In all seriousness, I’m not really sure what to make of the Yankees this offseason. They’re licking their wounds after losing pathetically to Boston in the ALDS while GM Brian Cashman splits his time between attempting to beef up his starting rotation and making more dumb comments about the Red Sox.
Yes, the same man responsible for the “Do Damage” quip last summer that became our postseason slogan is somehow still allowed to speak in public. I’m not sure how Hal Steinbrenner keeps allowing this, since CashMoney seems to make a fool of himself every time the topic of Boston comes up.
But let’s talk about the arms race first. They wanted hometown kid and lifelong Yankee fan Patrick Corbin, who is now a National. They wanted Nathan Eovaldi, the World Series hero they’d once thrown out like week-old Hawaiian pizza; he signed a 4-year deal to stay with the Sox. Being a Yankee used to be the height of baseball glory, and now, despite being one of three teams to win 100 games this season, players are turning them down.
The one potential bright spot for the Bronx is James Paxton, whom the Yankees got in a trade with the Mariners earlier this month. ‘Big Maple’ Paxton comes to the Bronx with a career 3.42 ERA, and a 41-26 record in 102 starts. His 28 starts and 160 1/3 innings in 2018 were both career highs, and his 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings ranked fourth in MLB. But he did also saw some concerning decline this season from the one before; he only pitched 24.1 more innings this season than in 2017, but his ERA increased from 2.98 to 3.76 and he gave up nearly three times as many home runs. However, his strikeout numbers improved, 208 this year up from 156 in 2017. The Red Sox will likely face him four times in the 2019 regular season, and manager Alex Cora called him “a tough pitcher.”
But Paxton boasts these numbers in large part because he’s been playing at Safeco Field, one of the ballparks known for being a pitcher’s park. His ERA there was 2.98, versus a road ERA of 3.87. His new home field, with its little league-esque right field, on the other hand, is a hitter’s paradise. Paxton has also been injured five times in the last three seasons, though he clearly passed a physical before the Yankees agreed to the trade. If he can stay healthy, he could be formidable. But he can’t change the design of Yankee Stadium, and that might turn out to be the bigger issue.
The Red Sox kept Nasty Nate, but lost Joe Kelly to the Dodgers, and will likely lose Craig Kimbrel to whichever team is crazy enough to give him a 6-year deal. The Yankees sent away their top prospect, pitcher Justus Sheffield to get Paxton, and JA Happ will be 39 by the end of this desperate 3-year deal they’re reportedly making, only because no one else (read: Eovaldi or Corbin) wanted to pitch there. So maybe the two teams’ offseason gains and losses will cancel each other out. If they do, it still leaves the Red Sox on top of the Yankees, for now.
Brian Cashman, meanwhile, has either never seen Star Wars, or he’s a double-agent planted by Dave Dombrowski in the Yankees organization, and he’s now readying himself to torpedo the team for the second straight season. How else could you explain his ‘Death Star’ comment? For those of you who don’t know, the vessel that definitely was ‘no moon’ blew up not once, but twice, something everyone from myself to the Tampa Bay Rays knows. So either Cashman simply is missing out on the greatest film franchise in cinematic history, or he’s just openly admitting that he’s planning on losing to us again this year. Either way, it’s pretty pathetic. To quote Yoda, “that is why you fail.”
At what point do we have to start paying them royalties and giving them ‘credz’ for these postseason slogans? How does this work when their stupidity and arrogance becomes so recurring that it just feels like it’s their job to bolster us? Aaron Judge didn’t learn from Cashman’s ‘Do Damage’ remarks, and it seems like Cashman himself hasn’t, either.
And sure, to quote Cashman’s coworker and fellow moron Aaron Boone, the Yankees could now be on “level ground” with their rivals, and these comments may not come back to bite them in the ass. But more likely, it’ll just spur the Red Sox to win the division again, stomping all over them again in their own ballpark in the postseason, and going on to win the whole damn thing again.
Keep talking, guys. The only damage you’re doing is to yourselves.
Photo: New York Post