About the Off-Season: Meanderings of My Mind
About the Off-Season: Meanderings of My Mind
by Tim Kabel
November 11, 2023
It's a Saturday during the off-season, so it's time for me to cherry pick various topics on which I will offer brief commentary.
* Just to be clear, I don't have anything against bunting. I thought the Yankees should have bunted more often than they did last season. I also think they should have stolen more bases than they did. My only issue is that for Hal Steinbrenner to make bunting the centerpiece of his “Big Changes” agenda for next season is a little ridiculous. It would be like a once prestigious restaurant that had faded in quality and reputation trying to revive things by adding breadsticks to the menu.
* As part of the fallout from the press conferences of Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman on Tuesday, the Yankees announced there would be no changes to the strength and conditioning staff, despite multiple injury issues and the mishandling of those injuries by the team. In the words of George H. W. Bush, “There's a new breeze blowing”. Unfortunately, this breeze is blowing over the septic tank.
* So, to put a bow on this, Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner believe that the 2023 season was a disaster and was totally unacceptable. Yet, they're not changing any of their personnel or the way they go about their business. That would be like discovering that the captain of the Titanic said, “It's just an iceberg, full speed ahead.”
* However, there is reason for optimism. In 2024, we will have bunting. The best part is it won't even be Major League bunting. It will be a concentration on bunting in the minor leagues. The effects of this policy may not be felt on the Major League level for a couple of years. I think we should call it “the anticipation of bunting”.
* Many of us heard that big changes are coming and thought that might mean Juan Soto and Cody Bellinger. Apparently, it is more likely to mean Kevin Kiermaier and some injured Cardinals’ outfielders. I'm really getting excited.
* We all know that Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole have some influence with Hal Steinbrenner as far as shaping the roster and other decisions. Apparently, Anthony Volpe wants to get in on the act. He suggested the Yankees sign Jason Heyward. I believe Jason Heyward began his career during the Nixon administration. He was famous for getting paid a lot of money for not doing very much. Volpe sounds like he could be an assistant to Brian Cashman someday.
* Hal Steinbrenner announced that on the eve of Opening Day, the Yankees will show a double feature at the stadium with the two movies being The Bunt for Red October and Good Will Bunting.
* I was hoping to get a Jasson Dominguez jersey for Christmas, but I have scrapped that plan and I'm now eagerly awaiting my Jason Heyward jersey.
* Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman have detailed more of the changes they will be making for 2024 to bring a championship back to the Bronx. No, not a new manager. Not a new coaching staff. Not even top free agents. They will be changing the blend of the grass seed on the field. The interior walls of the stadium will get a new color of paint as well. They are waiting for the paint color committee of Nick Swisher, Michael King, and Giancarlo Stanton to make their selection.
* Rumor has it that the Yankees will be removing the quote from Joe DiMaggio in the tunnel to the clubhouse that says, “I would like to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee” and replacing it with, “I think we're pretty f-ing good, personally,” by Brian Cashman.
* This just in. The Yankees are scrapping any plans to acquire Cody Bellinger, Juan Soto, and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Instead, they will be working to reacquire Aaron Hicks and are attempting to talk Nelson Cruz, Ian Kennedy, and Zack Greinke out of retirement.
* Hal announced that in addition to the bundt cake that will be served throughout the stadium next season, there will also be a vegan friendly option which will be called the “fake bundt cake”.
* There are rumors that the Yankees are considering trading Gleyber Torres to the Red Sox for Alex Verdugo. I seem to recall Verdugo being benched a few times for not hustling last year. I don't think it's a great idea. But the big question is, can he bunt?
* If the Yankees do trade Gleyber Torres, they will presumably move Oswald Peraza to second base. That would create a hole at third base. Josh Donaldson is available. Before you say no, remember he did lay down a few bunts during his Yankees tenure. He's just the type of player they are looking for.
* When Hal announced the new emphasis on bunting as the signature move for the 2024 Yankees, it reminded me of something that happened in my career many years ago. I worked with a very troubled young man who had major antisocial and violent tendencies. As a result, he was in a residential facility out of state. When I went to visit him on one occasion, I was looking for answers from the program, as he had not made progress in several months. His therapist proudly announced to me that he had enrolled the young man in a support group to deal with his issues. I was happy about that and asked if it was a support group for anger management, conflict resolution, or handling situations in a nonviolent manner. The therapist shook his head and said, “No, I put him in a support group for people with a lazy eye”. Somehow, the therapist concluded that was the young man’s biggest issue.
* The Yankees are not making any major changes to the coaching staff, the manager, the front office personnel, or even the analytics department. They will also apparently not be changing the way they do anything. Therefore, it is logical to conclude they might not bring in the players the fans want them to acquire. We could be looking at a bargain basement approach to the off-season which Hal and potty-mouth Brian will attempt to convince us are wonderful moves that will really change the team’s fortunes.
* When Hal and Cashman promise big changes for 2024, it's like having your parents promise you a vacation to Disney but then you spend the summer sitting in your backyard with your feet in a kiddie pool with a picture of Mickey Mouse on it.
* Just wait until next season when in a crucial game, Giancarlo Stanton squares to bunt. I can just hear it now, “Well Suzyn, Giancarlo Stanton is squaring to bunt and that bunt is sponsored by the Nordic Ware company, producers of the best bundt cake pans in the world. Nothing beats a good slice of bundt cake when you're watching the Yankees lay down a bunt. So run out and buy a cake pan from Nordic Ware today.”
“Thanks John, but that wasn't Giancarlo Stanton, it was Anthony Volpe, and he was swinging away.”