Category: Musings Page 1 of 28

The Yankees Need to Suspend Josh Donaldson

The Yankees need to suspend Josh Donaldson. There is no other way to say it. What he said to Tim Anderson in the course of Saturday’s game is unacceptable, inappropriate, and racist. For that, he needs to lose playing time and game checks. I’m not sure exactly what the appropriate length of suspension or amount of fine should be, but there needs to be something.

Additionally, this needs to come from the Yankees. They cannot and should not let the league step in after the fact and do it for them. Randy, Bobby, and I were harsh on the Yankees on the podcast in the wake of their weak response to George Floyd’s murder and the surrounding protests and I think I can speak for them when I say I hope they’ve learned their lesson. However, given PR’s weak statement after yesterday’s game, along with Donaldson’s, it’s pretty clear that isn’t the case. Those two statements, justifications, whatever, demonstrate that, at least initially, neither the organization nor the player understand why what Donaldson said was unacceptable, inappropriate, and racist.

Regardless of what I think, what you think, Tim Anderson, the person at whom the comment was leveled, thought it was racist. That alone should be all the ‘proof’ one needs to know that what Donaldson said was, in fact, racist. A reminder to my fellow white people: We do not get to be the arbiters of what is or isn’t racist. We do not get to tell Black people why they are wrong about what they find racist. If you find yourself doing this, stop.

I worry that, in the coming days, Donaldson’s Black teammates and coaches will be asked about this incessantly and have to answer for their teammate’s racist remark, putting them in a virtual no-win situation. It’s his white teammates who need to be asked about this, who need to show they understand why what Donaldson was wrong, who need to show they will be the ones to hold him accountable for what he said. If they don’t understand, they (and Donaldson, of course) need to be made to understand. Anything short of that is unacceptable.

What Josh Donaldson said was, again, unacceptable, inappropriate, and racist. There should be no room for it anywhere in baseball, let alone on the Yankees. I implore them to do the right thing and suspend and fine him and make sure he gets the education enough to understand why he was wrong. If the Yankees are unwilling or unable to do that, I hope the league steps in and swiftly corrects them.

Last night’s loss accentuated concerns about the 2022 Yankees

Embed from Getty Images

The season is only four games old, and jumping to conclusions this soon is a dangerous game to play. That said, yesterday’s 3-0 loss to Toronto served as a reminder of some of the issues the Yankees have at hand. Some of these concerns predated the 2022 season, and although obvious opportunities existed to address such problems, the organization failed to provide answers.

Let’s set the stage from last night. In the bottom of the seventh, down 3-0, Gleyber Torres and Aaron Hicks reached base to start the inning against reliever Trevor Richards. Due up next were the eighth and ninth hitters, Kyle Higashioka and Marwin Gonzalez. Richards, who looked dreadful, could not be removed until facing a third hitter while the Blue Jays’ bullpen hurried a new arm.

Translation: Aaron Boone could have forced a shaky Richards to face Josh Donaldson in a pinch hit situation. He didn’t. Instead, Boone let Higashioka bat, who flew out on a 2-1 count. Then, in came sidewinder Adam Cimber, a very tough at bat for righties. Boone finally called upon Donaldson to hit for Gonzalez, but it was too late. Yes, JD hit the ball hard, but it was a double play to end the threat.

An Obligatory Preseason Lineup Post

As obligatory as a post about the lineup, so is the following statement. Overall, lineup construction doesn’t mean a whole lot unless you really screw it up. We may not be Aaron Boone’s biggest fans here, but we know he’s not going to hit Isiah Kiner-Falefa leadoff and Aaron Judge ninth. Still, it’s a fun thing to muse about and when there isn’t any real action to dissect yet, it’s a good thought exercise.

This one in particular was brought on by the lineup the Yankees put out in their Spring Training matchup with the Blue Jays yesterday:

For one reason or another, one I couldn’t entirely place and really still can’t, I liked the top-6 of that lineup, not just the players, but the way they were ordered. I’d probably flip DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks, however, and the addition of Anthony Rizzo would necessitate those previous two moving down. Putting Rizzo in there means it’s the full strength lineup. Here’s how I’d order them.

This Incomplete Puzzle

The puzzle that is the Yankees’ offseason is not yet ruined, but it’s damn close. At the very least, it’s confusing, muddled, and leading to more questions than answers.

Let’s get to the good, though, before we get to the rest.

Despite our personal feelings and potential misgivings about the big trade with the Twins, there is some upside there. Josh Donaldson, when healthy, will absolutely rake. The shortstop and catcher defense are markedly improved by Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ben Rortvedt…at least before the latter’s injury. Signing Anthony Rizzo is…fine? He’ll be fine. And the team itself will most likely be fine. They’ll win more games than they’ll lose and they’ll get into the playoffs. But beyond this surface level–still an important level–I’m still left feeling, well, puzzled.

After years of luxury tax orthodoxy, they break it by going for two corner infielders in their mid-30’s? The players in question aren’t bad, of course, as we noted above, but.

With a glaring hole at shortstop, they only do ‘due diligence’ on a young superstar who ended up on a short-term contract elsewhere? Elsewhere in this case being the team whom you just relieved of a bunch of money so they could sign that young superstar. That series of events is a horrible look for Brian Cashman and company.

Rare is the time when the smart move and the obvious move are one in the same, but this offseason was one of those times. Too often lately, it feels like the Yankees are always trying to do the smart move, but the definition of smart is simply what isn’t obvious, what wouldn’t be expected from a team like them. In doing so, the Yankees purposely forgo their biggest advantage, the one they have over almost every team in American pro sports: stupid amounts of money.

Regardless, the moves are done. But–I can’t help coming back to this word–despite that, the team still feels incomplete. There’s time to remedy that with a few weeks to go before Opening Day, but there are just so many question marks right now.

Will Donaldson stay healthy enough to make his bat worth it?

Will Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu, Anthony Rizzo, Aaron Hicks, and Joey Gallo return to form?

Will IKF hit at all?

Will either catcher option hit at all?

Will the team’s best player (and first baseman and one other catcher) even be available to play home games?!

Will skipping out on a shortstop this year be justified by either/or Anthony Volpe or Oswald Peraza?

Again, things can bounce back quickly if the Yankees do go out and nab Trevor Story and add another starter or…something. But right now, all these questions leave me wondering in a way I don’t like to be wondering this close to the start of the season.

The Gary Sánchez era is over in New York

Gary Sánchez ushered in a new era for the Yankees. While Aaron Judge ultimately and deservedly became the face of the Baby Bombers, The Kraken is the one who excited many about the team’s future after a dreary few years. His unbelievable late summer performance in 2016 jump started what was expected to be a return to glory for this franchise.

In retrospect, Sánchez torrid start may have done him in over the long run. Posting a .299/.376/.657 (170 wRC+) batting line with 20 homers in merely 229 plate appearances as a 23 year old rookie was simply too high of a bar to set. Granted, he was pretty terrific offensively in ’17 (131 wRC+, 33 homers), his first full season as a the club’s backstop, but that was also the year folks really started to scrutinize Sánchez’s defense behind the plate. The easy explanation for what happened next is that things snowballed and the criticism and/or pressure got to him.

Page 1 of 28

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén