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Yankees Perspectives – June 5, 2019

It’s been an eventful few days for the Yankees. Here are some perspectives on some of the latest news and happenings:

Through Tuesday night, Didi Gregorius is 1-for-21 in AAA. That’s an .047 batting average – against minor league pitching. Didi is a leader, a great baseball player, and a very fun player to root for. Didi is great. I wish him all the best. But, Didi is not ready to return to the Major Leagues. He just isn’t. The Yankees promoted Aaron Hicks far too quickly. Hicks’ bat still isn’t back (although he did get two hits last night, including a homerun). The Yankees have not been scoring a lot of runs lately. Adding another bat that isn’t ready into the line-up serves no purpose except to say, “We made a plan and regardless of the circumstances, we’re going to stick to it. We said Didi will be back for the series with Cleveland and that’s what we’re doing.” It makes no sense. None. Didi Gregorius will be the Yankees’ shortstop for the rest of the year – and presumably into the future. The Yankees should bring him back to the team when he’s ready to perform at a Major League level not just because some people said, “He’ll be ready on June 7.” He’s not ready. Not yet. If you can’t hit minor league pitchers, you’re not ready to hit in the big leagues.

I am shocked, absolutely shocked, that Dallas Keuchel isn’t signed yet. All of the teams, the agent, and the player himself, have had months (an entire winter and then the whole start of the season) to each develop a plan to sign him. This can’t be all that complicated…can it? I really thought he’d have an agreement the moment (12:01 a.m.) he once again became available without the draft pick compensation. Keuchel has to know that his value is way down after not getting an offer to his liking over the winter. Each day he misses pushes his return back that much further. Assuming he’ll only get a one year deal (for this season), each day away presumably hurts his negotiating power for next season and beyond. I want him on the Yankees. The Yankees need another starting pitcher. They need, desperately need, a pitcher who can give them lots of innings and give the bullpen some rest. Yes, there are other pitchers who might become available, but they will cost dollars and prospects. Keuchel can be had for just money. We have seen this year just how valuable having prospects is to this team. But, if Keuchel isn’t ready to sign, or he is still asking for more than any team is willing to give him, even after missing the first two months of the season, the Yankees should take a hard pass. I can’t presume to know what is in Keuchel’s mind. I can only say that I would be jumping out of my skin for the chance to play again, especially for a team in first place with a clear path to the World Series. If Keuchel is not ready to get out on the field and start pitching, maybe, just maybe, there is more there than meets the eye.

Angel Hernandez, the home plate umpire last night, has to do a better job than this:

Even Gary Sanchez took a double take on this terrible call by Angel Hernandez.pic.twitter.com/1scMQBiBE4 — Chris Dixon (@cdixon25) June 5, 2019

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Last night there were a host of questionable calls on balls and strikes. The above Tweet was just one of many. To be fair to the umpire, and to keep this site fan-friendly, I actually had somewhat of a tough time finding tweets to show how inconsistent his strike zone that didn’t contain profanity or calls for Angel Hernandez to be fired. I’m not looking for the guy to be fired. We all have bad days, but a professional has to be better than what we saw last night. Those pitches change the way a pitcher attacks the zone. They change the at bats and they change the game. I think baseball needs to do a better job holding umpires accountable, the ways players are, when they have a poor game. What are the consequences for a umpire who misses as many calls as this? Are there any? Players get sent to the minor leagues. Do umpires? Do umpires ever have to face the media?

Speaking of players being held accountable… Clint Frazier had an ugly game on Sunday. UGLY. His defense has been atrocious and Sunday was his worse game yet. It was awful. After the game, he should have just faced the media and owned up to his mistakes. “I played poorly. I have to do better. I’m working on it. The desire is there. I will get better.” We all know what he had to say. He knows what he has to say. He didn’t do that. Then yesterday he came out and shared that some of the stories that came out in the media since he’s been a Yankee have been unfair to him – he stated that some of the stories were not even true. He shared that it has been hard on him facing people who, from his perspective, seem to have it out for him. And you know what… he is probably correct. Clint Frazier is a 24-year old kid. He’s going to make mistakes. He made them in the field. He then made them by hiding from the media after the game. He could have made the whole thing go away by just giving the standard answers that everyone expects. But, on the other hand, the media, the people who he feels have made things difficult for him, also owns some of this. If some members of the media created an environment where the player doesn’t feel he is being treated honestly or fairly, is it any surprise that the player might not wish to face them after what might have been his worst day ever in sports? Do reporters ever have to apologize for a bad day or a bad column? Do reporters ever accept any culpability for making players uncomfortable? If untruths were written or stated on the air or in print, have those commentators apologized to Clint Frazier? Don’t the reporters also have an obligation to establish a climate of trust? If a player has to face the media when they do wrong or have a bad game…shouldn’t the same standard apply for the media itself? I was amazed that Clint Frazier opened up so much when he talked yesterday. Here is an article outlining much of this (the article does say some of the reporters apologized to him) but I think the big line comes at the end when Frazier says, “I needed a pat on the back. I’m working as hard as I can.” I think we can all learn from that. Sometimes we all just need a pat on the back – especially after we have our worst days. It shouldn’t always have to be, “Tell us why you were terrible” or “You cost the Yankees the game, how does it feel?” There can be a different kind of reporting. Wouldn’t it be something if a player was allowed to have 24-hours after having a bad game before having to answer questions. Imagine giving the athlete, full of emotion, the necessary time to calm down and process the situation before badgering him with questions. It just might be a better way…

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