Binder 2: Binder’s Revenge

Screenshot-2018-4-3 classic-102-detail jpg (JPEG Image, 1000 × 887 pixels) - Scaled (68%)You thought Girardi took It with him… you were wrong.

With one pitch, the Yankees went from a glorious 3-1 series victory to devastating tie. Just a few millimeters difference and Smoak’s bat misses. But that’s what fast balls do; they jump off the bats of power hitters.

Do you know what binders do? They lie. Not outright lies but lies of omission. Binder said that D-Rob owns him in head-to-head battles. Binder also said that Josh Donaldson is always to be feared. Binder did not say how Donaldson hits when injured. He did not say that reborn Justin Smoak is different than old Justin Smoak. Binder, you snake.

One series is in the books and, hopefully, Aaron Boone has learned to manage the binder. He was hammered in the press for it. But it was a mistake probably that had to happen.

It’s tempting to lean on the numbers. It doesn’t take guts. Yes, analytics is an important weapon. But so are the eyes. Aaron Boone, of a proud baseball legacy and a successful career analyzing the game, has good eyes. He also has guts.

Boone will learn the courage to trust his eyes. He knew Donaldson was uncomfortable in prior AB’s. He knew Robinson’s past dominance of Smoak was not as relevant. He knew that Smoak is a large man that has harnessed his gifts. And he also knew he was hot.

We all had this information. Fans in Toronto had this information. If you were watching the YES broadcast, you even heard David Cone proclaim it from the booth. Boone, however, did not give himself permission to act on the information. Instead, he pinned his pitcher down with no margin of error against a dangerous hitter.

Boone defended the move. He tried to share the blame with Binder. But reporters can’t grill Binder. He is not available for comment. So next time Binder calls out, Boone will know to Trust but Verify. ‘Yes, the numbers quantify the past,’ he’ll say. ‘But I see a dynamic match-up in front of me. I will act accordingly.’

Averages are compiled by healthy and established players. Outliers are for everything else. That Donaldson AB would’ve been a great opportunity for Robertson to strike. As Boone now knows, he’ll need to prioritize his players’ experience as well as his own.

The front office did not weigh the numbers for their hire of Boone. Because he hasn’t managed before, there aren’t any. The Yankees saw Boone break the backs of their rival with one swing in ’03. They heard him break down games for years since. They acted on the confidence their eyes gave them. Now he must do the same.




Like a Bat Out of DL

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The sky is not falling. The lineup is not lost. And no, that’s not really Greg Bird’s x-ray.

Regardless, I can confirm that he’s not made out of glass nor Nick Johnson. Bird is a soldier. He came off the DL to rake the remainder of last season. He continued to do it under the playoff lights.  Three bombs that mattered. So let’s get a grip.

For the first 2 months, the Yankees will be missing some left-handed thump. No doubt a vulnerability. But should the offense continue to fire like it did last year without him, then he only adds to the attack later. That offense from last year? It also lacked the Stanton cannon, which begins launching projectiles into our bleachers on Monday.

Essentially, the concerns of ‘just like last year’ are are well-founded. And look what happened. The Yankees rolled right out of the gate.  Bird joined up late, justified the expectations and contributed to a World Series run. I hope it’s exactly like last year.

If I had the x-ray, I might be able to say how this injury is related to his last. A medical degree would help too. However, a follow up surgery is not uncommon. So perhaps this is a serious foot injury that is now complete, after a shoulder injury. Unrelated issues.

Perhaps he isn’t getting enough protein. Perhaps he has one especially wimpy foot. We don’t know. But aside from the worst case scenario, that Bird has been singled out for injury by God Above, he is still a young player that can come back and put up healthy stats for years. He must let go of any dreams of 30/30 though.

I don’t remember Nick Johnson’s pivotal hits between stints. He walked a lot, then he’d go missing again. This kid has already proven more than his fragile predecessor.

So let’s trust this team to at least tread water for two months. The division is soft, aside from the You Know Who’s and the lineup is already better than it was last postseason. In two months, after Didi and the Dominoes hold down the infield, we could have an offense that’s humming and about to add Bird. It’s not Game Over.



Opening Day 2018

We’re blogging the next Yankee Dynasty… beginning today. Some will welcome us. Some will resist. We tip our cap to them all and write on. There will be losses, yes, but also an overwhelming amount of victory. So march along with us as the next generation of Bronx Bombers rolls out.

Pressure makes diamonds.
— General George S. Patton

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