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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

Perspectives: May 20, 2024

By Paul Semendinger

May 20, 2024

***

Wow. Just wow. Wow and wow. It hasn't been this much fun to be a Yankees fan in a long long long time.


The Yankees are 33-15. Unreal. They have a two game lead over the Orioles. Also unreal. This is fun. Great fun.


This Yankees team has personality. That's been missing for a long time. I say this over and over again (partly because it needs to be repeated, partly because people forget, or they need to be reminded, and partly because we get so many new readers here), but I like D.J. LeMahieu and I like Giancarlo Stanton and I like Aaron Judge, and others, they are fun to root for, they seem like good people, I want them to succeed, but, by and large, they aren't the most exciting personalities. There is a place for players like that. Teams need them. They quietly go about their business. They perform. They often perform with excellence. But they haven't been the most exciting guys. The Yankees of the last many years, even when they were winning a lot (the first half of 2022) weren't all that exciting.


The 2024 Yankees have been exciting. They're fun to watch. They are fun to root for. This club has players that bring a bit more fun energy to the team. Juan Soto. Alex Verdugo. Marcus Stroman. They're fun. There's a lot of positive energy with the team. They're also winning. All of this is great fun.


The last few years, the Yankees seemed desperate. The moves they made were mostly long-shots. They built the teams around hope. But, it was unrealistic hope. "If Franchy Cordero can play to his potential..." "If Oswaldo Cabrera can play outfield..." "If IKF can be an every day shortstop..." "If Harrison Bader can stay healthy..."


Those teams were difficult for me to enjoy. It's difficult to get excited about a baseball team built around a wing and a prayer. That's not the 2023 Yankees. Sure, I wanted them to get even more players over the winter, but this is a solidly built team. They're proving that thus far. It seems, unlike the 2022 Yankees, that this club has staying power.


I hope so!

***

I love the energy and spirit of the 2024 Yankees, but I'm not sure how much I'd love Juan Soto in another team's uniform. A great player with a lot of personality who works to defeat the Yankees - that's not so fun. I LOVED Rickey Henderson when he was a Yankee. LOVED him. I didn't love him as much when he was on other teams - especially the A's of 1989 and 1990.


Here's hoping the Yankees get a deal with Soto done during the season. The Yankees should offer the guy $500 million in a variety of different ways. 10 years at $50 million, or 15 years at $33.33 million, or whatever. Put Soto and his agent in the place where they'd have to reject a very fair and very substantial offer. I have a sense, if $500 million is dangled, he'd take it to remain a Yankee. If not, it would be hard to blame the Yankees if he doesn't sign.

***

I work very hard here to be fair and honest and balanced. I stand by my past writings. I wrote, a lot, about how concerned I was about Aaron Judge this year. It turns out, I was wrong. He's been on fire for a few weeks now. Might he have been hurt? Maybe. Does he seem healthy now? Yup.


Who was it who said, "The reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated"? (They say Mark Twain said it, but that's one of those quotes attributed to many.)


Giancarlo Stanton is hitting .252 with 11 homers. He's also been a revelation. Can he keep it up? I'm not so sure, but I hope so. I sure hope so. I'd love him to have a great year. I'm still a doubter. But, I'm glad he is proving me wrong, so far. Very glad.

***

I listened to Luis Gil's masterpiece the other day on the radio while I was running. It was kind of fun to listen to a ballgame while covering the miles. The 7 consecutive strikeouts were a blast to listen to.


I loved Gil's strikeouts. But, I will always hate that dumb horrible annoying and mundane Star Wars sound they play at Yankee Stadium when a pitcher gets two strikes on a batter. That sound adds nothing to the game. It only diminishes. I wish the Yankees thought a little higher of their fans. We're better than that. We don't need stupidity. We know when to cheer. I have never heard a fan say, "I can't wait to get to the ballgame to hear that sound they play with two strikes on an opposing batter."

***

The Yankees had Keith McPherson in the radio booth during Gil's game. It was fun to hear his enthusiasm at having the chance to call a Yankees game. The Yankees are trying numerous voices in the booth this year.


I think the Yankees need to invite me into the radio booth to do a game.


They wouldn't be disappointed.

***

I hear the talk about moving Anthony Volpe out of the leadoff spot. I get it. I'm the guy who wanted him to bat 9th all year this year (as well as last year). That ship has sailed. He's the leadoff hitter. Let him stay there. Leave him alone. Let him shine. He will. I'm thinking of the great quote from Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman -


Let him continue on his journey... It’s a valuable future. Believe me. Don’t destroy it! Protect it. Embrace it. It’s gonna make ya proud one day, I promise you.


Leave him alone and let him shine. Each game he is becoming more and more the player the Yankees hoped he would be.

***

Of note, reports are that the Yankees have no intention to rush Jasson Dominguez in his rehab. Yes! Thank you. The Yankees, finally, seem to be taking the more cautious and sensible approach to their injured players who are working their way back.

***

Let's Go Yankees!

37 Comments


fuster
May 20

Soto-Dominguez-Judge

is as would be best,

but from left to right,

Soto has the arm of a left-fielder, and, if he applies himself, can become an asset in the outfield

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Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
May 21
Replying to

Soto is tied for 2nd-6th for RF arm DRS (2). Only Teoscar Hernandez, with 3 DRS, is ahead. For positioning and range, he's tied for No. 41 (which includes a bunch of people with limited time in RF, but who still managed to rack up one or more DRS). So as I've been saying, in Yankee Stadium, Soto plays better in right than in left.


Now, as to Judge vs. Dominguez in center vs. left, I think it depends on how the latter's arm rebounds from TJS. If he returns to his pre-injury form, then he can play center because he has more range (younger legs) than Judge. If not, then he needs to be in left.

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Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
May 20

"It hasn't been this much fun to be a Yankees fan in a long long long time."


About 23 months, to be precise.


Fun facts: 2024 Yankees after 48 games: 33-15. 2022 Yankees after 48 games: 33-15 (not a typo). The difference is that in '22, I was asking myself, "Can they catch the '98 Yankees?" (37-11 after 48 games). In '24, I'm asking myself, "Will they turn into the '22 Yankees again?"

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
May 20
Replying to

Let's hope that the Yankees just keep winning! :)

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jeff
May 20

Well said, Paul. It is like what I wrote in the comments in the previous thread. When the Yankees acquired Alex Verdugo last winter, many writers on this page and many commenters gave all kinds of numbers and stats (WAR, OPS, etc, etc), and determined that Verdugo is only an "average" player and not a "great" player. But all those fancy numbers, stats, and analytics don't say anything about what adding Verdugo's PERSONALITY to a ballclub can mean to the team. What a change of scenery would mean (Verdugo clashed with Alex Cora, and seems to love playing for Aaron Boone....so far), not to mention playing half his games in a ballpark that is more friendly to left handed hitt…


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Alan B.
Alan B.
May 20

Something I gleamed from your comment about Volpe. Why have a guy with speed if they don't let him use it? Good baserunners can go from 1st to 3rd, or score in a single from 2nd.


I think everyone here knows I watch a lot of the Yankees affiliates, even if either the Yankees or the affiliates games are muted. Spencer Jones is in a very bad 3 week funk - 11 for 67 with 31 Ks. Jones doesn't even look good at the plate (see Austin Wells for a guy not getting many good results but not looking lost at the plate). He has speed, he is also a lefty bat. He's hitting leadoff in AA too. Not convi…


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fuster
May 20
Replying to

depending on the opposition's battery, it might be availing to send send Volpe to second

in order that he can be plated on either a single or on two fly ball outs.


generally, you're certainly correct in noting that maximizing the distance between the first and second basemen during Soto's ABs is the best bet

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fantasyfb3313
May 20

I am happy to hear you say that you believe Soto would stay with the Yankees for 500 million and you will not fault the Yankees if they offer that and do not get him. personally, I believe if the Yankees believed that they could have him for that amount, they would do it in a heartbeat and it would have already been done.


sadly, I do not believe Boras allows Soto to avoid free agency for any offer that does not begin at least with a SEVEN

I absolutely believe Soto is VERY MUCH enjoying being a Yankee!! i want to believe that he will, at some point, remind Boras who is working for who here and that i…

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fantasyfb3313
May 21
Replying to

I'd like to know how $500 million isn't a very fair and very generous offer.


do you believe there is someplace in my post that i made some statement giving even a small hint that i believe 500 million would be NOT a fair offer?


if you believe that then we have a misunderstanding. i never thought it and never tried to write it and in my mind, I clearly did not write that.


is it not clear that I believe Boras will have way too much to say about this and Soto not enough? is it not clear that I said, "sadly, I do not believe Boras allows Soto to avoid free agency for any offer that does not…


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