Odds and Ends
About the Off-Season: Odds and Ends.
By Tim Kabel
March 16, 2023
It is Thursday, the day I have been using to focus on multiple, smaller topics, rather than one larger theme. Spring Training is whizzing by. The season opens two weeks from today. We are getting some clear indications of what this roster and lineup will look like. There are some early injuries that have muddied the waters a bit, but I think we can draw some conclusions. Today's observations will give a slight nod to the Academy Awards. That ceremony lasted almost as long as Spring Training.
Josh Donaldson recently stated that if he didn't believe he still had talent and ability, he would retire. Apparently, he believes he will have a big season in 2023. Perhaps he is existing in an alternate universe like the characters in Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Anthony Volpe has been extremely impressive during spring training. I'm not sure if he will start the season in the Bronx but he will be there at some point this year. His talent, energy, and work ethic are very refreshing. He truly looks like a major league player.
To be clear, my praise of Volpe is not meant as a slight against Oswald Peraza. Peraza missed a few games due to a minor injury but has been extremely smooth in the field and has shown some pop offensively. In addition, he had a very impressive audition last fall, which is probably worth more than Spring Training. As I have stated in the past, it does not need to be an either-or situation with Peraza and Volpe. They could quite possibly anchor the middle of the Yankees infield together for the next decade.
The Yankees have not played Jasson Dominguez much over the past few days. Perhaps they are trying to temper the fans' enthusiasm for him. They clearly have no intention of bringing him north on March 30. I'm sure in the minds of Cashman and Boone, they are making enough of a concession to youth by having Cabrera, Peraza, and perhaps Volpe on the team. They may believe that playing Dominguez too much in Spring Training might create a groundswell among the fanbase to keep him on the roster as opposed to Aaron Hicks or Rafael Ortega.
Aaron Hicks is in mid-season form. His offense is punchless and his defense is shaky. Maybe another team can be convinced that a change of scenery might improve his performance. One can only hope.
The most logical move for the Yankees would be to trade Gleyber Torres for a leftfielder. They might even be able to throw Hicks or Josh Donaldson into the deal. Trading Torres would open up second base for Volpe. He and Peraza look like a wonderful double play combination. Removing Donaldson will open up third base for Oswaldo Cabrera. DJ LeMahieu could rotate between second base, third base, first base, and designated hitter, as he was originally signed to do.
Aaron Boone's press conferences and interviews are more confusing than the plot of Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Hopefully, Harrison Bader won’t miss a great deal of time. The Yankees could certainly maneuver people around to cover for him for the first few weeks of the regular season. Once he returns, if they did acquire a starting leftfielder in a trade, that player would match up with Aaron Judge and Bader, with Giancarlo Stanton and one of the bench players filling in as needed.
Brendan Gleeson in the Banshees of Inisherin would probably hit better then Josh Donaldson, even after he cut off his fingers.
Isaiah Kiner-Falefa is approaching his inevitable role as a bench player with class and enthusiasm. He stated then he wants to be part of what the Yankees are building. He would be an excellent bench player.
Neither Aaron Hicks nor Josh Donaldson would be a very good bench player in my estimation. They are too self-centered and negative to fill that role. They both need to go. The Yankees have much better options for their roster spots.
I wrote a lengthy piece the other day stating that I thought the Yankees should use Jason Dominguez in center field until Harrison Bader returns. I still believe that but the fact that the Yankees haven't been playing him much since then and the history of Brian Cashman indicate that it is highly unlikely Dominguez will get a chance right out of Spring Training. The suggestion that Domínguez open the season in centerfield in New York probably went over as well with Boone and Cashman as Samwell Tarly’s proposal of democracy on Game of Thrones. Now, it is possible that Dominguez tears things up in the minor leagues and makes it to New York by the end of the season. That is also doubtful but, sooner or later, he will be there.
Remember the movie, The Scout? Brendan Fraser played a baseball player who makes it to the Yankees. I know he was a pitcher in the movie but, I would rather see Brendan Fraser from that movie in left field than Aaron Hicks. Heck, I would rather see Brendan Fraser from The Whale in leftfield than Aaron Hicks. At least he would make a solid effort and be a team player.
If Aaron Hicks and Josh Donaldson are actually on the team on opening day, it would be a bad omen for the season. Even worse, I can just imagine John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman trying to convince the listeners that those two players had rediscovered their past abilities and were about to have tremendous seasons. If the Yankees do trade Torres for a solid leftfielder, and rid themselves of Donaldson and Hicks, I believe the resultant team would be quite exciting. Would you rather see Volpe at second base, Peraza at shortstop, and Cabrera at third base or Torres, IKF, and Donaldson in those same positions?
The fact that Aaron Judge is working hard in spring training to improve his two-strike batting approach says all you need to know about the man.
Although I never saw him play, it was sad to hear of the passing of Joe Pepitone.