The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Monday, October 23, 2017

NY Times: The Yankees Have a Consolation Prize: The 2018 Season

It has been years since the future of the Yankees has been as clear as it is now. A dynamic core of young talent, centered on the captivating Aaron Judge, is in place. Burdensome contracts — symbols of the checkbook strategy that the Yankees used to rely on to build contenders — are coming off the books.

It does not take pinstriped glasses to envision World Series title No. 28 in the near future — with 29 and 30 not that far behind.

In effect, this Yankees season, which did not end until a Game 7 loss to the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series on Saturday, was an affirmation of an organizational evolution, one in which the impetuous has largely given way to the meticulous.

And yet, in the somber aftermath of Saturday’s defeat, it was hard not to recognize the inevitable uncertainty of the winter ahead.

Part of what made this season special—and it was special despite how it ended—was that it was a surprise.  Nobody expected Aaron Judge to do what he did this year.  Few expected the season Luis Severino ended up having.  Raise your hand if you saw Chad Green coming?

The Yankees could very well be better in 2018 than they were this year, but it’s not a given.  They do have to replace several important parts of the team and it’s fairly likely we’ll see regression in a lot of areas that exceeded expectations.  But now we also are going to expect great things from them going forward, and while I’m optimistic it’s not a given.  Houston isn’t really going anywhere any time soon.  Cleveland will probably be a top team again next year.  Boston is always around and always irritating.

I’m not so sure 2018 is going to be a consolation prize, especially with Hal-Cap™.  The Yankees are freeing up a fair amount of money but they can’t spend a lot of it if they want to remain under that salary cap.  Maybe that’s better and will force them to give more prospects an extended look.  But it also means that there’s a good chance the 2018 team won’t be as good as the 2017 team was.

Still, the outlook is far better for this organization now than it was a year ago, and that’s pretty nice.

--Posted at 8:30 am by SG / 68 Comments | - (0)


Page 1 of 1 pages:

My early prediction is the team is worse (not by a whole lot) based on RS/RA but picks up more actual wins than 2017.

2011 Red Sox is all I have to say

Health is always an unknown, but all things being equal:

1) Bird should be better;
2) Sanchez could be better;
3) Judge (and Sanchez) could have improved strike zone/pitch sequencing judgment;
4) Sevy, as long as there is no bump up in IP hangover, could be better;
5) Possible participation from Torres, C. Frazier, Andujar, Adams, etc.

The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades. 

Obviously, there’s a negative case as well, but I choose not to think about it right now.

Consolation prize. I do not think this headline-writer knows what that means.

Justus Sheffield could be coming.  Dillon Tate too.

A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush. 

The Hal-Cap is the frustrating part.  Yeah, Frazier isn’t a loss that they can’t make up.  Yes they can still get C.C. back for a cheaper price.  Yes they don’t have to pay A-Rod and Pineda anymore but because of the cap it doesn’t mean they can replace that bad money with hopefully better spent money to keep what worked well this year and improve the weaknesses around their young talent.

That makes players like D-Rob (who I’d love to keep) almost necessary to trade.  That means it is probably Tanaka or Otani…

Otani’s contract is significantly capped by the CBA (about $10m in the aggregate). So they can easily afford him.

Yup - something about counting chickens..,Houston was better in 2015 than 2016, right? The Mets after 2015 were also counting future WS wins (as were the 86 Mets).  maybe they take a step back in 2018, maybe not. But if they do get under the cap I expending some spending after 2018. Machado for one….

(8) Those are small market teams that have small windows for success. The Royals are a good example too - they had, what, like 2 years? Not even.  This is when you go all in. I think if they are smart they can get the payroll down and still get better.

One great thing about the league, but bad thing for the Yankees, is how balanced the league is. For the next few years when our window looks primed, it also looks good for LAD, CHC, WAS, BOS, CLE, HOU with a potentially good window coming for teams like MIN, SF, ARI, COL, etc.

So while the Yankees can be WS favorites soon, it’s no guarantee when there’s 5-8 other teams who have pretty realistic shots themselves.

10 Actually I’d prefer the Yankees to be the unquestioned class of the league and everyone else balanced except perennially last place Boston.

[7] Unfortunately, so can everyone else.

As much as I would rather have T. Frazier than Headley at 3B for next season, I would much prefer Machado to anyone at 3B for 2019 and after. So, trading Headley and signing T. Frazier doesn’t make much sense as it means no place for Machado. Plus, T. Frazier was only worth 3.6 fWar this season compared to Headley’s 2.6. So, the gap between them isn’t so great that it’s worth locking up a 32 year old that blocks the ability to sign a 26 year old the following off-season.

They can just roll with Headley at 3B for the last year of his contract and hope for a dead cat bounce. If he is garbage, they can try Andujar, let Torreyes have the gig temporarily, or grab another rental at the deadline.

[7] Which is exactly why you have to give into ALL his demands to land him, because any team other than the Marlins can afford him too. So, if he wants to DH on his off days, you promise him that chance.

Current 2018 opening day starting position players:


Players that I’d like to see, or expect to see, upgraded for 2019 and replacement candidates:

Castro—Torres or Wade
Headley—Andujar or Torres or (pie-in-the-sky) Machado
Gardner—Clint Frazier or (pie-in-the-sky) Harper
Hicks—I can’t think of an obvious replacement. I like his defense a lot so I would be pretty happy with him in CF and batting towards the bottom of the lineup.

Personally, I’d like to see Harper before Machado. I feel like a lot of Machado’s value is in his defense, which I think is likely to decline from other-wordly to good, whereas Harper’s offensive value has a chance to stay at other-worldly with the move to Yankee Stadium.

13 Sure Todd would block not only Machado but possibly Andujar or Gleyber if it turns out that’s the right spot for next year’s ROY.

[16] Would it be the craziest idea to give Gleyber SS (assuming his defense is better) and move Didi to 2B (and Castro to another team)?

Edit - Or Gleyber gets SS, Didi gets 3B, and Headley gets released in August?

15 Outfield could be a bigger need with an aging Gardy, an unpredictable Hixie and a very uncertain Clint.

[18] 3B could also be their biggest need. There is a possible scenario where Torres ends up at 2B, Castro gets jettisoned, Andujar can’t handle 3B, Clint is pushing for playing time at the end of 2018, and Hicks repeats his 2018 and they are then set in the OF with Frazier/Hicks/Judge. If that is how they enter next off-season, they HAVE to target Machado before anyone else.

A lot of moving parts though. They’ll probably use this season to figure out the biggest needs going forward and dictate the top target in 2019. As long as they solidify the rotation this off-season, they should remain contenders even if Headley and Castro are garbage and they can’t find a taker for Smells so they have to give him playing time as well.

In what universe does having Todd Frazier “block” Machado? If you can get Machado, you get him and do something else with Frazier like trade him, don’t resign him, or drop him off at Exit 98 and let him hitchhike the rest of the way to Toms River.  Machado is 6 years younger than Frazier and has put up more WAR in less time.

[17] I’d be pretty surprised if Torres’ defense is better than Didi.  There’s something special about Didi’s glove and I think it plays best where he is.  Now, I’ve never seen Gleyber in the field but unless he’s way better than I think he’d be a better candidate for 2B.

I’m also a big Andujar proponent.  We know he can hit, I just wish they’d give him a chance to field.  May not need a 3B if he can.

2.6 War for headley vs 3.6 for Frazier - one is signed for one year blocking no one and one will get a 3? Year deal blocking some real potential upgrade? That decision seems like a no brainer.
Not sure why anyone would refer to 2018 headley as a dead bat bounce. 2.6 war isn’t a dead cat.

First thing to do is make sure starting rotation is settled. Need 2 SPs between Tanaka, otani, maybe CC or someone else. Chad green?  Maybe Drob can get something in a trade? (And hope for betances to be ok?)

Next is a BUC who can hit a little.

Then move on to potential upgrades at 2nd, 3rd, etc.

That’s my take.

As far as the World Series goes, I have nothing against the Dodgers so I’m hoping they close out a great season with a championship.

I’m also annoyed by Houston fans feeling like they ‘deserve’ it after Harvey.  Yeah, it’s terrible that that happened, but if the Yankees didn’t win it in 2001 you guys will survive just fine.

I called for a dead cat bounce on Headley as I didn’t realize until I looked it up that he was at 2.6 fWAR this year. It just seemed like he had a way worse season. No reason to sign another 32 year old 3B to a multi-year deal when they can just let Headley play his deal out and then explore internal and external upgrades (Andujar, Torres, Machado).

[20] Hang on, Toms River? Does Frazier have some sort of connection there or something?

If they can find any kind of taker for Ellsbury, it would help.  Pay 75% of his remaining salary and even that helps get under the Hal-Cap™.  I feel that Clint Frazier can do anything on the field that Ellsbury could do, except play CF as well, which makes Hicks your everyday CF-er.

Ells is still good for a 1-2.5 WAR, so he’s still serviceable, but because Gardner is cheaper and is a touch better, I’d lean towards keeping TPBG.

Who would have been the curse if the Yankees broke through? Garret Cooper? Ji-Man Choi?

Regarding the opt-out, let’s say the Yanks get the heads-up that Tanaka will be exercising, but they want to play for time and get under the Halcap, but also want to entice Tanaka to stick around. What about trying to get him to handshake to a three-year, frontloaded $71 million deal with an opt-out after one? Tanaka gets a few extra million and the chance to prove the postseason was a fluke, the Yankees get some time to delay negotiations until after they clear the tax hurdle and can unleash the cash reserves.

Tanaka is potentially assuming some risk if he thinks his value is at its peak for a long-term deal, but that could be mitigated by a short-term cash bump next year.

Kershaw is at $35.5 for the next few years. Scherzer is only at $22.1 next year but goes up to $37 (!!) in ‘19. (While Strasburg hits $38.3 that year. Nats are hosed.) Verlander gets $28. Tanaka definitely doesn’t deserve Kershaw/Scherzer money. If his argument is postseason domination, he has a tough time to make a case even for Verlander money.

The problem is the goddamn Townies forking over $30 to Price to mop up in the pen.

[27] The curse has to be someone who leaves the team after the year they win the World Series.  So I suppose it’d be someone like Frazier.

It was the curse of Bellinger for 8 years. Now it’s again the curse of bellinger- the bellinger we didn’t sign.

No to CC. He is a five inning pitcher, makes no sense to me as he will be a year older.

If they can get Todd Frazier on a two year deal, without a no-trade clause of course, it might be worth it if they can move Headley. Holliday was a big help to Judge, who openly mentioned this.  Maybe Toddlin’ Todd can do the same mentoring for the young guys.

And trade Castro, that should be another move.

If the Stein Bros. were willing to eat 75% of the Elfsbery contract he probably would be gone, but I doubt that they would do it.

Tanaka pitched really well PS, but had 1.0 WAR for the regular season. Add in that elbow, and I would not extend him.

[32] What was the question again?

I am resigned to a worse team in 2018, as the Yanks get under the salary cap. Then the team will be in a position to spend big in 2019 and 2020. Young players generally improve, but Judge, Sanchez, and Didi did so well that I expect them to regress.

[34] I don’t want to know the question to which Jaime Garcia is the answer.

[35] Just wait until they’re in “position” to spend big and then…don’t.

Because that would mean that the Steinbrenner’s third housekeeper would only drive an Audi and they really want to promise her a Bentley if they want to lock down the prime third housekeeper prospect out there.

It would have been the Curse of Jaime Garcia…if…

Not really down on Gardner, might as well let him finish out his contract.

Headley contract always sucked but let him ride it out.

please give away castro and let torreyes play.

see what hicks can do

get anything for ellsbury eat the dough

cc only if really cheap, 2/20ish

no more stupid deals for useless people blocking contracts. Not every garbage player needs to be signed for multiple years at 10+

(37) The Steinbros would never pay their housekeepers enough to afford an Audi.

25% of Ellsbury’s remaining money is just under $11MM.  Would any team want Jacoby Ellsbury’s age 34-36 seasons for that much?  I doubt it.  He is as untradeable as untradeable gets.

[40] Two years for CC, a 5-inning pitcher? No thanks.

[36] Who is someone who has never been in my kitchen?

I was going to root for the Astros because they never won anything, but after seeing some of their players childishly mocking the Yankees I am totally cool with them getting swept by the Dodgers.

At this point it isn’t Gardner or Ellsbury.  It’s both.  Clint, Hicks, Judge… who do you want either starting over? One will be kept but it should be as 4th OFer. 

[44] Bravo Cliff.

[46] I’m not ready to say Frazier should be starting over Gardner, not if the goal is to win the most games.

If the goal is Frazier’s development, maybe.  But I’d rather start him back in AAA and let him earn his way back up.

“after seeing some of their players childishly mocking the Yankees”?


Scotty B is mad that the Yanks didn’t trot out Ells more during the ALCS. Hey, whatever ups his trade value.

From RAB Yankees were(40-41) during the regular season on the road, though they had a +62 run differential on the road. Outscoring your opponents by 62 over 81 games and not even winning half of those games takes some doing.

This was the most fun Yankees season in a long time.  I didn’t think we’d even beat the Indians (and I didn’t think we’d beat the Twins heading into the bottom of the first) so I don’t really have any complaints.  Houston was probably a bit better than the Yankees and we lost to them on the road in 7 games.  Shit happens.

Aaaah, that’s funny. Got no problem with that.

Congratulations on winning the 2018 World Series, you guys earned it!


I guess I wouldn’t concede anything just yet. For example, we now have a manager who’s 43 and understands young players. Although when I was 43 I really understood people who were in their late 30s and older, so this doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. Maybe he can understand Pedroia and Hanley, who in turn can pass on that understanding to the younger players. Whatever, until someone can un-fuck Bogaerts’ swing with regularity, I guess it’s the Yankees’ division to lose.

[54] We all see what you did there.

55: Would it kill you guys to be miserable for a couple days? As a New Englander, I can offer pointers as needed.

Kind of cool to not be miserable it this point.

But you know we’ve been there.

So many post-seasons under so many of our belts. No time for misery. On to 2018! WS, what WS?

Rooting for the NY ex pats over the team from Texas a no brainer for me.

Granderson was left off the roster of the Dodgers, which tilts my support to Houston. I am sure it will help them bigly.

This should be the Yankees getting struck out by Kershaw, damn it.

I just can’t believe it wasn’t Severino who gave up a first-pitch homer.

Where the hell was this Keuchel in Game 1?

Yankees RHBs Judge, Sanchez, Todd and Castro would eat up Kershaw’s weak shit.

Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy but Alderson still has a job.

Under 2 1/2 hours, quickest game in 25 years.

Shit, I was getting +450 on the Magician to pop one. Little bastard couldn’ta just taken Kenley another 15 feet?

Gigantic grain of salt, but Barstool is saying Girardi is out after he didn’t get along with Cashman this year. But it’s Barstool. And I would imagine nothing gets done with Girardi until Cashman gets his deal. Also, it’s Barstool.

Page 1 of 1 pages: Yankees’ bullpen could be best of all time
(42 Comments - 1/21/2018 1:37:35 am)

NY Post: Yankees bring back lefty to fill bullpen weak spot
(32 Comments - 1/18/2018 10:55:56 am)

NY Post: Aaron Hicks and Tommy Kahnle reach settlements with Yankees
(117 Comments - 1/17/2018 7:19:42 am)

MLBTR: Yu Darvish Choosing Among Six Teams
(46 Comments - 1/12/2018 10:22:53 am)

NYDN: Gerrit Cole to Yankees seems ‘inevitable’ despite Astros’ interest in Pirates pitcher
(88 Comments - 1/11/2018 12:44:51 am)

Dan Szymborski: Yankee Bullpen Projects to be Historically Good
(88 Comments - 1/9/2018 11:26:23 am) Year of the Hitter: List of sluggers ready to rise
(36 Comments - 1/5/2018 10:59:57 am) MLB free agency rumors: Eduardo Nunez to Yankees?
(50 Comments - 1/4/2018 8:57:40 pm)

FanRag: Heyman | Yankees eyeing Yu Darvish
(43 Comments - 1/2/2018 10:48:16 am)

PP-G: The Yankees’ trade offers for other starters could offer context to the Gerrit Cole talks
(81 Comments - 12/30/2017 10:11:26 am)