the Yankees aren’t back. Feel free to panic.

Some Thoughts On The Yankees

After the Yankees lost the American League Championship Series in 2012, I wrote this:

I’ve been a Yankees hater for a long time; watching the team’s cocky fan base choke on losing is one of the greatest pleasures that life has to offer. (HAHHAHAHAHAAH YANKEES FANS I AM LAUGHING IN YOUR FACE!) Yet this 2012 team was so bad — so inferior to the past Yankees squads — that Elimination Day wasn’t as special as usual. (Usual is the operative word: The Yankees have won one World Series since 2000, as many as the Chicago White Sox.) What is going on here? Where do the Yankees actually go now?

Well, the glue factory. Cano — who is, and has always been, a totally lazy dog — is the Yankees’ “young stud” and he’s 30; Jeter will turn 39 next season and is now coming off major ankle surgery; Granderson will be 32 in 2013; Teixeira, 33; even CC Sabathia turns 33 next year. This team is too old for the Earth. Amazingly, it could only get worse from here.

After the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night, the 2013 Yankees were eliminated from the post-season. As it turned out, that Indians win didn’t even matter: Less than 30 minutes after Cleveland eliminated the Yankees, the Yankees lost anyway. Tampa Bay beat them 8-3, the cherry on top of this year’s Elimination Day.

That was a fun moment for me, but as I wrote on Twitter, it’s hard to muster up too much schadenfreude for a baseball team with a worse record than the Kansas City Royals. The American League has 15 teams; the Yankees have the eighth best record. The team with the eighth best record in the National League? The San Diego Padres. (The Mets sit at ninth.)

All the problems that the Yankees had during last year’s postseason were, as the kids might say, turnt up in 2013. The roster was old as dirt and filled with retreads (Alfonso Soriano, Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay received at-bats in Wednesday’s game against Tampa). Yankees fans and apologists might point to the team’s injuries — Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Kevin Youkilis, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte, Travis Hafner (yes, the Yankees rostered Travis Hafner) and CC Sabathia spent time on the disabled list this season — but when old players get hurt, is that bad luck or just reality? None of the key Yankees injuries occurred to players under 32.

Which is to say, the Yankees reign continues to crumble into the sands of time. Barring major changes and time travel, it’s likely the 2014 Yankees will finish in fourth place in the American League East. (Frankly, even last place is a possibility.) It’s gotten so bad for the Yankees, that Yankees fans aren’t even really trying anymore. Twice in two nights, I’ve had friends respond to my Yankees taunts on Twitter with commentary about how the Mets are bad. That’s the best they’ve got? That the Mets stink? This is a team that hasn’t made the post-season since George W. Bush was president. Of course the Mets are bad! Seeing Yankees fans resort to mocking the Mets is just depressing. It’s like watching Robert De Niro in “The Family”: They’re just better than that. Or they used to be. Just like the team.

I still hate him.

I still hate him.

Here’s me after that Mariano Rivera blown save.

Here’s me after that Mariano Rivera blown save.

Some Thoughts On The Yankees


Other thoughts: I happen to think Joe Girardi is a really bad manager, and yet even I don’t think the Yankees’ colossal failure in the American League Championship Series was Girardi’s fault. To wit: The Yankees team batting average over the four games was .157. The team’s batting average for the postseason was .188, "the lowest in a single postseason in major league history." Think about that. Not since 1974 has a team combined to hit less than .200 in the postseason (in a minimum of seven games). Your New York Yankees, however, did it with style: The team was two-hit by Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers bullpen on Thursday night to lock down that record of futility. Disgrace is too kind a term for the 2012 New York Yankees. This team quit and sucked; it was a lethal combination.

Alex Rodriguez is a whipping boy for good reason, but he was only the tip of the Yankees’ problems. Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Eric Chavez, Russell Martin, Brett Gardner: none of them deserved to play in this postseason. Short of literally benching the entire starting lineup and forfeiting the games, Girardi had his hands tied.

Yankees apologists might talk about Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera being injured during the playoffs, as if that’s the reason the Yankees lost. It wasn’t. Having Eric Chavez and Eduardo Nunez as infield depth, and relying on Granderson (a career .262 hitter who hasn’t hit over .262 in four years), Swisher (a career .256 hitter) and Teixeira (.251 over his last 1,641 at bats in the regular season) to produce runs in the postseason was simply unsustainable. Throughout the year, people joked how the Yankees only won if they hit home runs, but it was true. This was a regular season team if there ever was one: The Yankees were reliant on home runs (a league-leading and team record total of 245), a forgiving ballpark and the decided lack of solid competition in the American League. (True; none of these teams are that good.) The team was never going to work in the postseason, and — shocker — it didn’t. If it wasn’t for Raul Ibanez, the Yankees would have lost to the Orioles.

I’ve been a Yankees hater for a long time; watching the team’s cocky fan base choke on losing is one of the greatest pleasures that life has to offer. (HAHHAHAHAHAAH YANKEES FANS I AM LAUGHING IN YOUR FACE!) Yet this 2012 team was so bad — so inferior to the past Yankees squads — that Elimination Day wasn’t as special as usual. (Usual is the operative word: The Yankees have won one World Series since 2000, as many as the Chicago White Sox.) What is going on here? Where do the Yankees actually go now?

Well, the glue factory. Cano — who is, and has always been, a totally lazy dog — is the Yankees’ “young stud” and he’s 30; Jeter will turn 39 next season and is now coming off major ankle surgery; Granderson will be 32 in 2013; Teixeira, 33; even CC Sabathia turns 33 next year. This team is too old for the Earth. Amazingly, it could only get worse from here.

This is to say nothing of A-Rod, who turns 38 in July of 2013 and was so thoroughly awful-slash-embarrassed in the postseason that it’s hard to imagine him ever playing for the Yankees again — this despite five years left on his contract. The only team stupid enough to trade for A-Rod at this point would be the Yankees. Maybe they can figure out some “Looper” shit to make it work. (For his part, A-Rod said he would play for the Yankees in 2013; the guy just knows how to engender goodwill amongst fans!)

Short of that, it’ll be another offseason of the Yankees throwing good money after bad. Another regular season of success and cockiness. Another ouster in the postseason. This is Yankees baseball now. Pride, power, pinstripes, pathetic.

Some Thoughts On The 2012 All-Star Game

Hello faithful readers! It’s time for my annual All-Star Game running diary. Enjoy?

8:00: Still on the subway because I’m an idiot and thought the game started at 8:30. Hashtag oops.

8:01: Kase was kind enough to keep a tally of what was going on.

8:06: Kase says, “People are booing Cano.” Again. You didn’t think Yankees fans could get dumber, then they get upset about fan reaction at the All-Star Game.

8:10: Kase says, “Luke Ryan is singing the National Anthem.” Who? “‘Platinum Superstar’ Luke Ryan. Never heard of him. He looks like Ryan Reynolds.” Noted.

8:22: Made it home in time to see Ryan Braun double in All-Star Melky Cabrera, who makes his triumphant return to Kansas City. Baseball 2012; catch the fever!

8:29: Chipper Jones gives a speech to the National League All-Stars, who could not care less about what he’s saying.

8:30: George Brett looks like a hot dog in this file footage of him throwing out the first pitch.

8:31: Justin Verlander is all over the place. Every pitch is high. Behind on the hitters. If this was a regular season game, I’d imagine he was hurt. Or dating Kate Upton?

8:33: Pablo Sandoval triples in three runs to give the Good Guys a 4-0 lead on Verlander. Guess he should have started over David Wright after all!

8:34: “Jeter will have to make a spectacular play…” He didn’t. 5-0 Good Guys!

8:36: Verlander feeling the Kate Upton effect? NL leads 5-0 after half an inning. Game over?

8:40: “How often do people call him Ugly?” Kase on Dan Uggla.

8:41: Sandoval misplays a chopper off the bat of Derek Jeter. Wright should have started! (Also, that clear error is hilariously ruled a hit.)

8:42: Royals fans boo Robinson Cano. Again. Again. If you are a Yankees fan upset that Royals fans are booing Cano, promptly kill yourself.

8:46: Josh Hamilton crushes a ball the other way, and it … is … caught. 

8:47: Jose Bautista at the plate. When Sandoval tripled to right in the first inning, Bautitsa reacted like he was being swarmed by bees.

8:48: “Blah blah blah”: Joe Buck talks about why Tony LaRussa didn’t have R.A. Dickey start the All-Star Game for the Good Guys. Get worse.

8:50: “Dark Knight Rises” TV spot. #dead

8:53: Melky Cabrera joins Barry Bonds, Willie Mays and Kevin Mitchell as the only Giants outfielders to ever make the All-Star team. Mitchell is the only one of those four to decapitate a kitten.

8:54: Bautista makes a great play in right field. No bees!

8:57: R.A. Dickey stands up to cancer, y’all!

8:59: Cain cruising. Maybe Stupid Tony LaRussa (TM) made the right call not starting Dickey.

9:03: This Robinson Cano “smile” promo is real.

9:04: Already bored.

9:11: Gio Gonzalez strikes out Mike Napoli, which is fine. But, wow, Gio Gonzalez! He went to the National League and became Oliver Perez circa 2004. What gives?

9:14: “Good pitching so far for the National League, in a city that features great barbecue.” “Yeah.” Tim McCarver gets the big bucks for a reason.

9:15: “This ‘Total Recall’ remake sounds like a great movie,” said no one.

9:17: How hardcore is Matt Harrison going to regress in the second half? Started with a 5.21 ERA, but has cruised since May 21 (1.52 ERA). Figure 6.70 ERA in August and September?

9:19: Rafael Furcal triples into right field. Jose Bautista continues to show some fancy leather.

9:20: Matt Holliday singles in Furcal to make it 6-0 Good Guys. Solid effort, Matt Harrison. The regression will be televised!

9:22: THE MELK MAN COMETH! Melky Cabrera hits a two-run home run off Harrison. 8-0 Good Guys.

9:24: Another triple to right field. This one by Braun. Bautista.

9:25: Cabrera went to high-five Cano while rounding the bases on his home run. He was denied. Cano isn’t smiling now.

9:30: “Everything he hits right now is a hit.” Matt Kemp has a way with words worthy of Rihanna.

9:31: Matt Kemp was the first player to ever tweet from the All-Star Game. David Price tweeted too. “Told you he went to Vanderbilt. He can type, too.” Way to go, Tim! That’s only a little bit racist.

9:34: Ryan Braun might have done steroids, but he’s still an awesome baseball player. He just robbed Prince Fielder to end the inning. 8-0 Good Guys.

9:37: Bryce Harper and Mike Trout filmed a promo together. It’s embarrassing, but forgivable since they can’t stay out past curfew.

9:38: Bryce Harper wears gold shoes.

9:39: Harper fouls off a Jered Weaver fastball and audibly yells, “Fuck.” He walks.

9:40: HAHAHA Harper tagged up on a fly ball to left field.

9:40: David Wright is up. I applaud.

9:41: Harper gets caught off second on a Wright comebacker. Oops. #fundamentals

9:45: Clayton Kershaw was warming up in the pen for the Good Guys, not R.A. Dickey. Just FYI for LaRussa haters out there.

9:46: Adrian Beltre grounds out on one pitch, just to prove this one is over.

9:47: Dickey is warming up!

9:48: “New Girl” star Lamorne Morris went to Kansas City and Joe Buck didn’t even bother saying his name on television.

9:49: Bryce Harper just dropped a fly ball. He’s the youngest player to ever make a boneheaded play in an All-Star Game. (They call it a hit, of course.)

9:52: “Here’s Asdrubal Cabrera batting for Derek Jeter.”

9:54: Clayton Kershaw loads the bases by walking Cabrera. Not a good night for 2011 Cy Young winners. Maybe Kershaw is dating Kate Upton too?

9:56: According to Amy Nelson, Charlie Sheen is at the game. Thought you’d like to know.

9:57: Kershaw about to walk in the first run of the game for the Bad Guys.

9:58: Nope. Kinsler flies out to Harper. 8-0 at the end of five innings.

10:02: Chipper Jones still comes up to “Crazy Train.” He “singles” off Chris Sale (and Ian Kinsler) in his last All-Star Game and proceeds to laugh it up at first base.

10:03: Andrew McCutchen’s dreads.

10:06: Sale is nasty. He strikes out David Frese to get out of trouble. It’s Dickey Time when the game returns.

10:07: “The Expendables 2” looks horrendous. Fun game: Imagine how many bad takes there had to be of Arnold Schwarzenegger saying “I’m back” if that’s the one they used.

10:10: Dickey in. Pitching against Mike Trout. This is awesome.

10:10: Trout singles!

10:11: Trout steals!

10:11:01: “Is there anything Mike Trout can’t do on a baseball field?” Shut up, Tim!

10:13: Mark Trumbo strikes out, kicking off his second-half regression.

10:15: Dickey hits Paul Konerko. Two on, one out. Eek.

10:16: Miguel Cabrera grounds into a double play. Dickey power!

10:20: Bryce Harper strikes out looking. He does not break the bat over his leg.

10:21: Derek Jeter is such a hilarious professional during this in-game interview with a nearly yawning Erin Andrews.

10:22: The part of the game where Tim McCarver and Joe Buck blow Joe Girardi.

10:23: David Wright strikes out. Ryan Cook, the best pitcher in the American League — at least tonight.

10:24: Sat on the remote and missed who was singing “God Bless America.” She’s blonde. She’s Southern. Does that narrow it down?

10:25: Cole Hamels coming on for the National League. Thanks for giving Dickey, the best story in baseball, so much time on the mound, Tony!

10:26: “The Bourne Legacy” trailer is fun?

10:30: Dickey gets interviewed by Ken Rosenthal and apartment 3L gets a little dusty.

10:33: Doing the dishes.

10:37: Still 8-0 Good Guys as we head into the eighth inning. Dickey is long gone from the game, yet Fox is showing clips from his climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in the off-season. As if you needed further proof of how much Fox wanted to focus this meaningless game on Dickey and how bad LaRussa screwed that up.

10:40: “First question: Are you serious?” Joel McHale and Kate Micucci made a Ford commercial with Ryan Seacrest. And it’s funny!

10:44: Chipper Jones basically ignores Ken Rosenthal. As you do.

10:48: Aroldis Chapman replaces an unhittable Craig Kimbrel, because LaRussa.

10:50: Chapman walks Trout.

10:52: Trumbo strikes out to end the inning.

10:54: “The Watch” has the most generic title and poster ever, but the trailers continue to look funny. Fox blew the marketing on this one, huh?

10:57: Fernando Rodney, All-Star.

10:58: Don’t you love when idiots like to say that the American League is better than the National League?

10:59: Joe Mauer is playing first base.

11:00: Asdrubal Cabrera just made a sick play at shortstop. You didn’t see it because you turned off this borefest two hours ago.

11:02: Fox is airing a show called “Mob Doctor” this fall.

11:03: Bottom of the ninth! Let’s do this!

11:03:01: By the way, I’ve got Braun winning MVP, though it should be Melky.

11:04: IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT, TONY LARUSSA IS PLAYING MATCHUPS IN AN 8-0 ALL-STAR GAME BLOWOUT. Ahem. Wade Miley, a lefty, in to face Joe Mauer, a lefty.

11:04:01: Mauer singles.

11:05: Shockingly, LaRussa is leaving Miley in to face the right-handed Elvis Andrus.

11:07: Miley, throwing junk, gets Andrus on a grounder. Terry Collins (yay!), not LaRussa, comes out to make a pitching change. Classy, TLR! Joel Hanrahan and his stupid goatee come in from the pen.

11:09: “I’ve never seen a baby take a punch like that.” That’s how you market a film, Fox! (From the trailer for “The Campaign.”)

11:12: Hanrahan pitching like Charlie Sheen in “Major League.” (Callback!)

11:13: Billy Butler strikes out. Kansas City fans cry.

11:14: LaRussa (via Ron Roenicke) replaces Hanrahan with Papelbon.

11:14:01: […]

11:15: Chevy Volts make people stupid. At least judging from the commercial that just ran, where a woman admitted to forgetting how to pump gas because of her electric car.

11:17: Matt Wieters flies out. Good Guys win, 8-0! And the New York Mets will have home field advantage in the World Series.