About the Off-Season: Bits and Pieces
By Tim Kabel
January 12, 2023
We are in a somewhat awkward part of the year. Most of the big moves have been made by the Yankees and other teams. For the Yankees, there is still uncertainty regarding leftfield, third base, shortstop, and even second base. There are incumbents at all of those positions except leftfield but, many fans are unhappy with the current occupants of those positions. The Yankees could make another move or two before the season starts but, they may not.
We are now in the position of waiting until spring training. For the next month or so, Yankees' fans will be like little kids on Christmas Eve, staring out the window and counting the hours. This is the perfect time to discuss odds and ends, bits and pieces, things we normally wouldn't have time to ponder.
This off-season, Carlos Correa signed with three teams while Aroldis Chapman hasn't signed with any yet. I guess the Cuban Missile is in crisis.
Between 1995 and 1996, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, and Jorge Posada, all made it to the big leagues and began contributing. Could we see the same thing between 2022 and 2023 with Oswaldo Cabrera, Oswald Peraza, Anthony Volpe, and possibly someone else? Maybe Ron Marinaccio, Austin Wells, or Everson Pereira? Will there be a new Core Four?
I wonder what Dave Winfield thinks when he sees Aaron Hicks wearing his old number, #31. They should give it back to Winfield. Even at his advanced age, he would probably put up better numbers than Hicks.
Do you say RBI or RBI's? I say RBI because the "I" stands for in, which you would not make plural. The R stands for run, or runs, which are batted in. Therefore, RBI would be correct.
Which of the Yankees' young players do you think will have the greatest immediate impact? Which one will have the best career? I think Anthony Volpe will have the best start to his career but, I suspect Jasson Dominguez will ultimately compile better numbers.
Which will we see sooner, if at all, a 300-game-winning pitcher, or a reliever with 600 saves? Justin Verlander has the most wins among active pitchers with 244 but, he is 39 years old. Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen have the most saves among active relief pitchers, with 394 and 391 respectively. They are both 34 years old. I don't think we will ever see another 300-game winner or 600-save relief pitcher.
Which baseball record do you think is the least likely to be broken? Here are some suggestions:
Cal Ripken Jr.'s 2,632 consecutive games played.
Ichiro Suzuki's 262 hits in 2004.
Nolan Ryan's 5,714 strikeouts and 2,795 walks.
Rickey Henderson's 1,406 career stolen bases and 130 stolen bases in 1982.
I will say Cal Ripken Jr.'s record because with the concept of load management and enforced days off, no one will ever come close to this record. Whit Merrifield had the longest recent streak until it ended in July of 2022 at 553 games. That's more than 2000 games fewer than Cal Ripken junior.
Although base stealing may have a resurgence with bigger bases and fewer pickoff attempts allowed by pitchers, it seems unlikely that anyone will come close to what Rickey Henderson did. The active career stolen base leaders are Dee Strange-Gordon with 336, and Elvis Andrus with 335. I think Rickey's career record will be safe long after Elvis has left the building.
Which of the young Yankee players will have the longest career? Before you answer, remember that of the trio of Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, and Ian Kennedy, Kennedy had the longest career and is still pitching, although he hasn't been signed yet.
How many players currently on the Yankees' 40-man roster will still be on the team when Aaron Judge's contract expires? Which players? I suspect one or all of Cabrera, Peraza, and Volpe might still be there. I know Volpe isn't technically on the 40-man roster but, he may well be by the end of spring training.
Who is the most memorable media personality of this group? John Sterling, Russ Salzberg, Steve Somers, Lloyd Lindsay Young, or Chauncey Howell? Which one would you most like to talk to? Imagine being trapped in an elevator with all of them.
Would you rather see an upper-deck home run, or an inside-the-park home run?
Will anyone ever hit a fair ball out of Yankee Stadium?
Gerrit Cole and his wife welcomed their second son, Everett, this week. I wonder what John Sterling's home run call for Everett will be when he makes it to the major leagues 23 years from now? I'm only half joking. I wouldn't be surprised if John and Suzyn are still calling games in 2046. If you love doing something, you should be able to do it for as long as you want. After all, Tiny Tim passed away in the middle of a rendition of Tiptoe Through the Tulips at a gala in Minnesota. Now, that's going in style.