- Tim Kabel
About the Off-Season: A Flurry of Thoughts.
February 23rd, 2023
Tim Kabel shares with us a number of ideas and opinions about the Yankees of now and then!
It is Thursday, the day I have been using to focus on multiple, smaller topics, rather than one larger theme. To quote Harvey Korman as Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles, “My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.” If Aaron Boone were here, he could take the role of Taggart, played by Slim Pickens in the film and respond, “Ditto.”
The other day, Clarke Schmidt struck out three batters during his pitching session. I was impressed until I found out one of them was Josh Donaldson. That shouldn't count. i honestly believe Josh Donaldson could strike out hitting off a tee.
Which former Yankee from the last few seasons are you rooting for the most this year? For me, it is Matt Carpenter.
How do you think the Yankees should line up their top four starters in the rotation this year? I think they should go righty, lefty, righty, lefty. That is based on the knowledge that Gerrit Cole will be the number one starter. The question becomes who is the number two starter? I think it will be Carlos Rodon. Nestor Cortes may prove to be a better pitcher but, the Yankees did not sign Carlos Rodon to a huge contract to have him fill the fourth slot in the rotation. Besides, Nestor does not seem to have much of an ego and probably would have no problem pitching in the fourth slot.
Who will lead the team in stolen bases this year? I think it will depend on whether Anthony Volpe makes the team. If he does not, I will go with Oswald Peraza by a slim margin over Harrison Bader. I predict that if Aaron Hicks remains on the team all season, Anthony Rizzo will steal more bases than he does.
Frankie Montas had surgery on February 21st to address issues with his labrum. The Yankees are optimistic that he could return to action by the end of the season. Perhaps he will return on Labrum Day.
Catcher Ben Rortvedt underwent a procedure to address an aneurysm of his posterior artery near his left shoulder on February 22nd. He will miss at least a month before he can even resume baseball activities. It seems like the only baseball activity he has been able to engage in since coming to the Yankees is watching a game. Some people have said that Jasson Dominguez may be the new Mickey Mantle. Ben Rortvedt is the new Jacoby Ellsbury.
This is Estevan Florial's sixth time in Major League camp, without ever yet making the team. He is still only 25 years old. He is out of minor league options so, if he doesn't stick with the Major League team, this will most likely be his last Major League camp with the Yankees. Six years in a row coming to the Major League camp? He is just a couple of years short of a pension.
It is official. Aaron Boone stated that Anthony Volpe will play some games at second base during spring training. This could be the beginning of his transition to that position on a full-time basis. Don't forget, Gleyber Torres is at the World Baseball Classic and won't be around for a little while. Torres could become the next Wally Pipp. For you youngsters in the crowd, Wally Pipp did not sing with Gladys Knight.
When the Yankees break camp and head north to begin the season, it would be much better for them on many levels if Estevan Florial is on the team and Aaron Hicks is not.
The spring training games begin on Saturday. I will be fascinated to see how Boone handles the young players. If Oswald Peraza, Anthony Volpe and Oswaldo Cabrera are not given legitimate opportunities to win starting jobs, it will not bode well for this season. It will also prove that all the talk about letting the young guys play was just talk. We know what Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Josh Donaldson, and Aaron Hicks can do. We don't need to see it again.
I think Greg Weissert will make the team. I just have a feeling that he will dominate in spring training.
Apparently, Justin Shackil will replace Sweeney Murti as the Yankees reporter on WFAN. More importantly, he will be the backup to John Sterling. Shackil is expected to call approximately 25 games this season, because Sterling wants to avoid excessive travel. That makes sense. After all, Sterling will be 85 years old in July. If it were me, a walk to the mailbox would be excessive travel. Sterling has no actual plans to retire, so Shackil could be calling approximately 25 games for the next 25 years.
I suspect that Domingo German will be the Yankees fifth starter this season, at least at the beginning of the year. Unless one of the young guys seizes the spot from him. That is not a knock on Clark Schmidt. I think he will evolve into a very important weapon out of the bullpen this season.
I read an article today that stated Aaron Hicks is no longer angry at Aaron Boone or Yankees fans for his struggles in the last few years, particularly in 2022. Let that one roll around in your head for a minute. The fact that Hicks was angry at anyone other than himself in the first place is mind boggling. Apparently, he was offended and outraged after the game on September 9th last year against the Rays when he dropped the ball and then stood there pouting while three runners scampered around the bases. On the next play, he imitated Julie Andrews spinning around on the mountain in The Sound of Music as a ball sailed over his head. The fans booed him mercilessly. Boone removed him from the game, purportedly to protect him. That upset Hicks. Reportedly, he was already upset at losing his job in centerfield and batting lower in the lineup than he felt was appropriate. I can just hear the late Don Adams, as Maxwell Smart, saying, “would you believe?”
I would rather see the late Will Geer at third base, the late Walter Brennan in leftfield, and the late Luciano Pavarotti at shortstop than Josh Donaldson, Aaron Hicks, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa in those positions.
If Cabrera, Peraza, and Volpe excel during spring training and earn starting roles, I believe Yankees’ fans will be much more excited about the start of the season than if they don't. I believe the fans do not want to see Donaldson, Hicks, and Kiner-Falefa trot out onto the field on March 30th. As Dracula used to say, “it's time for some new blood.”
I don't believe I have seen anyone as tone deaf as Aaron Hicks since the late Bob McAllister. For those of you who don't remember, McAllister was the host of the children's TV show Wonderama from 1967 until 1977. Near the end of his tenure, McAllister became upset that the TV station aired a commercial for a violent movie during his show. His response to this was to take out a $10,000, full page ad in the New York Times advising people not to watch Wonderama. McAllister was later surprised when the show was canceled.
Sunday's game will be aired on the YES network. I'm looking forward to seeing many of these young players. Hopefully it will be much more than cameo appearances.
I am especially excited to see Anthony Volpe, Jasson Dominguez, and Austin Wells.