A Pinch of This, a Dash of That
About the Off-Season: A Pinch of This, a Dash of That
By Tim Kabel
March 2, 2023
It is Thursday, the day I have been using to focus on multiple, smaller topics, rather than one larger theme. Spring Training is underway. The games have started. Four weeks from today, the season opens. That's this month. It will be here before you know it. We are starting to see things develop in spring training. It is early but, as the late, great Yogi Berra said, “It gets late early out there.”
Both Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt looked impressive in their initial outings. If this continues, I would give the fifth starter spot to German. I wouldn't do that because I think German is better but because I think Schmidt would be extremely effective in the bullpen and the combination of German in the fifth starter role and Schmidt in the bullpen would make the team better.
Yesterday was the spring training debut for Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, and Anthony Rizzo. It was good to see them all on the field and healthy. What they did or didn't do in the game is not as important as having all three of them in the lineup.
This week Aaron Judge was asked what his favorite television show was as a youth. He responded that it was Looney Toons. He stated that Bugs Bunny was his favorite character and that Daffy Duck frequently annoyed him. This leads me to ask, who was your favorite Looney Toons character? Mine was either Foghorn Leghorn or Yosemite Sam. I would give an honorable mention to Elmer Fudd.
When Aaron Hicks gripes about how hard it is to play in New York because the fans are so tough, it reminds me of Harry and Meghan complaining about how difficult it is to be members of the Royal Family. Think about it, there are people out there trying to figure out which bill they're not going to pay this month so they can pay the other ones and they have to read stories about millionaires bellyaching about how arduous their lives are. To quote the Hound from The Game of Thrones, “Quit your whinging. If your mouth is moving and you're complaining about something, that's whinging.”
Austin Wells will miss 6 to 8 weeks with a fractured rib. He will miss all of spring training. This is frustrating because he would have had an opportunity to get in several games and possibly open some eyes. There was no way in the world he was going to make the Major League roster but, it would have been a tremendous opportunity for growth and experience. At least he will be back fairly early in the minor league season. This could still be a very big year for him.
So far, Oswald Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera, Anthony Volpe, and Jasson Dominguez all look very good. They definitely look like they are ready to play. We have seen Oswaldo Cabrera and Peraza but most of us have not seen Volpe and Dominguez. Volpe appears to be very polished and perhaps ready to play on the Major League level. Dominguez is not as polished but, at age 20, he is certainly not overwhelmed or out of place.
Josh Donaldson went hitless the other day. It's good to see he's in mid-season form already. Now, all he has to do is hit a ball off the top of the wall, stand at home plate for several seconds admiring it and then get thrown out at first base. After that, he'll have to throw his arms up in disgust, shake his head and appear to be shocked that it wasn't a home run. Then, he'll be ready.
It is probable that the Yankees will send Volpe to the minors at the beginning of the season. There is no way in the world that Jasson Dominguez would start the season in the Major Leagues, regardless of what he did in spring training. However, there are organizations that would have both of them in the lineup every day this season. That's just not how the Yankees do things.
I read that yesterday's starting lineup might be a sneak peek at the Opening Day lineup. I certainly hope not. Both Aaron Hicks and Isiah Kiner-Falefa started the game. Josh Donaldson was also in the game. We saw that enough last season. We don't need to see it again this season. There is no evidence to support the notion that Donaldson or Hicks will be any better than they were last year. Kiner-Falefa is adequate at best. The school of thought seems to be “Well, they can't be any worse than they were last year.” That's not a ringing endorsement and it's not true. If there are better options available, which there are, those are the players who should be on the field.
We have not yet seen Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon, or Nestor Cortes, Jr. We have not seen Clay Holmes or Michael King. The next four weeks will be very interesting.
The season ending injury to Gavin Lux of the Los Angeles Dodgers might create an opportunity to trade IKF or even Gleyber Torres, if the Dodgers want to move their infielders around. Who knows, they might even take Donaldson. After all, they took Joey Gallo last year.
I know it's early but, I for one, am glad the Yankees did not trade Cabrera, Peraza, Volpe, or Dominguez. I don't know if any of them will become superstars but they all certainly look like they can play and more importantly, like they want to play. The only thing is, they actually need to be given an opportunity to play.
If it becomes obvious that Donaldson, Hicks, and Kiner-Falefa will be in the starting lineup on Opening Day, I don't think I'll have any choice. I'll have to convince Greta Thunberg that they are bad for the environment so she can chain herself to them in protest. That way, Cabrera, Peraza, and Volpe can be on the field.