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About Spring Training: Taking Action Without Panicking

About Spring Training: Taking Action Without Panicking

By Tim Kabel

March 14, 2024


When I was a kid, I used to go places with my father on Saturdays because he worked long hours during the week. One time when we were out driving, the brakes on the car gave out. I was sitting in the front seat, and we didn't use seat belts back then, so I was able to watch very closely how my father responded. Once he realized the brakes weren't working, he didn't panic. He simply applied the emergency brake slowly and brought the car to a complete stop at the stop sign. He then released the emergency brake and continued driving. After the third time doing this, he could stop the car on a dime. He had the brakes repaired, primarily because my mother also drove the car. I have a feeling that if it were just him, he would have kept going as it was because he was so proficient at it. The point was my father recognized the problem and came up with a solution. He didn't panic. He kept his head and made a rational decision.

Earlier this week, we learned that both Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole needed to have MRI's. Judge’s MRI came back clean, and it was revealed that he was just feeling banged up, particularly around his abdomen and needed a few days of rest. He is expected to be in the Opening Day lineup. Gerrit Cole will definitely not be pitching on Opening Day this year. He had tenderness in his right elbow and was having trouble recovering between throwing sessions. He is reportedly going to be shut down for at least one to two months. At this point, there is no indication that he has a tear that would require surgery. However, he has flown to California to meet with a specialist and to have further testing. It is a good thing that he is having additional testing so he and the Yankees can have a better idea of what the actual problem and prognosis are.

Within seconds of hearing that Cole had elbow trouble which could conceivably cause him to miss time, there were reports that the Yankees were ratcheting up their offer to the White Sox for Dylan Cease. Well, we can cease those discussions because Cease has been traded to the Padres. Amazingly, one of the key parts of the trade from the Padres is Drew Thorpe, who was traded by the Yankees for Juan Soto. Drew is probably the second most famous Thorpe, after Jim, of course. They probably won't name a town in Pennsylvania after Drew and Burt Lancaster will definitely not play him in a movie.

At this point, we are not sure exactly how much time Gerrit Cole will miss. Conceivably, it could be as few as five starts or as many as the whole season’s worth. Right now, it seems that it will be closer to a month or possibly two than the whole season. Either way, those starts need to be made by someone else. The question is: what do the Yankees do? They could sign Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery. The only problem with that is because there are only two weeks left in spring training, neither of them would be ready by Opening Day. I have advocated for the Yankees to sign or acquire another pitcher in case an injury such as this happened. At this point, they have not done so.

Perhaps the best course of action at this point is to go with the talent that is available to them. They could use Will Warren or Clayton Beeter, or possibly another youngster. That would make more sense if Cole is only projected to miss a month or so. If the worst-case scenario becomes reality and Cole needs to miss the bulk of the season, or the whole season, then it might make sense to sign Snell or Montgomery and use one of the kids until they are ready.

The wisest course of action is what the Yankees are doing right now. They are gathering as much information as possible so they can make an informed decision. They did not panic and give in to the demands of the White Sox. If trading Spencer Jones or other top prospects was not something they were willing to do two weeks ago, it shouldn't be something they are willing to do now. There are always solutions to every problem. Sometimes, you just have to look for them.

 When I was a supervisor for the state child protection agency, I had a rule that I applied consistently. It was fairly simple. I made decisions based on the best interests of the child regardless of outside circumstances. For example, every year social workers would come to me and say that a parent who had not seen their child in eons wanted to visit because it was Christmas. If the facts of the case indicated that visits with the parent were not in the best interest of the child, I wouldn't grant the visit. I would ask the worker “would you give this parent a visit if it was July 12th?” If the answer was no, then i wouldn't give the visit simply because it was Christmas.

If the Yankees were not willing to trade Spencer Jones for Dylan Cease two weeks ago, then they shouldn't make the trade now just because Gerrit Cole may be down for a month or two, or even longer. They have pitchers in the system who could fill the role, at least temporarily and if they so desire, they could sign Jordan Montgomery or Blake Snell.

So far, the Yankees are handling the situations with Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole in a logical, planful way. It is a long season; there is no reason to panic.


Carol Lawrence
Carol Lawrence
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Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
Mar 14

And now with an opposing point of view:


Alan B.
Alan B.
Mar 14

Gotta agree that over reaction due to panic mode is crazy, and usually it fails miserably. But to me, this puts the onus on the Yankees Pitching 'gurus', Briend, Blake, Johnson (AAA PC), and the rest of them. It's one thing to be able to continually make pitching prospects that other teams want and using them in a trade, but it's another thing to make guys who are able to to go from the Double-A or Triple-A rotations to toeing the slab in the boogeytown South Bronx (this last line courtesy of David Cone). Plus, can this group, help Schmidt get better in Year 2 of being a starter? Gil, Beeter, & Warren, are all now in a competition…


Mar 14

dont panic

and always know where your towel is


Mar 14

Amen! 🙏🏻

I love when common sense and a bit of patience is exercised. It isn’t always necessary to jump into “the sky is falling” responses that decimate the farm system. Trading away three of our top 10 prospects for a guy who pitched like Schmidt (our #5 starter) does not jump out at me as the smartest move.

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