It’s been quite a week, hasn’t it? The last time I wrote here, the Astros, Red Sox, and Mets all still had managers and we hadn’t spent a chunk of an afternoon analyzing what was on Josh Reddick’s chest or under Jose Altuve’s jersey. Despite all that happened, it only tangentially touched on the Yankees, who’ve been relatively quiet since they signed Gerrit Cole. Still, I’ve got some thoughts, one on baseball in general and the other on the Yankees. Here they are.
The Sanctity of the Game
Given the Astros and the Red Sox, Hinch and Cora, and Beltran, the idea of the sanctity of baseball, the purity of the game, has floated around this week. This is as good a time as any to remind ourselves that such a thing has never really existed. At no point in baseball’s history was it pure. In the early 20th century, baseball battled gambling and allowed segregation. In the middle of the century, the supposed ‘golden age’ of the game, there was labor exploitation and the use of amphetamines. The rest of the century, and well into this one, saw the use of PEDs, not to mention two work stoppages and collusion, with another one potentially looming. Given all that, should we care all that much about the sign stealing business?
Hell yes we should. All of those transgressions above are worth fighting against to varying degrees. When these things happen, the illusion of the game gets blemished and can even shatter completely. When we discuss them, we’re healing those blemishes and repairing those cracks.
Will there always be sign stealing in baseball? Of course. But it shouldn’t be done electronically. Will players always try to get an edge, however they can? Of course. But it shouldn’t be done in a way that harms their health.
Perfection in baseball can never and will never exist, but that’s okay. We shouldn’t let that stand in the way of attempting to make the game more perfect, more inclusive, and more fair.
The Yankees will be an excellent team once more, at least they should be. Bobby talked about their projections here and Derek did, too. The key to the Yankees being this good as that, simply, they have a lot of good players at a lot of positions. One of those good players is Miguel Andujar. As he returns from his injury, the Yankees will need to be judicious in deploying him, both for the sake of his skills and his health.
There’s little doubt that Andujar can hit. There’s much doubt, however, that he can adequately field his position at third base. The former certainty outweighs the latter doubt, though, and he should be in the lineup just about every day. Presumably, he’ll be the DH while Gio Urshela plays third base. Of course there are times when Urshela will need a day off and other players will need a DH day.
In cases of the former, perhaps they can slide whomever the utility IF is to third and keep Miggy at DH. In cases of the latter, they should plan for half days off when fly ball pitchers are on the mound. This will cover Andujar’s deficiency a bit while still keeping his bat in the lineup. Given that the Yankees like to plan days off ahead of time, this should be easy to accommodate. Will it always work out perfectly? Probably not. But it’s worth a shot.
This same plan could also work in reverse to give Brett Gardner days off. As good as he is, Gardner is up there in age and will need more time off as he’s manning center field. When a groundball pitcher is in, that’s when they can and should give him rest, with Mike Tauchmann in center. Like the Andujar plan, this won’t always work out, but it’s possible.
The easiest way to be a good team is to have good players. The next step is deploying them properly to take advantage of their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. The more the Yankees do that, the more they’re going to win..and they’re probably gonna do a lot of that anyway.