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Perspectives on… OUCH, the Injuries (Again)

George Carlin once quipped, “Did you ever have that strange feeling, Vuja De, when you feel like none of this has ever happened before?”

I was hoping for some Vuja De for the Yankees in 2020, but it seems like we’re back on that same old, “Everybody Gets Hurt” train.

It’s frustrating.

Very frustrating.

Here are some of my perspectives:

Boy I liked J.A. Happ as the #5 starter. He would have been great there, but now he’ll be the #3 starter. I like that a lot less. A lot less.

I said last year, before the 2019 season, during the 2019 season, and even after the 2019 season that the Yankees needed to add two quality starters to the rotation. They didn’t do that. They got only one, a great one in Gerrit Cole, but only one. Now they have 40% of their rotation as a question mark going into the season. Supposedly James Paxton will be back in short time. If he is, they can weather the storm because there isn’t much of a need for a fifth starter early in the season with so many days off, but still. It isn’t hard to see that the likes of James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ, and even Jordan Montgomery don’t exactly scream “HEALTHY PITCHERS.” It wasn’t very difficult to assume that some, many, or most of these pitchers would get hurt. The Yankees need depth, quality depth, because they see themselves as World Series contenders. This is the period of time when they need to play big or go home. They went big with Gerrit Cole, but by doing nothing else, they left themselves open for this very scenario. It’s not good. The Yankees have not gone “all in” for quite some time. Cole was a start, he wasn’t everything. It’s not even March and already the starting staff is falling apart.

Does anyone think that no other starting pitcher will get hurt? The Yankees are a starting pitcher’s injury away from disaster. Yesterday Brian Cashman made a statement to the effect of, “Last year Domingo German won 18 games, we’ll have to find that guy again.” That’s a great thought and spirit but unproven pitchers don’t often come out of nowhere to win 18-games. (The better approach would have been to ink a second reliable starter…one with a history of durability.)

And then… Giancarlo Stanton gets hurt again. Really? Our Tweet of the Day today (which will be posted at 3:00 p.m.) lists the injuries he has sustained just since the beginning of last year. This is just getting ridiculous. I feel for the guy. This can’t be fun. I’m sure he just wants to play.

Clint Frazier just breathed a huge sigh of relief. He just made the team. Frazier just got his next (maybe last) best chance to be a starter for the Yankees. He is now the favorite to play LF/DH in Stanton’s spot.

Fair question (and I believe I asked this early last year also) – Who will have more homers going forward in their careers, Clint Frazier or Giancarlo Stanton? Since the start of last season, Frazier is winning 12-3.

This injury also opens the door for Miguel Andujar to get regular playing time which presents a great question that will be fun to see how it plays out. Frazier and Andujar are both hitters with a ton of talent and upside who have not impressed defensively. Of the two, which one will put up better numbers over the course of his career?

I have written about this before – and will have a piece on this soon – but many of the most similar players to Giancarlo Stanton (according to Baseball Reference) were washed up by their early 30’s. I wish Giancarlo well. I want him to be great, but I get less optimistic that he can be healthy and productive with each passing day. I don’t know why he cannot seem to stay healthy.

Already four major components of the 2020 team (Stanton, James Paxton, Luis Severino, and Aaron Hicks) will miss playing time this season – some with significant time away from the game (for Severino it’s all season). I don’t like to be skeptical, but I don’t have much confidence in any timelines the Yankees offer on their injured players. It seems to always take the players longer to return, or if they do come back sooner than expected, they just seem to get hurt again. Add to this the fact that there have also been questions, already, again, about Aaron Judge’s health. Ugggg. This is why teams on the cusp, especially teams like the Yankees with deep pockets and financial might, must go all-in, all-in, when the opportunity to win a championship presents itself. Those windows close quickly.

The 2019 Yankees were remarkable because they did the impossible – they plugged every injury with a player who surprised everyone by well-exceeded expectations. Last year was remarkable because of that. What happened last year is not typical and the Yankees cannot expect that to happen again. Replacement players are replacement players. Not every young kid will turn out to be a star.

These injuries make me even more frustrated and angry about the whole Astros cheating affair. They robbed the Yankees of a possible World Series…maybe two. Windows close fast. The 2020 Yankees should still be good, but a World Series less likely today than it was 48 hours ago. The Yankees and their fans might have at least had that World Series glory if they weren’t stopped by a team that cheated their way to one title and maybe another league pennant. I am still amazed that the Astros players faced no discipline for that. It’s baffling that this was how Major League Baseball dealt with that issue.

Ok, no more injuries, please.

Let’s Go Yankees!

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